A road on Shaw Air Force Base was named for two Sumter natives who flew with the famed Tuskegee Airmen in World War II. The road, now officially “Ashley-Bowman Boulevard,” begins at the Sumter Gate on U.S. 378 and St. Paul’s Church Road and continues on the base to Dryden Way.
The road was named in memory of Lt. Col. Willie Lee Ashley and 1st Lt. Leroy Bowman, who both grew up in Sumter and later flew in World War II.
A memorial for the Tuskegee Airmen, including a static display of a fighter aircraft, will be erected on the City of Sumter’s Shaw Park, located nearby during a future upgrade to the park now in the planning stages.
Photo: Retired Lt. Gen. George Bowman, left, son of Tuskegee Airman Leroy Bowman, and Shaw Air Force Base Commander Col. Stephen Jost, center, unveils a display about Leroy Bowman and Willie Ashley, two Tuskegee Airmen who are being honored at a street naming ceremony on Shaw Air Force Base as other dignitaries and family members, including Leroy Bowman’s brother the Rev. Ralph Cantey, right, look on. JIM HILLEY / THE SUMTER ITEM