Miles Standish Washington, Jr. (1924-2013) Navigator
The Congressional Medal of Honor was awarded to Navigator Miles Standish Washington, Jr. and his fellow Tuskegee Airmen by President George W. Bush in the White House in 2007 and he was very proud to wear it.
Miles Standish Washington, Jr. was born on January 23, 1924 in West Philadelphia, PA to Miles Standish Washington, Sr. and Gustava Singleton Washington. He was their only child, who was supposed to be born around Christmas—hence the life-long moniker “Nic” to family and friends. He grew up in Philadelphia, attending West Philadelphia High School from 1938 to 1941. His studies at Lincoln University (PA) were interrupted by WW II.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was sent to Keesler Field, MS, followed by training at Tuskegee Army Air Field as a single engine aircraft pilot in 1944. WWII ended before Miles completed his pilot training. He received his honorable discharge in 1945 and returned to Pennsylvania, where he resumed his studies at Lincoln University on the GI Bill. He was instrumental in starting the Office of Veterans Affairs at Lincoln to assist veterans in returning to academia after serving in the Armed Forces. On June 23, 1946, he married his beloved “pen pal,” Cozette Jackson, whom he had first met during a wartime blackout party. He graduated in 1947 with an AB degree in Biology. A star athlete in Varsity Football, Intramural Basketball, and Softball, Miles was also President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and served as President of the Philadelphia Club, Vice President of the Senior Class, and Freshman Advisor.
Miles reenlisted in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Conflict. He graduated from USAF Navigator Miles reenlisted in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Conflict. He graduated from USAF Navigator School in 1951 and served as a navigator in the Strategic Air Command with the 310th Bombardment Wing on B-47 Bomber crews, where he was the only Black crew member. After the war, he earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from George Washington University (Washington, DC) in 1963. He became a Manpower Studies Analyst for the Air Force, assigned to posts in the United States, Europe, and Vietnam. His young family accompanied him to posts in California, Texas, Évreux (France), and Wiesbaden (Germany). Miles learned to speak fluent French while stationed in France. His love of playing sports continued throughout his military service, almost necessitating an amputation after breaking his knee in three places sliding into third base while playing baseball at Schilling AFB. He retired from active military duty at the rank of Lt. Col. on January 31, 1973, after 23 years of service.
Settling the family in Northern Virginia, Miles began a second career with the Federal Government, first at the Department of Agriculture as Deputy Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity from 1973 to 1976. He then moved to the Department of Transportation, where he served as Chief of Affirmative Action before retiring in 1984 as the Director of the Office of Civil Rights/Minority Business Enterprises of the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration within the Department of Transportation. He also served as a Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) Instructor at Dunbar High School for two years between government assignments.
In addition to the many lasting friendships he formed while stationed at Keesler Field, Miles was considered by many to be their wise, Tuskegee mentor. He and Cozette faithfully attended annual reunions with the 310th Bombardment Wing. He was a member of the East Coast Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., and was among the 300 DOTAs honored by President Bush in 2007 at the Tuskegee Airmen Congressional Gold Medal Award Ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.
Miles was a devoted member of his bi-weekly card group, the Symposium Whist Club, founded the same year he was born. During his long association with this esteemed club, he served as President, Treasurer, Recording Secretary, and Business Manager. He was also an avid weekend golfer. Miles was a member of Mt. Olive Baptist Church, where he served as Treasurer, and later, the Alfred Street Baptist Church. He loved singing in church choirs and groups, something he did in his early years and while stationed in Europe. Always a religious man, he was quick to quote his favorite Bible verse, Psalm 27:1 KJV (“The Lord is my light and my salvation…”). Miles and Cozette also enjoyed interacting with people from all walks of life as owners of The Paper Trail, a unique stationery store in Union Station (DC) they owned from 1988 until 2009. He also served as President of The Representative’s Condo Association Board in Arlington, VA.
Miles passed away on March 19, 2013 and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. He was the proud father of son Miles S. Washington III, PhD and daughter Marion L. Scott, as well as the father-in-law of Karla Washington. His granddaughters Camila and Trina Scott miss his laughter especially, and friends still speak lovingly of his kindness, generosity, sense of humor, and charisma. He is missed deeply by his loving wife of 67 years, with whom he renewed his wedding vows as they celebrated their 65th anniversary in 2011.
MILITARY LOCATIONS / ASSIGNMENTS
Keesler Field, MS
Tuskegee Army Air Field, AL
Ellington AFB (TX)
March AFB (CA)
Smokey Hill/Schilling AFB (KS)
McConnell AFB (KS)
APO – 167 (NY) – SA7 (SAC) 381
Schilling SAC—Aerospace Wing, SR-NAV (KS)
Évreux-Fauville AFB (France)
Wiesbaden AFB (Germany)
Stewart AFB (NY)
CAMPAIGNS / WARS
MILITARY AWARDS / DECORATIONS
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal
National Defense Service Medal (Bronze Service Star)
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
USAF Management Engineering Award for Professional Excellence (1968)