Tuskegee Ace Dies At 90 Years Old

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Njaco, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Tuskegee Ace Dies At 90 Years Old
    Lee Archer Shot Down 5 Planes
    Posted: 5:23 pm EST January 28, 2010
    Updated: 3:07 am EST January 29, 2010

    NEW YORK -- Retired Air Force Lt. Colonel Lee A. Archer, a Tuskegee Airman considered to be the only black ace pilot who also broke racial barriers as an executive at a major U.S. company and founder of a venture capital firm, died Wednesday in New York City. He was 90.

    His son, Roy Archer, said his father died at Cornell University Medical Center in Manhattan. A cause of death was not immediately determined.

    The Tuskegee Airmen were America's first black fighter pilot group in World War II.

    "It is generally conceded that Lee Archer was the first and only black ace pilot," credited with shooting down five enemy planes, Dr. Roscoe Brown Jr., a fellow Tuskegee Airman and friend, said in a telephone interview Thursday.

    Archer was acknowledged to have shot down four planes, and he and another pilot both claimed victory for shooting down a fifth plane. An investigation revealed Archer had inflicted the damage that destroyed the plane, said Brown, and the Air Force eventually proclaimed him an ace pilot.

    Archer, a resident of New Rochelle, N.Y., "lived a full life," said his son. "His last two or three years were amazing for him."

    Archer was among the group of Tuskegee Airmen invited to attend President Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009. The airmen, who escorted bomber planes during the war fought with distinction, only to face bigotry and segregation when they returned home, were also awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their service in 2007 by President George W. Bush.

    Archer was "extremely competent, aggressive about asserting his position and sometimes stubborn," Brown said.

    "He had a heart of gold and treated people with respect. He demanded respect by the way he carried himself."

    Brown estimated that about 50 or 60 of the 994 Tuskegee Airmen pilots are still alive.

    Born on Sept. 6, 1919, in Yonkers and raised in Harlem, Archer left New York University to enlist in the Army Air Corps in 1941 but was rejected for pilot training because the military didn't allow blacks to serve as pilots.

    "A War Department study in 1925 expressly stated that Negroes didn't have the intelligence, or the character, or the leadership to be in combat units, and particularly, they didn't have the ability to be Air Force pilots," said Brown.

    Archer instead joined a segregated Army Air Corps unit at the Tuskegee, Ala., air base, graduating from pilot training in July 1943.

    After he retired from the military in 1970, Archer joined General Foods Corp., becoming one of the era's few black corporate vice presidents of a major American company.

    He ran one of the company's small-business investment arms, North Street Capital Corp., which funded companies that included Essence Communications and Black Enterprise Magazine, according to his son and Brown.

    Archer was an adviser to the late Reginald Lewis in the deal that created the conglomerate TLC Beatrice in 1987, then the largest black-owned and -managed business in the U.S.

    After retiring from General Foods in 1987, Archer founded the venture capital firm Archer Asset Management.

    Archer is survived by three sons and a daughter. His wife, Ina Archer, died in 1996. Services have yet to be announced.

    Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    Tuskegee Ace Dies At 90 Years Old - News Story - WSB Atlanta
     

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  2. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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  6. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    God rest his soul
     
  7. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Lee Archer was a fine fighter pilot but he received credit for only four in the air. Unfortunately this is one of the legends, along with 'no bombers lost', that seem to linger on.

    Check the USAF HRC or Olynyks' 'Stars and Bars' or the American Fighter Aces or USAF Study 85 Victory Credits - all of which hae Archer at four.

    Having said that , RIP and kudos for a damn fine life.
     
  8. DerAdlerIstGelandet

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    :salute: Ace or not, a damn fine pilot.
     
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    R.I.P. Lee Archer.
     
  14. NZTyphoon

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    :salute: :salute:
    From all I've read and heard a damn fine human as well.
     
  15. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Bill, one of the articles that reported his death also said the same but that he and another pilot, Brown I think, shared a kill. After looking at footage or whatever it was 'conclusivly' (their word, not mine - my misspelling, not theirs) awarded to Archer. According to the AP article.
     
  16. vikingBerserker

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  17. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    #17 drgondog, Jan 31, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2010
    He doesn't have a shared kill with Brown or anyone else according to USAF, and Brown had no shared credits either.

    pg 31 USAF Study 85
    Brown 1.00 3-24-45
    Brown 1.00 3-31-45

    pg 13 USAF Study 85 and pg 119 Stars and Bars - Olynyk
    Archer 1.00 7-18-44
    Archer 3.00 10-12-44

    I have been blasted for being a racist on this one before - and I realize that you aren't doing that to me on this one.

    I pride myself in doing fact finding on this subject (fighter credits) and all I can do is report referencable facts on this subject.

    The American Fighter Aces Association is almost paranoid on this subject and bounced a former President Wayne Jorda and many others based on USAF Historical Study 85.

    AP will repeat anything they are told if the reporter wants to believe the story..

    It really doesn't matter at the end of the day - but Archer will not be recognized for having 5 in the air and the AP will have no say in it.

    Regards,

    Bill
     
  18. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Unfortunately that typically happens when this topic is brought up.
     
  19. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Thanks Bill. I know you have the actual facts instead of the AP! :) Just was curious based on the article.

    No harm, no foul. :)
     
  20. magnu

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