Many of the buildings, structures and streets at Columbus Air Force Base are dedicated to an outstanding Airman for their brave actions in the line of duty. The hangars on base are no exception. Here are a few dedicated to the Tuskegee Airmen.
TUSKEGEE AIRMEN DRIVE
Flightline Road was renamed Tuskegee Airmen Drive to honor the first African- Americans to be trained as World War II military pilots in the Army Air Corps.
ALVA TEMPLE ROAD
“A Drive” was renamed to honor Lieutenant Colonel Alva N. Temple. Lieutenant Colonel Temple was born in Alabama and lived in Columbus from 1962 until his death in 2004. He joined the Army Air Corps and completed pilot training at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama. He graduated in Class 43-G and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He was one of the first African-Americans to train as a military pilot. A total of 992 African-American pilots graduated during World War II and became known as the Tuskegee Airmen. Lieutenant Colonel Temple flew 120 combat missions over Italy, Southern Europe, Southern France and the Balkans.
Learn more about Lt Col Alva N. Temple in TUSKEGEE AIRMEN PROFILES!
TUSKEGEE AIRMEN DISPLAY
On March 4-6, 2004, the base held a Tuskegee Airmen memorial event. The event included the dedication of the Tuskegee Airmen display located in building 268, presentation of medals to First Lieutenant Quitman C. Walker’s family and a banquet. The Tuskegee Airmen display is a memorial to all Tuskegee Airmen and the 10 Tuskegee Airmen from Mississippi.
The Walker Center, building 1030, is dedicated to First Lieutenant Quitman C. Walker. He was a Tuskegee Airmen from Indianola, Mississippi. A shadow box representing Lt Walker’s military career hangs in the entrance to the Walker Center.
Learn more about 1st Lt. Quitman Walker in TUSKEGEE AIRMEN PROFILES!
Thank you to Zellie Orr for submitting her research that verified another Airman, Lt. Wellington G. Irving of Belzoni, was Mississippi’s “first” black WWII military aviator killed in combat.
In March 2004, Columbus AFB held an event that honored the Mississippi Tuskegee Airmen. On the base a street was dedicated in their honor, along with a building designated the Quitman C. Walker Center, in honor of Mississippi’s first Tuskegee Airman killed in combat.
It was due to my research that I located Lt. Walker’s burial site overseas and procured for his family all military medals, ribbons, etc. (posthumously), he merited. I was invited to the 2004 ceremony and was one of the guest speakers.
At the time, Lt. Walker of Indianola, was the “first known” Mississippi Tuskegee Airman KIA. However, since that time, my research has unearthed info denoting Lt. Wellington G. Irving of Belzoni, was Mississippi’s “first” black WWII military aviator killed in combat.
Lt. Walker’s aircraft was downed by enemy flak in November 1944; Lt. Irving’s aircraft was shot down by enemy aircraft in July 1944. Thus, Lt. Irving paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom 4-months earlier. Both pilots were flying P-51mustangs.