Everyone in our area should learn about Tuskegee Airmen

Every once in a while as township historian I get a tip on some interesting sidebar story about something local they'd like to see researched. After writing a retrospective about the Somerset Hills Airport in Basking Ridge a sidebar story appeared about an extraordinary pilot and instructor named Robert "Bob" Terry that learned to fly at the airport. He became the chief instructor and was recruited during WW2 to go teach black pilots how to fly and become fighter pilots. They became known as the Tuskegee airmen.

While the injustices of racial injustice continued in the US, these pilots showed exemplarily gratitude and courage defending the principles of our nation. Robert Terry and his wife Estelle, who packed parachutes for pilots in Tuskegee was also a long-standing nurse at the local VA medical hospital for years. After the war the Terry family lived a quiet life just across the street from the airport on Lord Stirling Road.

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I urge everyone to read this story as well as the films that have surfaced about these incredible men and their pure American heroism. Their fight for inclusion showed inspiration, patriotism, and sacrifice that brought a tear to my eye.

I am still trying to locate his son  Dr.Qaaim Saalik. Please let me know if anyone has information on the family to expand the story.



Brooks Betz, Bernards Township Historian