Tuskegee airman honored at West Amory Elementary

By Rex Wilgus/Monroe Journal

AMORY – A formal ceremony was held Dec. 7 at West Amory Elementary for the presentation of the Lt. Col. Herbert E. Carter Honor Marker and Site to the Amory School District.

Carter, one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, was present for the ceremony. “I can only thank God I’m here,” Carter said. “The [Tuskegee Airmen] demonstrated that race, creed, color – they had nothing to do with your ability.”

The Airmen were a group of African Americans who were given the opportunity to form their own air squadron during World War II. At the time, blacks were not allowed to serve in the military. The Tuskegee Airmen were so successful that complete integration of the military soon followed.

“Ninety percent of it was courage,” Carter said. “The other 10 percent was stupidity – they were the enemy and they were fighting back. We were lucky to only lose 66. Many units lost hundreds. The Airmen showed that you if you take any group of people and give them training and opportunity, they will succeed.”

W.C. Bradley III, who designed the marker and site, gave the opening remarks, which were followed by the presentation of colors by the Columbus Air Force Base Honor Guard.

Dr. Gearl Loden, superintendent of the Amory School District, and Corliss Curry, principal of West Amory Elementary School, were on hand to accept the donation.