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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Born to fly

Tuskegee pilot gets gold medal

It’s been a while since William McDonald first flew a plane, but the experience remains fresh in his mind—even more so now that he has been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his service in World War II.

Decades after the fact, and longer than McDonald and others in his company anticipated, the 200 members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen were officially recognized with U.S. Congress’ highest civilian honor.

“It was a long time coming,” said McDonald, a member of Lutheran Church of the Abiding Savior, Durham, N.C. “Most of [the Tuskegee Airmen] are dead. It’s nice to finally receive this honor.”

McDonald, who has been fascinated by planes since childhood, applied to the U.S. Army Air Corps when he was a freshman at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, because an older student he knew was also volunteering.


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