An Airport in Eastern Iowa Honors African American WW2 Pilot
The regional airport in Dubuque, Iowa, announced some incredible news for not only an African American World War 2 Pilot but someone who is also from Dubuque. The city gets to honor one of their own in a really unique, and for lack of a better term, cool way. Not only is this a well-deserved reward, but it's also a fantastic way for Dubuque to honor a WW2 veteran. KCRG reports, that when you walk through the main terminal at the airport, you are now walking through Capt. Robert L. Martin Terminal.
Sadly, Robert is not alive to accept this honor as his family gathered this past Tuesday to celebrate the honor and join in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. KCRG reports, that Robert died 4 years ago at the late age of 99.
This Dubuque native joined the U.S Army during world war 2 and took part in flying missions with the Tuskegee Airmen. I find it pretty awesome that a man who flew planes during the war is being honored at his hometown airport. I would assume he loved flying, so what better place to honor him.
Not only was Robert smart enough, skilled enough, and brave enough, to be a pilot, but he was strong/lucky enough to almost live to be 100 years old. Not many people get to say they live into their 90s much less almost make it to 100 years old. Add that to the fact that Robert was one of very few.
According to National WW2 Museum, from 1941-1946 there were only about 1,000 African American pilots and they were trained at a segregated airbase in Tuskegee, Alabama. Compare to the hundreds of thousands of pilots in WW2, I would consider Robert to be a pretty rare diamond. There were about 165,000 pilots who graduated from basic flight training in 1943, according to Real Clear History. That would equal about 0.606% of pilots being African American.
KCRG reports this was part of a 2-year long campaign, that was unanimously voted on by the Dubuque Regional Airport Commission to which I say, I would hope the decision would be unanimous.
I hope we continue to see stories like this from around the United States as often as possible. Anyway, we can honor, give thanks, and remember the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for our freedoms, we should do so. Especially when you can honor someone from your own community.