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Hello K,

Nice posting...I hope we in our area (Ohio) get a chance to see the program.

Your mention of Bennie McRae, his research of the Tuskegee Airmen and the materials on his website "Lest We Forget" is a must read for anyone even slightly interested in the true and unvarnished story of the Tuskegee Airmen.

I've had the pleasure of meeting and knowing a few Tuskegee Airman during my lifetime and the one thing they all had in common was a sense of accomplishment and pride. They seemed so at ease with themselves and were confident, warm-hearted men and always with word of encouragement for me and other young men my age at that time.

Please allow me to do a little name-dropping in respect for those I knew personally.

Lloyd "Scottie" Hathcock, Dayton, Ohio... Scottie became an aerial photographer at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio.

Lewis Jackson..... Dr. Jackson was Dean of the College when I was a student at Central State Univ. Wilberforce, Ohio..he later served as Pres. of CSU.

Daniel "Chappie" James..... We knew Gen. James when he was a Major and would come on TDY to the Aeronautical Systems Div. @ W-PAFB on systems development projects for various aircraft.

Wayne V. Liggins..... from Xenia, Ohio was the brother of a Liggins fellow who married into my Adams Family lines and attended a few Adams Family Reunions.

Harold E. Sawyer..... I never had the opportunity to meet, but his widow, Gertrude (Adams) Sawyer is a cousin in my wife's Adams lines. The last time I visited Gertrude she gave me a copy of a vintage comic book based on the Tuskegee Airmen. I then gave the book to a fellow AfriGeanian who is a collector of those adventure comic books. Gertrude stated that she an Harold were very instrumental in the forming of the Tuskegee Airman Association and served as chairpersons for many of their early Annual Banquets.

As an aside, I believe Harold was credited with one of the first, if not the first kill of a German fighter plane.

Last, but not least is Dorsey Thorpe.... the brother of my best friend Ken Thorpe. Dorsey was a mentor and a role model for me as a youngster growing up in Piqua, Ohio. "Duffer" was not a pilot, but an enlisted man, who served as a crew chief on B-25 bombers when the Tuskegee Airmen were stationed at GodMan Field in Kentucky. I believe he may have been the crew chief for "Chappie" James, he at least had some great stories about their days in Kentucky and Godman Field.

Sorry, I didn't mean to write a book, but your posting brought back some vivid and pleasant experiences of Tuskegee Airmen that had an influence on my life.

Art Thomas

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18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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