September 25, 1919 – August 20, 2008
Virtual Museum mural
Sherman Rose was born in Missouri and graduated from Washington High School in Luther, OK. He attended the Colored Agricultural and Normal University, which is now known as Langston University in Langston, OK.
Rose attended Tuskegee Institute where he graduated in the very first class of students to receive the Civil Pilot Training Program instruction and completed all courses from private pilot to instructor rating. After graduation, he remained as a flight instructor for Tuskegee, Division of Aeronautics, where he taught the famed 99th Pursuit Squadron and the 332nd Fighter Group to fly during World War II.
Rose helped inspire, motivate and train the remarkable young Americans who became the first Black Military Aviators in the history of the nation; the famed Tuskegee Airmen of WWII. Much of the success of the Airmen was due to the remarkable basic aviation foundation given them by Rose and the other dedicated instructors hired by Tuskegee Institute. This was a historic military contract with the U.S. Government and a Negro educational institution; it permitted Tuskegee Institute (now University), to spawn the Tuskegee Airmen.
He retired as a Department of the Army Civilian in 1974 after serving more than 19 years as a fixed and rotary wing instructor pilot at Fort Rucker. He not only trained fixed wing pilots at the post, but also became one of the best helicopter instructors in the U.S. Army. Many combat helicopter veterans of the Vietnam era who trained at Ft. Rucker have lauded Sherman as an instructor and aviator. It has always been easy to elicit a Sherman Rose aviation story.
In 2001, a mural on the facade of one of the City’s most historic downtown buildings in Dothan, AL was painted with a picture of Rose surrounded by a collage of key aviation associations and events in his life. He has contributed much to the fabric of the Dothan community. He has been lauded for his work with city leadership in obtaining a number federal development grants, including an industrial park.
The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.