BILOXI, Miss. (AP) — Former Tuskegee Airman Robert Decatur, who became a judge and civil rights lawyer, will be buried in Biloxi this week.
Decatur died at his home in Titusville, Fla., on Aug. 19 at age 88. Burial is at Biloxi National Cemetery with full military honors at 11 a.m. Thursday.
He graduated from St. Leo High School in Chicago and received his pilot’s license from the University of Akron in Ohio. He earned a law degree from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio.
Decatur was selected for the Tuskegee Airmen Experiment during World War II. In 1943, he became the first black pre-flight cadet to be sent to Keesler Field in Biloxi for basic training. The cadets were sent to Tuskegee from Keesler Field.
The Tuskegee Airmen had the record of never losing a bomber to enemy fire in 1,500 missions, and of destroying German airplanes and rail cars and trucks on ground as well as an enemy destroyer.
In 2007, he was among the surviving airmen who received the Congressional Gold Medal.
In his law career, Decatur was part of a team representing 12 white students and one black student who were registering people to vote in Sunflower County in the early 1960s. He heard more than 10,000 cases during 25 years as a judge in probate court in Cleveland, Ohio, and taught at six different law schools.
Decatur is survived by his wife, Rose; a son, three daughters, a stepson, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
“Click here to sign up with a group that allows you to have a voice in the design of online and broadcast media. Then tell us how to improve thegrio.com.”: https://www.newsvips.com/R.aspx?a=129