William S. Powell Jr. must have been mighty proud to be a Tuskegee Airman. He kept his brown leather flight jacket with the 99th Pursuit Squadron patch, his helmet, his graduation diploma, flight wings, training manuals, photographs, dog tag and medals.
Powell graduated from the Tuskegee pilot program in 1945 as a flight officer trained to fly single-engine P-47 and P-51 planes. He was assigned to the 99th, which two years before had become the Army Air Force’s first African American squadron. Powell graduated several months before World War II ended and seemingly too late to join the fighting in Europe.
75 pieces of his Tuskegee gear ended up in an auction in Lone Jack, MO.
The important and extensive archive of personal and service items belonging to Tuskegee Airman William Powell. Tuskegee Diploma with signatures of classmates and instructors; service uniform consisting of jacket, pants, crusher cap, shirt, tie, all insignia with bullion SSI; flight suit; leather jacket with squadron patch and name; flight helmet, goggles with box; oxygen mask and carrier pouch; life preserver; flight boots; parachute with Kit Bag; B-2 bag with name. Navigation kit with Dead Reckoning Computer, pencil, Navigation Plotter B-2 and ruler; AF Manual No. 64, Fighter Gunnery, Rocket Firing; Fundamentals of Elementary Flight Maneuvers; Aeronautics Workbook with lots of his entries; Basic Instrument Flying; Binder with 28 pages of documents to include name stencil; and Pilots’ Information File. Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., Constitution and By-Laws; 18 George Washington Carver Foundation Tuskegee Institute stamps; One-inch binder with many training documents in his hand; six documents relative to his position as a Probation Officer with the DOJ to include his badge numbered 199.
Shadow Box One: Flight log; Basic Instrument Flight Training Certificate; ID Card: Pair 1st AAF DIs; 1st AAF SSI; Dog Tag; photo in bi-plane; two photos of classmates – with ID; and large group photo in front of bi-plane.
Shadow Box Two: Pilot Rating Book; Pilot Log; pilot wings; pair of DI’s; pair of Warrant Officer bars; visor cap eagle; dog tag with chain; group photo (he is on right end last row); and AAF SSI. Basic Single Engine Pilot Certificate; Advanced Single Engine Pilot Certificate; graduation publication for Class 45B; and wrist watch.