2nd Lt Edward Laird
February 12, 1921 – June 28, 1944
Graduation Date: November 3, 1943
Graduation Rank: Second Lieutenant
Unit: 332nd Fighter Group, 100th Fighter Squadron
Service # O-814831
Edward was born in 1921 to Dave Laird and Cora Thomas. He was the middle son of seven children born to this couple. Edward enrolled in the Tuskegee Air Institute in 1942 as part of the first cadet programs. While attending the institute, Edward was voted “most talented undergraduate on campus” and won an all-expense paid trip to New York City. His talent was listed as “expert with figures”. In addition, he was paid $200.00 to star on the Fred Allen Texaco Star Theatre which was aired on CBS on May 3, 1942. At the time, he was a sophomore in the School of Agriculture where he was a member of the UMCA, the Agricultural Forum and the Tuskegee Institute ROTC program. He was enrolled in the Primary Course in Aviation. He married Annie Estelle Motley on Jun 29, 1943, in Tuskegee, Alabama.
In November of 1943, he had completed his training and graduated with the first group of airmen. He was assigned to the 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group. He was based out of Ramitelli, Italy. On June 28, 1944, he was preparing to participate in a strafing mission when his P-47D Thunderbolt #42- crashed on takeoff. Edward did not survive the crash. He was buried in a temporary cemetery in Italy until 1949, when his body was returned home for burial. Edward Laird is buried or memorialized at Greenwood Cemetery, Tuskegee, Alabama.