Fitzroy Newsum

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Fitzroy "Buck" Newsum (May 22, 1918 – January 5, 2013) was an American Retired Colonel, military pilot who was one of the original members of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II.[1][2][3] He reached the rank of colonel before retiring in 1970.[1]

"Buck" Newsum was born on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City, on May 22, 1918.[4] He was raised on the island of Trinidad (in present-day Trinidad and Tobago), where he saw his first airplane, a Curtiss Robin, land near his home in 1929 when he was 10 years old.[1][4]

He graduated from the College of Military Science at the University of Maryland.[1] He joined the New York National Guard in 1939[4] He was second lieutenant in the Anti-Aircraft Coast Artillery Corps in 1941 and was sent to Hawaii, where he commanded an anti-aircraft missile group on the islands, following the attack on Pearl Harbor.[1][4]

During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt arranged for thirty-three African American servicemen to take an entrance exam for the Army Air Corps.[1] Newsum was one of just thirteen men to pass the test.[1] After passing, he chose to attend the Tuskegee Army Air Field's flight school rather than the Officer Candidate School that the other twelve men enrolled in.[1] Newsum would pilot the P-47 Thunderbolt warplane during the war.[1]

He later obtained a master's degree in public administration from the University of Oklahoma.[1] He reached the rank of colonel before retiring in 1970.[1] Newsum worked as a public relations manager at Martin Marietta in Denver, Colorado, after leaving the military.[4]

Newsum was one of the surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen who received a Congressional Gold Medal from President George W. Bush in 2007.[1] he had previously been inducted into the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame in 1991.[4]

Newsum died in Denver, Colorado, on January 5, 2013, at the age of 95.[1] He was buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery with full military honors.[1] Newsum was survived by his wife of sixty-six years, Joan Carney Newsum, four children and four grandchildren.[2] U.S. Senator Mark Udall also paid tribute to Newsum following his death, noting that he proudly served as the U.S. military despite the segregation of the era.[2]

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