Granville C. Coggs
Graduation date: 10/16/1945 2nd Lt.
Serial # 02082572
Granville C. Coggs (July 30, 1925 – May 6, 2019 was born in Pine Bluff but moved to Little Rock before being drafted.
For much of his adult life, Granville Coggs was known as “Dr. Coggs,” a respected radiologist who specialized in the detection of breast cancer. But in his later years, Coggs preferred to introduce himself with a title that referenced his pioneering contributions to the Second World War: “Granville Coggs, Tuskegee Airman.”
He served in the Army Air Corps from 1943 to 1946 as an aerial gunner, aerial bombardier, multi-engine pilot, and B-25 pilot trainee. He was scheduled for the 477th Bombardment Group but did not see combat, due to the end of the war. Coggs was a weather observer until the fall of 1946, before being discharged and leaving Tuskegee to attend the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, where he graduated in 1949. In 1953, he became a physician upon completing a medical degree from Harvard Medical School. In 1959, he became the first Arkansan and the first African American to serve as staff physician at Kaiser Hospital in San Francisco. In 1972, he became the first head of the Ultrasound Radiology Division at the University of California at San Francisco. In the 1980s, according to the San Antonio Express-News, Coggs established the San Antonio Breast Evaluation Center, which served as a model for other breast cancer diagnostic facilities across the U.S.
Coggs wore his Tuskegee wings and Congressional Gold Medal, awarded to the corps, with pride. “It was important to us that we fight for the right to fight, whether, in the end, we were needed or not.”