Tuskegee Airman Roger Terry dies

June 14, 2009 at 6:17 PM
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LOS ANGELES, June 14 (UPI) -- Roger Terry, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen who was dishonorably discharged for trying to integrate an officers' club, has died at 87 in Los Angeles.

Fifty years after Terry was court-martialed and fined for "jostling" an officer during what was known as the Freeman Field Mutiny in Indiana, he was pardoned and restored to his former rank. President George W. Bush gave Terry and other surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen a Congressional Gold Medal two years ago.

Terry died Thursday of heart failure, the Los Angeles Times reported.

A native of Los Angeles, Terry joined the only all-black flying unit in World War II after graduating from UCLA, where he roomed with Jackie Robinson, who went on to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball.

In 1945, Terry, a second lieutenant, was stationed at Freeman Field in Indiana. Terry, Lt. Coleman Young, who became Detroit's first black mayor, and others tried to integrate the all-white officers club, which was far more luxurious than the one reserved for blacks.

Terry and two others were court-martialed.

Jeff Terry said his father regarded his court-martial and discharge as a "badge of honor."

Terry graduated from law school and worked as an investigator for Los Angeles agencies. He is survived by his wife and two sons.

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