Milton Crenchaw was born and raised in Little rock, Arkansas in 1919. He is the son of the former preacher and community leader, Reverend Joseph C. Crenchaw who died in the late 1950s at the age of 95.
In 1941, Mr. Crenchaw was one of the original Flight Instructors for the Tuskegee flight experiment and is acknowledged as one of only eight Arkansas registered as a Tuskegee Airmen. He became the first African American from Arkansas to receive his pilot’s license at a time when Jim Crow laws were still in effect. He overcame racism and bigotry to become a Flight Instructor making him the first Arkansan to get to Tuskegee’s, Morton Field in the early 1940’s.
Mr. Crenchaw was very instrumental in training and preparing hundreds of combat fighter pilots to fly on missions between 1941 and 1945 which was the World War II era. His story will soon be told in the up and coming book entitled “Airkansan, The Journey of Milton Crenchaw, Civilian Flight Instructor of the Tuskegee Airmen.” Milton not only played a significant role in aviation history, he was also a civil and social advocate for civilian and veteran benefits for Flight Instructors during World War II.
Milton Crenchaw has received numerous awards, recognitions and certificates of appreciation from President William Jefferson Clinton, Congressman Vic Snyder and Senator Mark Pryor. He was recently recognized on March 27, 2007 by Governor Mike Beebe for receiving the Congressional Gold Medal from President George W. Bush for his service with the Tuskegee Airmen. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor bestowed by Congress.