Original Tuskegee Airman laid to rest - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Original Tuskegee Airman laid to rest

 

















ARLINGTON, Va. - One of the original members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen was laid to rest Friday at Arlington National Cemetery.

Captain Luther Smith Junior was a World War II veteran who flew 133 combat missions and is credited with destroying two German enemy aircraft in aerial combat and ten German aircraft in ground missions.

The Des Moines, Iowa native was awarded many commendations including the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart and the Prisoner of War Medal after being permanently injured on his final combat mission.

Captain Smith parachuted while unconscious from his burning P-51 Mustang aircraft and was held as a prisoner for seven months until the war ended.

The term "Tuskegee Airmen" refers to those involved in the so-called "Tuskegee Experiment," the Army Air Corps program to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft.

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