Honoring Tuskegee Airmen

By: Staff Email
By: Staff Email

RENO, NV - Our Story, Inc (www.ourstoryinc.com) in association with the Nevada National Air Guard will be hosting three documented Tuskegee Airmen on January 20, 2012, in celebration as the George Lucas film “Red Tails” debuts in movie houses across the nation.

CM Sgt Lenard Yates, SM Sgt George Porter and SM Sgt Walter M. Suggs and escorts will be presenting a short program about their experiences as Tuskegee Airmen at the Nevada National Guard, 1776 National Guard Way, Reno, at 11:30 a.m. This is a unique opportunity to meet and greet participants in several historic events.

The youngest (born 1925), Lenard Yates was certificated in Inventory Management, Inventory Management Supervision, Civilian Air Mechanic Training (working on P47’s and P51’s), and the Engineering, Science and Management War Training Course, Lenard also received pilot training and a Pilots License in 1944 . Released from his duties as Airplane Mechanic at Tuskegee Institute November 20, 1945, Lenard enlisted in Army Air Corp and from December, 1945 – 1975, was assigned to different Air Bases where his primary specialty was USAF Supply Specialist . On August 31, 1975, he retired from active duty and Reserves after 30 years.

At Northrop Aircraft Corporation (Hawthorne, CA) in 1976 he coordinated and provided training to Royal Saudi Air Force personnel as Inventory Management Specialist. Q5 McDonnell Douglas Services, Inc. (St. Louis, Missouri) as Maintenance Material Control Supervisor, Foreign, he coordinated all phases of training for Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) trainees.

The eldest, TSgt. Boyd Taylor (born 1918), was drafted in July, 1942, into U.S. Army Air Corps going through basic training at Fort Bennings, Georgia, and assigned to Hendricks Field, Florida, where he attended Air and Engine School.

On August 2, 1946 Boyd was assigned to 318th Army Air Force Base Unit, Lockbourne Army Air Base, Columbus, Ohio, and then to 477th Composite Group at Lockbourne, performing as Airplane Maintenance Technician and Airplane Power Plant Mechanic. Later he served with the 332nd Fighter Group (Lockbourne) until October 1949. On April 12, 1951, upon promotion to Technical Sergeant, he received assignment to Hamilton Air Force Base (California) where he was placed in flying status as Aerial Engineer on B29’s and C47’s, participating in regular and frequent flights as a crew member on flights monitoring radar operations from Canada to Mexico.

After over 20 years of service Boyd retired October 2, 1963, from military service and began a second career as Mobile Equipment Metal Mechanic at the Presidio Army Base, San Francisco, retiring in July 1983 after a total of 37 years of Military and Civil service.

SM Sgt George Porter, born 1921, entered basic training at Fort Francis E. Warren in Wyoming; he was selected to be a Tuskegee Airman in December of 1942, serving as an airplane and engine mechanic at Lincoln Army Air Field (NE). In June of 1943 he returned to Tuskegee as the Crew Chief on the P-40 and AT-10 as well as the Squadron Inspector on the AT-6, P-40, P-39 and AT-10 aircraft.

Next, mastering the B-25, he became the Test Flight Engineer and Maintenance Inspector with the 477th Bombardment Group. He did not see combat; having ranked 50th in a field of 780 mechanics, he was retained stateside to train other airman.

Post-war he volunteered as part of the “after war clean-up team” in Guam. As a member of the GAMA Inspection team, responsibilities included inspection of bomb storage areas, aircraft and equipment waste for corrosion defects. Duty included Tinian, the island where the atomic bomb was assembled and placed on a B-29 “for delivery”.

Stateside, Sgt Porter served at bases in Texas and Mississippi and then in civilian dress as an inspector in Vietnam.

The airmen will be accompanies by SM Sgt Walter M. Suggs, Chapter President of the George S. "Spanky" Roberts Chapter, Tuskegee Airmen Inc., Sacramento CA.

There is no fee for the program at the Guard; advance purchase tickets for “Red Tails” are available by calling 741.4869.

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