LITTLE ROCK — U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., recognized one of the original Tuskegee Airmen in remarks entered Tuesday into the Congressional Record.

LITTLE ROCK — U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., recognized one of the original Tuskegee Airmen in remarks entered Tuesday into the Congressional Record.


Little Rock native Milton Pitts Crenchaw, one of the first black pilots to fly combat airplanes in World War II, died Nov. 17 in Georgia and was buried Tuesday at the Arkansas State Veterans Cemetery in North Little Rock.


"Mr. President, I rise today to honor Milton Pitts Crenchaw, an aviation pioneer from Little Rock, Arkansas, who paved the way for integration in the United States Military and impacted generations of aviators," Boozman said.


"Crenchaw, known as the ‘father of black aviation in Arkansas,’ developed a love of flying while at the Tuskegee Institute," he said. "He excelled in the program and after earning his pilot license, he pursued his instructors certificate. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Crenchaw joined the Army Air Corps Civilian Pilot Training Program as a flight instructor."


Boozman said that as one of the original supervising squadron commanders for the Tuskegee Airmen. Crenchaw trained hundreds of cadets during the 1940s.


"Crenchaw helped break the barriers that existed in the military," he said. "His passion for aviation continued after his tenure at Tuskegee, serving as a flight instructor at several air bases, including Camp Rucker, Alabama, where he became the first black flight instructor."


Crenchaw honorably served with the U.S. Army Air Corps and the U.S. Air Force for more than 40 years, Boozman said, adding that Crenchaw was instrumental in creating an aviation program at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, where he taught aviation from 1947 to 1953, holding classes at Adams Field in the Central Flying Service building.


Boozman noted that in 2007 Crenchaw was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal along with other members of the Tuskegee Airmen.


"He was a true American hero whose leadership helped secure victory and peace for all freedom loving people of the world," he said.