Mr. George Watson Sr. a Tuskegee Airman
Mr. George Watson Sr.: Legendary Tuskegee Airman.
On September 21, 2013, the Tuskegee Airmen Motorcycle Club honored an original Tuskegee Airmen, Mr. George Watson Sr. This event was held at the VFW post in Asbury Park NJ. The members of the Tuskegee Airmen Motorcycle Club are Mr. Harry Bray, President, Mr. Lee Williams, Vice President, Mr. Jimmy Hoffman, Chaplin, Mr. Gilbert Davis, Sergeant at Arms, Ms. Kim Montgomery, Business Manager, Mrs. Felicia Ford, Secretary, Mr. Lloyd Pearson, Road Captain, Mrs. Susan Hoffman, Business Associate, and Mr. Willie Gil, Member. Also in attendance at this event was Vietnam Veteran George Reed.
Mr. George Watson’s life is enriched with history. The following information is taken out of the Tuskegee Airmen Motorcycle Club’s program which talks about Mr. Watson’s life.
George Watson Sr. was born in Wildwood, NJ. He attended schools in the cities of Neptune, Asbury Park and Lakewood NJ. He graduated from Lakewood High School in 1941.
On February 25, 1942 – Mr. Watson volunteered for the United States Army. Following a short stay at Fort Dix, NJ, he was one of many whom were selected and sent to Tuskegee, Alabama for what became the ‘Tuskegee Experiment.”
Mr. Watson served in Italy during World War II with the 96th and 523rd Service Groups and 332nd Fighter Group. While in Italy, he took part in OPERATION FUEL TANKS, better known as the unauthorized procurement. He was with the 332nd Fighter Wing when segregation ended in the Air Force. He also served in many overseas assignments to include Germany, England, Turkey and Iran. In March of 1944, Mr. Watson was injured by shrapnel to his knees and ankles when the Germans dropped bombs in a raid. For fear of being transferred, he did not report his injuries. He retired after 26 years of service from McGuire Air Force Base, NJ as an aircraft and missile electrician. After his military service, he spent 15 years with New Jersey Bell Telephone Company.
Mr. Watson was the first African American to serve as recruiter for the Army and Air Force in Trenton, Lakewood and Asbury Park, NJ from 1951 through 1955.
Even after military retirement Mr. Watson continued to carry on the Tuskegee Airmen Legacy. He received many civic awards amongst those was the National Tuskegee Airmen Lifetime Award. He wrote a few small books and provided excerpts for other books and he also contributed to the making of the Red Tails Movie. He has mentored hundreds; he has given many speeches at schools, military events, honorable dinners, bases, and community events to name a few. He has received many U.S. Military awards – which finally included the highly distinguished ‘Purple Heart’ on May 10, 2010 for his injuries 66 years ago.
Today, Mr. Watson is enjoying life at 92 years old and receiving continued blessings from his contribution to history and his contributions to all of us present.
In additional events, Asbury Park Middle School Student Xavier Berardesco along with his teachers Mr. Mason, teacher of 7th grade science, and Mr. Wronko, teacher of 7th grade Social Studies, presented Mr. Watson with Xavier’s drawing of a Tuskegee Airplane. Mr. Watson was pleased with Xavier’s drawing and told him to keep up with the good work.
In closing, besides meeting the Tuskegee Airmen Mr. George Watson Sr., Brian Boyce, known as Major B., gave Xavier a tour of the World War II museum at the VFW post. The museum consists of numerous dioramas of WWII battles, pictures, books etc. Major Boyce wants Xavier to come back and use his art skills to draw some of the machines that were used during WWII. Xavier agreed.