Original Tuskegee Airman returns to where his career began

  • Published
  • By Capt. Matthew Chism
  • USAF Expeditionary Center Public Affairs
Retired Tech. Sgt. George Watson Sr., an original Tuskegee Airman, was the guest speaker at the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center's Annual Awards ceremony at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Wednesday.

"Legacy through Education" was the theme for the ceremony and Watson anchored the event by explaining where his own legacy began.

Born in Wildwood, New Jersey, he began his military career in 1942, when he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps at Fort Dix, which is now a part of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

"My mother was scrubbing floors to make a living," Watson said. "I volunteered to go into the service because my mother thought it was a way for me to make a better life for myself."

He went on to work with the 366th Air Service Squadron as a unit supervisor during his time with the Tuskegee Airmen. During World War II his unit was responsible for providing field services, which included delivering crucial aircraft parts, for the 332d Fighter Group's Squadrons, also known as the "Red Tails."

"Nothing could have happened in the air if not for those working behind the scenes supporting the fight," said Maj. Gen. Rick Martin, USAF EC commander. "People like Mr. Watson paved the way for our service. We are a stronger Air Force, a stronger nation because of the sacrifice of men and women like you."

Watson, who is a Purple Heart recipient, said perseverance, determination, and a personal sense of dedication to the task at hand were the foundation for his success in the military.

"I worked in Supply; it was my job and it had to be done," Watson said. "I wouldn't go to sleep at night until I knew we were ready for the next day's mission." 

Watson served in the military for 26 years, in both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force, before he retired in 1969.

The USAF EC is the Air Force's Center of Excellence for expeditionary skills and advanced mobility training and education. The USAF EC is also responsible for delivering installation support, executing Air Mobility Command's global en route mission and enabling contingency response forces.