This is Alpha Chapter #26 - 3/25/16

Profiles of who we are:

Our Tuskegee Airman
Bro. Colonel Lawrence E. Roberts, Alpha 1943

Since World War I, the Brothers of Omega Psi Phi have demonstrated its first cardinal principle, Manhood, in the defense and protection of our freedom from enemies both domestic and abroad.  Bro. Lawrence Edward Roberts is that shining example.

Born and raised near Orange, NJ in 1922, Bro. Roberts entered Howard University in the Fall of 1941.  He was initiated into Omega through Alpha Chapter on April 26, 1943.  As with many men of the time, Bro. Roberts entered into the Army as a private in late 1943.  In 1944, he was assigned to the prestigious Tuskegee Airmen pilot training program where he was a graduate of the 44K class.  After graduation, he was assigned to the 477th Medium Bombardment Group and later the 332nd fighter wing rising to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant during WWII. 

After the war, he completed his degree at Morningside College in Iowa and later received his Master’s from Tuskegee Institute.  His service to our country continued as Bro. Roberts was stationed in many assignments including stations in the United States, Japan, Canada and Vietnam. He was a jet fighter pilot and flight instructor at the fighter school at Williams Air Force Base and flew Piper Cubs, Boeing B-25 Bombers, C-54 transports and F-86 fighter jets.  Bro. Roberts was the Officer Training at Keesler Air Force Base and Commander of a NATO communication organization and Advisor to the Vietnamese Air Force.  For his service in Vietnam, he was awarded the Republic of Vietnam Air Force Distinguished Service Order Second Class award.  In total, Bro. Roberts was honored with a total of 18 service medals and awards. 

During his esteemed career, Bro. Roberts achieved the rank of Colonel and, in 1975, retired after 32 years of service to our country.  In retirement, he called the Mississippi Gulf Coast his home and was active with Iota Upsilon Chapter in Gulfport, MS.  His impact was so great that the lone Tuskegee Airmen Chapter in Mississippi is named after him.

Bro. Roberts was married to the former Lucimarian Tolliver for 57 years.  To this union was born four children, one of which is Robin Roberts, former newscaster of ESPN’s SportsCenter and current anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America.

Bro. Roberts passed away on October 12, 2004 at the age of 81.  Posthumously, on March 29, 2007, he received the highest civilian award bestowed by the federal legislature, the Congressional Gold Medal.  President George W. Bush honored Bro. Roberts and other Tuskegee Airmen with the Congressional Gold Medal for their bravery, patriotism and the flying skills that helped persuade President Truman to desegregate the armed forces.

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