CPT Claude Robert Platte, Jr
March 16, 1921 – September 27, 2013

Claude was born to Claude and Marie Scott Platte Sr. in Denison on March 16, 1921.

In an interview, Pratte recalled that his love of airplanes began as a child.  “I walked from my home to Meacham Field in Fort Worth just to watch the planes.  The white instructors would look at me and couldn’t understand why I was there.”

After graduating from I.M. Terrell high school, Pratte attended the Tuskegee Institute and earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Aeronautics.

Claude then went through the paces of the “Tuskegee Experience,” where he received the flight instructor rating. As a flight instructor, Capt. Platte trained over 400 black cadets to fly, and they amassed an unmatched military record as fighter pilots and were known as “The Red Tails.”

After the war, Platte became the first black person commissioned in the Air Force at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio. He advanced to the rank of captain and had an 18-year career in the Air Force.

After his death his widow Erma Bonner Platte stated:

“It was more important to all of the Tuskegee Airmen to let children know that whatever they dreamed, they could conceive, if they believed in themselves. I was privileged to follow them around as they went around the country telling the story of the Tuskegee airmen, so people would know about their contribution, which wasn’t in the history books.”

Sources:
Dallas News
DFW CBS
Findagrave.com

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