Illinois post office in talks to rename branch after Tuskegee Airmen pilot

Historic Black aviator, Capt. Robert Martin to be honored in Chicago suburb

Tuskegee Airmen
Tuskegee Airmen (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly introduced a bill to rename a post office in the Olympia Fields suburb to honor, Tuskegee Airmen, Capt. Robert Martin.

According to The Chicago Tribune, Martin, who passed last July at 99, was a fighter pilot with the Tuskegee Airmen. He lived in Olympia Fields village since 2008.

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The suburb officials passed a resolution to honor Martin last year.

After reading an article about Martin, Kelly contacted his family about moving forward with the legislation to name the post office after Martin as a tribute, according to her office.

This is the first legislation that the house representative has introduced since being elected into Congress. Kelly believes that renaming the Olympia Fields after Martin, “is a fitting tribute to this American hero,” and that “his name and legacy are a source of pride to the community,” a news release states.

Martin was one of the many Black aviators who trained and lived in segregated facilities while serving in the U.S. armed forces.

Read More: Wilfred DeFour, one of the remaining Tuskegee Airmen, dies at age 100

After Martin earned his wings and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1944 he flew with the 100th Fighter Squadron in Italy. While overseas he flew 63 missions as a U.S. combat pilot in World War II but was shot down enemy gunfire on his 64th mission in 1945 in Zagreb, Yugoslavia.

One of Martin’s three daughters, Gabrielle Martin, said Kelly’s bill not only recognizes her father but it “honors the value of honorable service.”

“Dad flew for a segregated America that wanted to see him fail,” Martin said in a news release. “The rich history of the Tuskegee Airmen who fought racism at home and from home while facing hostilities overseas helped America secure victory and the many freedoms Americans enjoy.”

Martin received a number of service medals such as  Distinguished Flying Cross and Purple Heart.  He also received a Congressional Gold Medal by President George W. Bush during a ceremony that honored the Tuskegee Airmen in 2007.

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In order for the post office to be renamed, the House and Senate must approve, according to a Kelly spokesman. A ceremony will be scheduled at the post office after congressional approval.