Archer, Lee, LTC

Deceased
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Lieutenant Colonel
Last Service Branch
Aviation
Last Primary MOS
1980-Fixed Wing Aviation Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Aviation (Officer)
Primary Unit
1944-1945, 332nd Airdrome Squadron
Service Years
1942 - 1970

Aviation

Lieutenant Colonel



Four Overseas Service Bars


 Last Photo   Personal Details 

6 kb

Home State
New York
New York
Year of Birth
1919
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Archer, Lee (DFC), LTC.
 
Contact Info
Home Town
Yonkers
Last Address
Not Specified

Date of Passing
Jan 27, 2010
 
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Honorably Discharged WW II Meritorious Unit Commendation 1944-1961


 Unofficial Badges 






 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Retired Air Force Lt. Colonel Lee A. Archer, a Tuskegee Airman considered to be the only black ace pilot who also broke racial barriers as an executive at a major U.S. company and founder of a venture capital firm, died Wednesday in New York City. He was 90.

His son, Roy Archer, said his father died at Cornell University Medical Center in Manhattan. A cause of death was not immediately determined.

The Tuskegee Airmen were America's first black fighter pilot group in World War II.

"It is generally conceded that Lee Archer was the first and only black ace pilot," credited with shooting down five enemy planes, Dr. Roscoe Brown Jr., a fellow Tuskegee Airman and friend, said in a telephone interview Thursday.

Archer was acknowledged to have shot down four planes While flying with the 302nd Fighter Squadron.  His first four confirmed air combat victories were: one Messerschmitt Bf 109 on 18 July 1944 over Memmingen, Germany and three Bf 109s on 12 October 1944 over Lake Balaton, Hungary. He and another pilot both claimed victory for shooting down a fifth plane. An investigation revealed Archer had inflicted the damage that destroyed the plane, said Brown, and the Air Force eventually proclaimed him an ace pilot.  He also destroyed six aircraft on the ground during a strafing mission in August 1944.

He is an Honoree of the American Fighter Aces Association. Archer's P-51C was named "Ina The Macon Belle", after his wife, Ina Burdell Archer.

Archer, a resident of New Rochelle, N.Y., "lived a full life," said his son. "His last two or three years were amazing for him."

Archer was among the group of Tuskegee Airmen invited to attend President Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009. The airmen, who escorted bomber planes during the war fought with distinction, only to face bigotry and segregation when they returned home, were also awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their service in 2007 by President George W. Bush.

Archer was "extremely competent, aggressive about asserting his position and sometimes stubborn," Brown said.

"He had a heart of gold and treated people with respect. He demanded respect by the way he carried himself."

Brown estimated that about 50 or 60 of the 994 Tuskegee Airmen pilots are still alive.

Born on Sept. 6, 1919, in Yonkers and raised in Harlem, Archer left New York University to enlist in the Army Air Corps in 1941 but was rejected for pilot training because the military didn't allow blacks to serve as pilots.

"A War Department study in 1925 expressly stated that Negroes didn't have the intelligence, or the character, or the leadership to be in combat units, and particularly, they didn't have the ability to be Air Force pilots," said Brown.

Archer instead joined a segregated Army Air Corps unit at the Tuskegee, Ala., air base, graduating from pilot training in July 1943.

After he retired from the military in 1970, Archer joined General Foods Corp., becoming one of the era's few black corporate vice presidents of a major American company.

He ran one of the company's small-business investment arms, North Street Capital Corp., which funded companies that included Essence Communications and Black Enterprise Magazine, according to his son and Brown.

Archer was an adviser to the late Reginald Lewis in the deal that created the conglomerate TLC Beatrice in 1987, then the largest black-owned and -managed business in the U.S.

After retiring from General Foods in 1987, Archer founded the venture capital firm Archer Asset Management.

Archer was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 18 Clusters, the Distinguished Unit Citation and many other service medals.

Archer is survived by three sons and a daughter. His wife, Ina Archer, died in 1996.  He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Find A Grave Memorial:
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln
=Archer&GSfn=Lee&GSbyrel=all&GSdy=2010&GSdyrel
=in&GSob=n&GRid=47273686&df=all&



 

   
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Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Archer_(pilot)

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/nation/6841219.html
 
   
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 Ribbon Bar

Aviator Badge (Master)

 
 Unit Assignments
China-Burma-India (CBI)
  1944-1945, 332nd Airdrome Squadron
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1945 World War II
  1944-1945 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Rhineland Campaign (1944-45)
 Colleges Attended 
New York University
  1936-1940, New York University
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