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Gilbert Cargill

June 4, 1916 – July 15, 2004

Gilbert Cargill encountered his first airplane as a youth in Oberlin, Ohio, when a biplane landed in his neighbor’s back yard. From that point on, he dreamed of becoming a pilot, and after that first encounter, he set out to fly.

During World War II, he served as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black pilots program at Moton Field in Alabama. There he was a primary flight instructor and trained many of the 992 African-American combat pilots.

Edward Lunda

August 14, 1923 – November 3, 2017

Lunda was born in Akron and graduated from South High School, where he set a high-jump record in 1941. He went on to letter in track at the University of Akron before he was drafted. When he saw that blacks were being recruited for aircraft combat, he signed up. While 994 black men received commissions and pilot wings between 1941 and 1946, breaking racial barriers wasn’t easy.

 

He continued his military career in the reserves and attained the rank of major before retiring at age 60. Lunda went on to study accounting and eventually took a job with the city of Akron. He retired from the city’s income tax department, where he was an audit officer.  

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Clarence Jamison

February 25, 1918 – March 6, 2014

Lt. Col. Clarence C. Jamison was a pioneering Tuskegee Airman, with 22-years of military service during and after World War II. His journey from Little Rock, Arkansas to Anzio, Italy and to Korea is one of historic firsts and heroic accomplishments.

Captain Jamison would fly 67 combat missions, with perhaps the most harrowing being the time when his squadron came under fire from 22 German planes in a battle over the skies of Anzio, Italy. The gun of Captain Jamison’s P-40 Warhawk fighter plane jammed with four enemy planes firing upon him. After leading the enemy fighters on a chase, his P-40’s engine was finally hit by fire and Lt. Col. Jamison was forced to crash on the Anzio beachhead, amazingly unhurt. With Captain Jamison’s leadership, and despite the 99th being outnumbered 2-to-1, the Americans completed the mission.

Cornelius Gould

October 21, 1921 – June 18, 1996

Cornelius P. Gould, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was a member of the group known as the Tuskegee Airman (332nd Fighter Group). After his P-51 Mustang went down over Slovakia, he was captured and imprisoned in Stalag Luft I. After the war, he returned to Pittsburgh, where he met and married his wife, Phyllis, and had four children.

Stalag Luft I was a German World War II prisoner-of-war (POW) camp near Barth, Western Pomerania, Germany, for captured Allied airmen. The presence of the prison camp is said to have shielded the town of Barth from Allied bombing. About 9,000 airmen – 7,588 American and 1,351 British and Canadian – were imprisoned there when it was liberated on the night of 30 April 1945 by Russian troops.

 

Cornelius P. Gould Jr later became the Founding President of the Ohio Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. and the author of Soldier Stories: Prisoner of War.

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Earl Roscoe Lane

July 22, 1920 – June 27, 1990

Lieutenant Earl Roscoe Lane was born in Redbird, Oklahoma, a Negro town formed after the Civil War to enable freed slaves to live in economic independence and dignity.  He moved to Wickliffe when he was age ten.

He attended Wilberforce University and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland, Ohio and received a Law Degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois.

 On March 24, 1944, making the most of their limited advantages, pilots Charles Brantley, Earl Lane and Roscoe Brown all shot down German jets over Berlin that day, earning the all-black 332nd Fighter Group a Distinguished Unit Citation. These Black Airmen came home with 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Legion of Merit, 744 Air Medals,8 Purple Hearts, 2 Soldiers Medals,14 Bronze stars, and a Red Star of Yugoslavia.

Charles Whitman Jones

October 7, 1916 – February 17, 2003

Born October 7, 1916, in Henderson, North Carolina Charles Whitman Jones
enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps

October 16, 1942, four months after
graduating from Ohio University with a Bachelors of Education Degree. He joined
the Tuskegee Airmen Class of 42F.
Jones rose to the rank of sergeant, was awarded the American Theatre Campaign
and Good Conduct medals, qualified as a marksman on the carbine rifle and
played on the Corps’ basketball and integrated baseball squads. One of his
European-American teammates, noting his athletic prowess, secured a contract
for Jones with the Salt Lake City minor league franchise before Jackie Robinson
made his major league debut. Ready to move on with his life and seeing no real
future in professional baseball, Jones declined.
Jones was honorably discharged from the Army Air Corps January 3, 1946.

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Captain Erwin Bernard Lawrence

May 31, 1919 – October 4, 1944

One of the first Tuskegee graduates, Capt. Erwin B. Lawrence Jr. eventually led the 99th Fighter Squadron for six months. Lawrence of Cleveland graduated from flight training on July 3, 1942, at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama. Lawrence joined the 99th Fighter Squadron, declared combat-ready on September 15.

Lawrence led several escort missions in the following months. On Oct. 4, he led 37 P-51 Mustangs on a strafing mission at a Greek airfield at Tatoi. As Lawrence’s plane approached the target, “suddenly it flipped into a spin,” 1st Lt. Leonard M. Jackson wrote in a military report. “After about two or three turns, the plane crashed into the ground and exploded into flames.

 

In 18 months of combat, Captain Lawrence flew nearly 100 missions in the P-40 and P-51 before he was killed. Lawrence is buried at the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial in Italy. According to a government database, he was awarded an Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters and a Purple Heart for his military service.

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