Legendary Airman makes special visit to Sheldon ISD
By LANDON MCDONALD
M.R. Null Middle School’s Civil Air Patrol (CAP) program recently welcomed Col. George Boyd, an American hero with the famed World War II (WWII) Tuskegee Airmen (Class 45-G)
Boyd’s visit helped to educate the young cadets on the legacy he and his fellow Airmen created.
For more than 28 years, Boyd served with the United States Air Force, but nothing could have prepared him for the barrage of questions coming from a group of middle school students.
Those questions covered many subjects, from his time in the Air Force to why his watch was so shiny.
Boyd says he has heard it all and loves educating the youth on the difference his time in the service has made on America and its military.
“My job as a retired Airman and speaker is to share the history and values of what makes an American citizen,” Boyd says. “Working from experience I can share on how one can overcome challenges, because in the face of adversity, will you do the right thing?” Boyd was born and grew up in New Jersey, served in WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam. In WWII, he held various positions including that of all-weather jet fighter radar intercept officer, squadron commander and management engineer.
During that time , when segregation prevailed in the United States, the training of African-American military aviators was conducted at an isolated Army airfield near Tuskegee Institute, Ala.
Under the command of Col. Benjamin O. Davis Jr., 450 African-American fighter pilots fought in the aerial war over North Africa, Sicily, Southern France and Europe.
Those men became known as the Tuskegee Airmen, a name that to this day reminds society that against adversity and discouragement, with perseverance and persistence anyone can overcome any obstacle big or small.
The Tuskegee Airmen were dedicated, determined young men who enlisted to become America’s first black military airmen. Each one possessed a strong personal desire to serve the United States of America to the best of his ability.
After retiring from the Air Force with the rank of major, Boyd created a successful career as the director of aviation for the Kansas Department of Transportation and held other executive titles in several Kansas corporations before becoming a motivational speaker in 2001.
After having been an active participant in the CAP on a national scale, and for his home state of Kansas, Boyd says the cadets of Sheldon ISD are the finest set of students with whom he has ever had the pleasure of speaking.
“The CAP program here is one of the best in the country,” Boyd said. “I see leadership at its best here. All the students here are on the right track to becoming good citizens. It’s an honor to come here and share history with the students the way I know it and love it.”
Tuskegee Army Air Field continued to train new airmen until 1946, with women entering the program in several support fields.
Large numbers of black airmen elected to remain in the service but because of segregation their assignments were limited.
Lt. Dennis Schulin, CAP instructor for Null Middle School says the opportunity to have such a decorated hero in his classroom was more than just a dream come true.
“I was honored to meet and speak with Col. George M. Boyd; he showed our cadets what success through determination, ability and service looks like. Col. Boyd answered the call to fight for our nation’s freedom while fighting against the nation’s prejudices. When I thanked him for his service, he simply stated, ‘I did what I could, and that’s all I could do.’
“From training to shoot down the Luftwaffe to changing policy in Vietnam, Col. Boyd is the epitome of what a man can accomplish for himself and for his country. I am truly privileged to stand at his side as a fellow American,” Schulin said.”
To be able to meet a living member of such a important part of American military history was an honor and a privilege that many will never get. Our cadets received a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I too was glad to be there.” said CAP Instructor Capt. Ray Hicks.
During Boyd’s visit, the CAP program named its first Cadet Airman of the Year in honor of the legendary Airman and promoted its first two African-American cadet officers Tristan Edwards and Daquon Lucas.
When asked what was some of the most significant accomplishments made in and out of war, Boyd replied, “Having a great family with a loving wife and two children and returning home.”
“Col. Boyd brought not only history from the greatest generation first hand, but he took the time to talk to every individual about what is really important; being an American, a patriot, using your vote, getting an education and making a difference with your life.” said Debbie Pilcher, public information officer for SISD.
Today, the common goal of all surviving Tuskegee Airmen is to motivate and inspire young people, without regard to race or creed, to seek and achieve successful careers in all they endeavor, including the fields of aerospace and aviation.
On March 29, 2007, the Tuskegee Airmen were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their WWII combat record and fighting prejudice and discrimination.
Note: Article from the The North Channel Sentinel – Published on the Houston Community News Website here.