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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive

Re: One Tuskegee Airman's Story and other tales

Denise,

I never had the good fortune of meeting your father. However, I had the pleasure of becoming well acquainted with two other gentlemen who attended West Virginia State - George S. "Spanky" Roberts, Fremont, West Virginia and Lloyd "Scotty" Hathcock, Dayton, Ohio. Both passed away a few years ago.

George S. Roberts was one of five in the first class that received their wings on March 6, 1942 as military aviators and four were commissioned into the U. S. Army Air Corps. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. was also a member of this class and held the rank of Captain. On September 2, 1943 after an accelerated promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, Roberts assumed command of the 99th Pursuit Squadron when Colonel Davis transferred back to the United States to organize the 332nd Fighter Group. I met Colonel Roberts at Tuskegee when he was the Commandant of the Air Force ROTC. He also taught a class on Military Science and after class on some days we would gather around him on the steps of Huntington Hall and listen to war stories and stories about his native state. I remember vividly the one he told about his fellow West Virginians and the Battleship West Virginia. It was supposedly true, but somewhat embellished. I may post it one day soon.

Scotty Hathcock graduated in a later class. While on a mission flying a P-40 he was forced to land at an enemy airfield and of course he was captured and placed in a POW camp, Stalag 17 I believe. Scotty didn't like to talk about his experiences, however, he played a huge role in organizing the Tuskegee Airmen organization. He also served as National President of the P-40 Aircraft Association. Scotty talked or coerced me into joining the Tuskegee Airmen organization at a time when "outsiders" were not welcomed by many of the so-called "original" Airmen. On one side there were those who felt the organization should be exclusive to those airmen or veterans that served at Tuskegee. Scotty and those on the other side felt the organization should open its membership to anyone willing to support the organization and promote the history of the Airmen. They won out, and that is the reason the organization is viable today.

Of all of my heroes and heroines they rank near the top of the list.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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