MAJ Lemuel Rodney Custis

MAJ Lemuel Rodney Custis

Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Death 24 Feb 2005 (aged 89–90)
Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Burial Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Memorial ID 11162314 · View Source
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African American Military Pioneer. He was the last surviving member of the first class of the Famed Tuskegee Airmen headed by General Benjamin O. Davis Jr. Having received a BS Degree from Howard University in 1938, he became Hartford's first African American police officer in 1939. At the outbreak of WW II, he enlisted in the Army and was one of only four pilots that graduated from Class 42-C at Tuskegee Army Air Field, Alabama in 1942. Assigned to the all black 99th Fighter Squadron, he flew 92 combat missions in North Africa, Sicily and Italy from April 1943 to July 1944, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism. None of the bombers, he and fellow pilots were charged with escorting were lost to enemy aircraft. Later returning to Tuskegee as an advanced flight instructor, he was released from active military service as a Army Air Force Major, in 1946. He retired as the Chief Examiner, Tax Department for the State of Connecticut, after 30 years service in 1980. In 1995, he was a consultant for the HBO movie, “The Tuskegee Airmen” and served on the Board of Directors at the New England Air Museum in Washington D.C. His life achievements were recognized by Central Connecticut State University with an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities Degree in 2001.

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  • Created by: John "J-Cat" Griffith
  • Added: 13 Jun 2005
  • Find a Grave Memorial 11162314
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for MAJ Lemuel Rodney Custis (1915–24 Feb 2005), Find a Grave Memorial no. 11162314, citing Cedar Hill Cemetery, Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA ; Maintained by John "J-Cat" Griffith (contributor 46568383) .