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Robert Searcy
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Birth: 1921
Mount Pleasant
Taylor County
Texas, USA
Death: Sep. 7, 2009
Fulton County
Georgia, USA

Here is Mr. Searcy's Obit:

Sunday, September 20, 2009
By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times

Robert Searcy, a member of the all-black group of World War II servicemen known as the Tuskegee Airmen, died of colon cancer Sept. 7 at his granddaughter's home in Atlanta. He was 88.

Mr. Searcy was born in Mount Pleasant, Texas, in 1921, and briefly attended what is now Prairie View A&M University before enlisting in the Army Air Forces in 1942.

In an interview this year, he said that after basic training at Fort Hood, Texas, he was selected to lead a group of airmen to Tuskegee Army Airfield in Tuskegee, Ala.

Mr. Searcy described how porters on the train platform that day told him that his men would be segregated on the Pullman train car, barred from dining and sleeping quarters. Mr. Searcy objected.

"I demanded that they give us equal passage to get there, off and on, to eat and sleep with the rest of them," he said.

He said the porters, who were mostly black, eventually gave in, and he felt vindicated.

"I was put in charge of those men," he said. "I felt I had to represent what the Constitution was for those men. That's what leadership is."

Mr. Searcy then served as a general clerk in Italy, surviving an attack by submarines on his way and numerous air assaults on his encampment in the Italian marshes, where he lived in a tent and slogged through black mud and ash from nearby Mount Vesuvius to deliver military intelligence messages to superiors.

"We didn't find out how much danger we were in until we got over there," he said.

Mr. Searcy was honorably discharged Oct. 27, 1945, with commendations for supporting combat missions over Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

He settled in Los Angeles and attended the University of California, Los Angeles, Extension school part time for two years before marrying childhood friend Betty Lydia Jones in 1948. They had a daughter, Robyn, in 1952 and later divorced. Mr. Searcy remarried aspiring Swedish actress Mona Elisa Arbvie in 1978. The couple had no children, later divorced and Ms. Arbvie died in a car crash in 1990.

Mr. Searcy went on to work at a downtown post office and opened several clothing stores in Hollywood and South Los Angeles. He kept clippings about the airmen, read widely, and encouraged his grandchildren to do the same.

"To me he was like history. He just had so many stories to tell," said granddaughter Christy Davis, 32, of Atlanta.

A longtime Republican, Mr. Searcy said he experienced a change of heart during Barack Obama's presidential campaign, and he canvassed for the Democrat at his senior housing complex in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley. When Mr. Obama issued an invitation to Tuskegee Airmen to attend his inauguration in January, Mr. Searcy jumped at the chance.

He traveled with two other local airmen to Washington, where he claimed a front seat among celebrities, dined at an inaugural banquet, gave interviews and danced past midnight.

"We did it all," Mr. Searcy said as he returned to L.A.

Mr. Searcy said he was energized by the inauguration.

"It's just like why I volunteered for the military," he said. "In your life, you do things you feel are meaningful to everyone. You don't isolate."

Created by: Michael Harrington
Record added: Sep 21, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 42200490
Robert Searcy
Added by: Michael Harrington
Robert Searcy
Added by: Michael Harrington
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