In October 2013, the CAF Red Tail Squadron lost a great supporter and friend, U.S. Air Force Major (ret.) Joseph Gomer.  Major Joe Gomer was a Tuskegee Airman. Joe lost his battle with cancer and died peacefully in Duluth at the age of 93.

Like many of us, Joe was inspired by aviation and donated much of his free time and energy to share his passion and experiences with young people. In his early years, Joe received his pilot’s license before his driver’s license.  Later, he was accepted into the Aviation Cadet Training Program in 1942 and continued with training in fighter aircraft . While he endured many challenges as an African-American during these times, Joe relished in sharing with others ways of rising above personal adversity.  Joe taught us about overcoming obstacles and striving for excellence, no matter how great the odds. He led by example, not only during his military career but afterwards as he continued his public service with the forestry department.

Joe was always humble, approachable and credible. Whether he was addressing a large crowd or one individual, Joe made time for making that personal connection. He had that unique ability to tell his story and inspire others without preaching or being haughty. He was an early supporter of the Squadron and came to Wahpeton, ND to show his support during the second rebuild of our Mustang.

Joe’s legacy inspired and assisted the CAF Red Tail Squadron team in helping to preserve the history of the Tuskegee Airmen. With that quiet smile Joe kept us on the road to improvement.  Joe, we will miss you greatly and continue to aim high, as you have taught us so well.

Safe Flying Joe,

The CAF Red Tail Squadron

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