SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A local man who helped write a major chapter in American military history, Tuskegee Airman James E. Wright, died this morning at Memorial University Medical Center. He was 92.
Wright was part of a "military experiment" in Tuskegee, Alabama during World War II, to train America's first African-American military pilots. In time the "experiment" became known as the Tuskegee Experience and the participants as the Tuskegee Airmen.
James Wright was a student at Georgia State Industrial College (now Savannah State University) when he was encouraged to scrape up enough money to travel to Tuskegee, Alabama to pursue his lifelong dream of learning to fly. Despite significant financial and racial challenges, he made the trip, learned to fly and went on to become an instructor for countless other pilots at Tuskegee.
Mr. Wright encountered a new set of challenges in 2003, when a caretaker stole more than $26,000 of his life savings. Deborah Mosley was convicted and sentenced to five years probation, but made no restitution.
But after WTOC reported the story, the community, led by personnel with the Air National Guard, rallied to restore Airman Wright's savings.
Airman Wright received numerous honors over the years, including the Congressional Medal of Honor, which he received in March, 2007 along with some 300 other Tuskegee Airmen.