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Lt. Col. Woodrow W Crockett

As the proud story of the Tuskegee airmen comes to light, it is only fitting that Arkansas honor one of its own distinguished African-American fliers. Retired Lieutenant Colonel Woodrow W. Crockett. The glorious path taken by this heavily decorated veteran of World War II and the Korean conflict has already culminated in his October 1992 induction into the Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame and serves as a shining example for anyone whose dream is, figuratively or literally, to fly. Lt Col. Crockett was born in Texarkana, Arkansas.

After a move to Little Rock, he graduated from Dunbar High School and Little Rock Junior College. In August 1940, he joined the US. Army as a private of the 349th Field Artillery (the first African-American unit of the regular Army); later, he was selected Model Soldier of the Regiment His career in aviation began in August 1942 when he signed as cadet to the Tuskegee Army Airfield in Alabama. On March 25, 1943 Crockett graduated as a pilot and subsequently was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US. Army Air Corps. He was a member of the 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group well knows as the “Red Tails” During 1944 and 1945 he flew 149 combat missions during a 15month tour of Italy. In 1952 and 1953, he added 45 more missions as a Korean War combat jet-fighter pilot.

A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Command and Staff College, he has occupied various positions during his 30 years of military service: Squadron & Operations Officer, Flying Safety Officer, Squadron Commander, as well as Radiological Safety Officer of an atomic bomb test in the Southwest Pacific in 1951. In March of 1958 he attained the highest aeronautical rating in the military; Command Pilot For more than a decade, Lt Col. Crockett served as an Air Staff Officer for the National Guard Bureau at the Pentagon. Lt Col. Crockett received many awards during his military service, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, and two Soldiers Medals for bravery.

He was also awarded the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation medal, and the Air Force Commendation medal with one oak leaf cluster: On January 5, 1967, Governor Orval E. Faubus awarded him the Arkansas Traveler Award. Crockett retired from the Air Force in 1970 after 28 years on flight status, with 20 years of jet experience and approximately 5-thousand hours in the air (520 hours in combat). Lt. Col. Crockett currently resides in Annandale, Virginia with his wife, the former Daisy Juanita McMurry of Little Rock They have four children and two grandchildren.