2nd Lt Richard E. Thorpe
September 30, 1924 – April 6, 1945
Class: 44-I-1-SE
Graduation Date: 10/16/1944
Unit:
Service # O838163

Richard Thorpe was assigned as a replacement pilot with the Tuskegee Airmen and was instructed to report to Italy for combat. During one of the orientation flights, Richard unexpectedly lost control of his aircraft and was killed.

2nd Lt Thorpe is buried at Long Island National Cemetery, East Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York, USA
PLOT J O 15769


Here is a great story!  Herbert and Richard Thorpe: Brothers earn their wings

Herbert Thorpe earned his B-25 pilot’s wings in October 1942, becoming one of the heralded Tuskegee Airmen, the first black pilots in United States history.

“At the time, I didn’t think it was historic,” said Thorpe, 93, who had previously worked in a Civilian Conservation Corps camp before enlisting in the Army. “Then, I got called to cadet school. I thought it was all part of continuing on a path. I was just doing my best.”

Thorpe, a Brooklyn native now of Rome, Oneida County, enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves and underwent flight training at the Tuskegee Army Air Field Flight School at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. After completing training at gunnery school and bombardier/navigator school, he was commissioned a second lieutenant. Thorpe then returned to Tuskegee to begin flight training.

After he got his wings, he stayed at Tuskegee for a year and then returned home. He went to school on the GI Bill, earning an engineering degree from New York University.

Thorpe worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, for the Army Air Corps, and eventually landed at Rome Development Center at Griffis Air Force Base, from where he retired.

Traveling around the country post-war he said he was exposed to more segregation than before.

“Coming from New York, the north, we weren’t exposed to these things we saw other places,” he said, noting that the isolation of the Tuskegee base also sheltered him from segregation.

He was unable to attend the original medal presentation ceremony in Washington, D.C., in 2007. He was among those honored Friday during a Veterans Day presentation of Congressional Gold Medals at the National Warplane Museum, Geneseo, recognizing five Tuskegee Airmen.

“I didn’t fully appreciate it when it was going on, so I’m glad I was able to be here today,” he said Friday, following the presentation.

Thorpe also accepted a Gold Medal on behalf of his brother Richard, who also completed pilot training.

Richard Thorpe was assigned as a replacement pilot with the Tuskegee Airmen and was instructed to report to Italy for combat. During one of the orientation flights, Richard unexpectedly lost control of his aircraft. He passed away in 1945.

Herbert Thorpe said he is glad to see the Tuskegee Airmen being honored.

“People that are still here and remembering us are giving us the opportunity to be recognized,” he said. “I think it is wonderful.”

Sources:
Findagrave.com
HonorStates.org
Livingston County News

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