March 13, 2014
By Alton K. Marsh
Referred to as the father of black aviation, C. Alfred “Chief” Anderson, chief flight instructor of the prestigious Tuskegee Airmen, is now immortalized on a stamp.
Anderson also has been called the Charles Lindbergh of black aviation for his record-breaking flights that inspired other African-Americans to become pilots. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2013.
“The Postal Service is proud to honor Charles Alfred “Chief” Anderson, a black aviation pioneer who inspired, motivated and educated thousands of young people in aviation careers, including the famed Tuskegee Airmen of World War II,” said U.S. Postal Service Judicial Officer William Campbell.
“It all began with the instruction they received from Chief Anderson, an extraordinary teacher who motivated and inspired them to reach their full potential as military aviators. The Airmen’s professionalism and extraordinary effectiveness in combat was, in large part, the catalyst for President Harry Truman’s issuance in 1948 of Executive Order 9981, which desegregated America’s armed forces,” Campbell said in a media release.
“Coach” Roscoe Draper, Tuskegee flight instructor, joined Campbell in dedicating the stamp. Anderson mentored Draper, and the two taught the airmen together. Other Tuskegee Airmen attending the dedication included Val Archer of Stockbridge, Ga.; Roscoe Brown of Riverdale, N.Y.; Leo Gray of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Anderson Jefferson of Detroit; Hiram Little of Atlanta; and Theodore Lumpkin, Jr., of Los Angeles. Anderson’s son Charles Alfred Anderson Jr., of Greensboro, N.C.; and granddaughter Christina Anderson Augusta, GA, also participated.
“What makes the stamp so meaningful is that it brings my father’s legacy to life,” said Anderson’s youngest son, Charles Alfred Anderson Jr. “It is truly an honor to have him portrayed as the face of the Tuskegee Airmen.”
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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