Leroy, Roberts Jr.
1921 – August 13, 2008
Class: 44-E-SE
Graduation date: 5/23/1944
Rank at time of graduation: 2nd Lt
Service # 0830794
From: Toccoa GA

As a boy growing up in rural Georgia, LeRoy Roberts Jr. would stop whatever he was doing to watch the twice-daily mail plane pass overhead. As a young man, he persuaded a European pilot to give him flying lessons — even though his skin color prevented him from holding a pilot’s license.

But thanks largely to first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Lt. Col. Roberts and hundreds of other black men became distinguished aviators, fighting both the Nazis and the racist policies of a still-segregated U.S. Army.

Prior to his civilian career, LeRoy retired from the U.S. Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel and was one of the distinguished aviators in World War II, known as the Tuskegee Airmen. He flew 42 missions against the enemy and served as a fighter pilot with the 332nd Fighter Group in Italy.

As a flight commander in the Korean War, he led 106 missions against the enemy in support of the United Nations’ effort. His decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with one (1) cluster, the Air Medal with eleven (11) clusters and the Air Force Commendation with one (1) cluster. In May of 2007, the Tuskegee Airmen received the Congressional Gold Medal for their exemplary service and bravery in World War II.

LTC LeRoy Roberts, Jr

Leroy was a gifted speaker who provided insight into the historic contribution and sacrifices the Tuskegee Airmen made for the freedom we all enjoy as Americans. As the first President of the Sam Bruce Chapter, Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., he championed the Tuskegee Airmen National Scholarship Foundation as well as the chapter’s college scholarship program, which provides graduating high school students funds to pursue STEM educations.

Sources:
Red Tail Hawks Flying Club
The Seattle Times
Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, Alabama

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