Lawrence E. Roberts

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Lawrence E. Roberts
LawrenceRoberts.jpg
Colonel Lawrence E. Roberts
Birth name Lawrence Edward Roberts
Born (1922-12-09)December 9, 1922
Vauxhall, New Jersey
Died October 12, 2004(2004-10-12) (aged 81)
Mississippi
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army Air Forces
United States Air Force
Years of service 1943–1975
Rank Colonel
Unit 477th Medium Bombardment Group
332d Fighter Wing
Battles/wars World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War

Lawrence Edward Roberts, Sr. (December 9, 1922 – October 12, 2004) was a pilot with the Tuskegee Airmen and a colonel in the United States Air Force,[1] with 32 years of total military service.[2] He was the father of newscaster Robin René Roberts.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Roberts was born on December 9, 1922 in Vauxhall, New Jersey.[2] He was married to Lucimarian Tolliver for 57 years. They had four children: Dorothy Roberts McEwen, Lawrence E. Roberts, Jr., Sally-Ann Roberts Craft Nabonne, and Robin René Roberts.[3] He taught his children to live their lives without limitations.[4] Roberts was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.[5]

Roberts attended Howard University, received his bachelor's from Morningside College, and received his master's degree from the Tuskegee Institute.[6]

Military service[edit]

Roberts entered the United States Army Air Corps at Keesler Air Force Base in 1943. He was assigned to the Tuskegee Airmen program in 1944. Roberts flew Piper Cubs, North American B-25 Mitchell bombers, Douglas C-54 Skymaster transports and North American F-86 Sabre and fighter jets.[2] Roberts also served as an instructor in Tuskegee University's Air Force ROTC program from 1958 to 1960.[3]

He served in the Vietnam War and received 18 service medals and awards.[2]

Later life[edit]

He was one of the founders of the Keesler Air Force Base Gospel service ,the oldest gospel service in the United States Air Force. The only Mississippi chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen Club was named in his honor.[7] On October 12, 2004, Roberts died at his home in Biloxi, Mississippi, at the age of 81 of a heart attack.[2] He was buried with full military honors.[8] Services were held at the Triangle Chapel at Keesler Air Force Base near Biloxi and he was buried at Biloxi National Cemetery.[5]

Since his death, Roberts posthumously received awards throughout the country. In 2004, shortly after he died, the Mississippi Legislature drafted a resolution honoring his life and on March 29, 2007,[6] he posthumously received the Congressional Gold Medal.[4][9] President George W. Bush honored Roberts with the Congressional Gold Medal for bravery, patriotism and helping persuade President Harry S. Truman to desegregate armed forces.[2] In March 2009, a sculpture by Marlin Miller was dedicated in Warr Memorial Park in Pass Christian, Mississippi.[10] On September 10, 2009, a new consolidated aircraft maintenance facility for the 403rd Wing at Keesler AFB was dedicated and named in Roberts's honor.[11][12]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "List of Pilot Graduates". Tuskegee University. Retrieved 2010-08-30. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Colonel (Retired) Lawrence E Roberts". Keesler Air Force Base. Retrieved 2010-08-30. 
  3. ^ a b c "Good Morning America’s Roberts Flies in Honor of Her Tuskegee Airman Father". Tuskegee University. November 18, 2003. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  4. ^ a b Roberts, Kimberly C. (2007). "ABC's Robin Roberts Recalls The Relationship That Shaped Her Life" (PDF). The Philadelphia Tribune. Retrieved 2010-08-31. 
  5. ^ a b Hines, Jane (December 2004). "Col. Lawrence E. Roberts Was a Hero and a Gentleman". Presbyterian Voice (Synod of Living Waters) 15 (6). 
  6. ^ a b "Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 503" (PDF). Mississippi Legislature. 2004. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  7. ^ "Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. Chapters" (PDF). Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  8. ^ Martin, Jamie (October 20, 2004). "Tuskegee airman Lawrence E. Roberts, Oct. 12". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  9. ^ Edney, Hazel Trice. "Tuskegee Airmen Get Late Justice". Call & Post. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  10. ^ "Sculptor honors Tuskegee Airman". WLOX. March 28, 2009. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  11. ^ Hicks, Jonathan (September 10, 2009). "Aircraft maintenance facility dedicated to Tuskegee Airman". 81st Training Wing Public Affairs, United States Air Force. Archived from the original on 2012-12-12. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  12. ^ "Media Advisory: Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Facility Dedication Ceremony Honoring Col. (Ret.) Lawrence E. Roberts". Keesler Air Force Base. August 26, 2009. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 

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