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Robert Searcy

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Robert J Searcy 1921 – September 17, 2009 was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African American military personnel who served with distinction during World War II as the 332nd Fighter Group of the US Army Air Corps After the war, Searcy lived in Los Angeles, California He died of colorectal cancer in September 2009 at age 88

Contents

  • 1 Tuskegee Airmen
  • 2 Post-war years
  • 3 Attendance at Barack Obama's inauguration
  • 4 Death
  • 5 References
  • 6 Bibliography

Tuskegee Airmen

Searcy was born in Mount Pleasant, Texas, and attended Prairie View A&M University before enlisting in the US Army Air Corps in 1942 following the United States' entry into World War II Searcy received basic training at Ft Hood, Texas, and was assigned to lead a group of airmen to Tuskegee, Alabama He later recalled receiving his first taste of segregation when his men were denied access to the Pullman car's dining and sleeping quarters on the train to Tuskegee Searcy demanded passage, and the porters, most of whom were African-American, eventually agreed to allow them to pass Searcy recalled, "I was put in charge of those men I felt I had to represent what the Constitution was for those men That's what leadership is" Searcy served with the Tuskegee Airmen in Italy, France, the Balkans, the Rhineland, and elsewhere in Europe between 1942 and 1945 He received commendations for supporting combat missions over Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, and was honorably discharged in 1945

Post-war years

Fundraising poster featuring the Tuskegee Airmen

Searcy later recalled that he tried for years "to forget serving as a Tuskegee Airman" and thought of his service in the segregated US military "as two years, 10 months and 27 days lost" He had enlisted hoping to become a pilot, but he was assigned to work in a support position as a clerk in military intelligence He had hoped to become a doctor before the war, but did not complete college after the war After the war, Searcy worked for United Airlines cleaning aircraft in the 1950s He also worked at a US Post office in downtown Los Angeles and sold women's clothing He also opened several clothing stores in Los Angeles, California Searcy married, but had no children His wife died in an automobile accident in 1990 Searcy was a resident of Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California, in his later years

Attendance at Barack Obama's inauguration

Despite being a Republican, Searcy supported the candidacy of Barack Obama, encouraging others at his Van Nuys retirement home to vote for Obama Obama invited all of the living Tuskegee Airmen to his inauguration, and a Mississippi ophthalmologist, Dr Lynn McMahan, flew Searcy and three other Tuskegee Airmen to Washington, DC, in his private jet In agreeing to fly the men, McMahan said, "The Tuskegee Airmen are to pilots like Michael Jordan is to basketball, and Tiger Woods is to golf" In video footage from the Chicago Tribune, Searcy says of Obama's inauguration, "When I leave this earth, I leave it with a smile on my face"

Death

Searcy died of colorectal cancer in September 2009 at age 88 while visiting his granddaughter in Atlanta, Georgia

References

  1. ^ Molly Hennessy-Fiske September 19, 2009 "Robert Searcy dies at 88; member of Tuskegee Airmen in World War II" Chicago Tribune Archived from the original on October 24, 2012 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Molly Hennessy-Fiske January 18, 2009 "History calls them -- again: Pride and painful memories mix as members of the Tuskegee Airmen head to the inauguration" Los Angeles Times Archived from the original on June 17, 2011 
  3. ^ a b "Tuskegee Airmen" WQAD Archived from the original on February 24, 2012 
  4. ^ "Deaths Elsewhere" Minneapolis Star-Tribune September 18, 2009 
  5. ^ a b Molly Hennessy-Fiske September 19, 2009 "Robert Searcy dies at 88; member of Tuskegee Airmen in World War II" Los Angeles Times Archived from the original on November 10, 2013 
  6. ^ "Miss man to fly Tuskegee airmen to inauguration" Picayune Item Associated Press article January 19, 2009 
  7. ^ "Tuskegee Airmen Travel to Inauguration" Chicago Tribune May 16, 2009 
  8. ^ "Former Tuskegee Airman Robert Searcy dies" Montgomery Advertiser Associated Press story September 18, 2009 

Bibliography

  • Bucholtz, Chris 2007 332nd Fighter Group Tuskegee Airmen Osprey Publishing Company ISBN 978-1-84603-044-4 
  • Francis, Charles E 1997 The Tuskegee Airmen The Men who Changed a Nation Branden Books ISBN 978-0-8283-2029-0 

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