This Military Service Page was created/owned by
SFC Ken Logue-Deceased
Custis, Lemuel Rodney (Tuskegee Airman), MAJ.
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Home Town Wethersfield, Connecticut
Last Address Not Specified
Date of Passing Feb 24, 2005
Location of Interment Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates Not Specified
Last Known Activity The first five men to have the silver wings of the Army Air Force pinned on their chests were Benjamin O. Davis, George Roberts, Charles BeBow, Jr., Mac Ross and Lemuel Custis. In March of 1942 the black pilots were inducted into the U.S. Army Air Corps in ceremonies on the airstrip at Tuskegee and later that month the 100th Fighter Squadron was formed as part of the 332nd Fighter Group.
Custis was assigned to the all-black 99th Fighter Squadron, which flew escort and patrol missions in P-40 Warhawks in North Africa, Sicily and Italy from April 1943 to July 1944. Members of the 99th first tangled with German fliers while covering the beaches during the Allied invasion at Anzio on Jan. 27, 1944.
Other Comments: Lemuel Rodney Custis, was the last surviving member of that first class. Having received a BS Degree from Howard University in 1938, he became Hartford's first African-American police officer in 1939. Custis flew 92 combat missions in the P-40 while assigned to the 99th Fighter Squadron, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism. He later returned to Tuskegee as an advanced flight instructor and was released from active military service from the U.S. Army Air Force in 1946 as a Captain.
Interred at Cedar Hill Cemetery, Hartfor. Connecticut