1st Lt Roger Romine
July 30, 1920 – November 16, 1944
Class: 43-H-SE
Graduation Date: August 30, 1943
Unit: 332nd Fighter Group, 301st Fighter Squadron
Service # O-811288

Lt Romine was credited with destroying 3 enemy aircraft in aerial combat.

Roger was born in 1920 to Elmer Romine and Viola Majors.  He grew up in Oakland, California. His father was employed by the Southern Pacific Railroad Passenger line, working as a waiter onboard.

Roger graduated from Oakland Technical High School where he excelled as an athlete in track and high jump. He went on to attend Salinas Junior College, transferring to San Jose State College where he took civilian pilot training. He was majoring in bacteriology and architectural drawing. He and his brother had both worked as news carriers for the Oakland Tribune when young.

Roger enlisted in the army air force, attending Tuskegee Institute for air pilot training. He was commissioned in September of 1943 and assigned to the 302nd Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group. He departed for Italy in December.

Roger was one of the first African American officers commissioned from Oakland, California. In July of 1944, he was serving in Italy under Col. Benjamin O. Davis. He was credited with downing a German Messerschmitt while escorting liberators to Austria on Jul 26.

On Nov 16, 1944, Roger was departing from Ramitelli Air Base on a mission when his plane suddenly encountered a flock of sheep on the runway, resulting in the plane rolling off the runway, into the mud. Before he could maneuver the plane from its position, the next pilot in take-off mode, encountered the same sheep situation, lost control of his aircraft, and crashed into Roger, killing him.

He was buried in a temporary American Cemetery overseas until his body was returned home at the request of his parents. Military honors were held for his burial on Dec 16, 1948. 1st Lt Romine is buried at the Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, San Mateo County, California. This is a National American Cemetery administered through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.




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