Local Brigadier General Helps Honor Tuskeegee Airman

By Renita Wickes, Fort Irwin community relations officer

(Victor Valley)–On any given day there is always the opportunity to read about our nation’s history, but not often enough do you get the chance to meet one of the men or women who help make that history. Well the community of Torrance filled the Torrance city council chambers to do just that.

Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto and the City Council along with Lt. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, commander of Space and Missile Systems at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, and Brig. Gen. Terry Ferrell, commanding officer of the National Training Center at Fort Irwin recognized a living legend during the July 24th council meeting presenting the 102 year old Walter Crenshaw Jr. a Congressional Gold Medal replica as member of the “RedTails” Tuskegee Airmen for their service and sacrifice during WWII.

Mr. Crenshaw was unable to attend the original award presentation in Washington D.C. 2007 by President George W. Bush which is on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institute.

Family, friends, and citizens were honored to witness such an occasion and equally humbled by Mr. Crenshaw’s contributions to life, liberty, and equality too few have the courage to stand up for. Of special note, in attendance of this historical event and was his wife of 68 years Zelma, who has provided love and support for all these years lending to the adage that behind every great man is a greater woman.

Despite all that Mr. Crenshaw has endured and overcome through the years, his ability to make the audience erupt in laughter with his witticism was awe-inspiring.

Walter Crenshaw was inducted into the United States Army Air Corps in October of 1942 where he attained the rank of Sergeant. Crenshaw is a documented original Tuskegee Airman and was stationed at Tuskegee Alabama where he served in the Air Group’s administration offices.  He and the rest of the Tuskegee Airmen deserve praise for being the vanguards for racial equality in the armed forces of the United States where they fought valiantly and served proudly.

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