Uncovering the Remarkable Story of Cleveland Gaiter
Family included a Tuskegee Airman, a decorated war hero, teachers
Upstairs at the Ocean County Library in Toms River, just in front of the elevator doors, three small glass display cases hold remembrances of a notable local family that, were it not for the efforts of one area man, might have been lost to history.
An immigrant family of 10 children that produces numerous college graduates, teachers, an advanced degree holder from an Ivy League school, decorated war veterans, and perhaps the best athlete the area has ever produced would be notable enough, but when the family is African-American and growing up amidst the prejudice and racism of the early 20th Century, the family becomes that must more commendable.
Two brothers served with distinction in the U.S. Army during World War II. Worrell, who graduated high school in 1933 and earned a BS degree from Hampton Institute, received a Bronze Star for his actions during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. Roger, who graduated high school in 1939 and earned a BS from Glassboro, became a pilot with the 332nd Fighter Group of the famous Tuskegee Airmen, flying 55 missions over Europe before being shot down over Hungary in November 1944. He evaded German patrols for days before being captured and sent to Stalag VIIA Prisoner of War camp.
Learn more about 1st Lt. Roger Bertram Gaiter in TUSKEGEE AIRMEN PROFILES!