Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen (DOTA) John Robert Lindsey
Mechanic, Gunnery Radio Operator and Celestial Navigator

John R. Lindsay entered military service on 4 December 1942.  He was assigned to the 617th Bomber Squadron and later connected with the 477th Bomber Group.  After training, his rank was elevated to Master Sergeant (MSgt).

He trained as World War II (WWII) was raging in Europe and it was becoming increasingly difficult for the United States to remain neutral.  A few far-sighted men in the Army Air Corps saw the essential requirement for ‘trained’ celestial navigators in our military aircraft.  This made MSgt Lindsey’s ‘special’ training unique.

Celestial navigation, also known as astronavigation, is the ancient and modern practice of position fixing that enables a navigator to transition through a space without having to rely on estimated calculations, or dead reckoning, to know their position.  Celestial navigation uses “sights” or angular measurements taken between a celestial body (i. e., the Sun, the Moon, a planet or a star) and the visible horizon. Navigators most commonly used the Sun.  MSgt Lindsay was trained on the B-17 Flying Fortress Bomber, B-25 Bomber Mitchell, P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang.

Visit the Red Tail Virtual Museum to see his World War II Sextant Celestial Navigation Instrument

One of his most unique assignments was to train with Jimmy Doolittle for the raid on Tokyo. MSgt was the 1st black aviator assigned to Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, IL.

Major recognitions awarded were an American Theater Ribbon, a Good Conduct Metal and a WWII Victory Metal.

Submitted by Mary Diane Hamm, Historian-Greater Cincinnati Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. (GCCTAI) and Jacqueline Covington (CAF/Red Tail Squadron Member).

 

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