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September 29, 2006

Stu’s Notes:
Amazing is all I can say about events of the last couple of days. Serving on the Veterans Day Parade Committee with Bob Hewitt gave me an amazing find. A way to reach Sam Broadnax, Oroville’s Own Tuskegee Airman of whom I wrote about February 20, and 27th of 2004. You can find these stories on our web site. Thanks to Bob, a man I thought was dead has come to life. And what an exciting life Sam has led. Bob gave me a web site of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc, William “Bill” Campbell Chapter. I called Donna Hurts, the president, left a message, she called back with in an hour and told me yes Sam was a live and well and that I should call him. I did and for an hour I talked to Sam about his life after he left Oroville and Oroville High School for an adventure that few of us get to have. As a young boy in Oroville he, like me picked crops, as I did to help our family get by. He was a member of Scout Troop 29, I was troop 33 Thermalito. Unlike me, he was outstanding in football and track. In his senior year he heard that they were recruiting for an all African American Fighter Group in our Army Air Force. The only white people would be the training officers. He caught the Oroville –Chico bus on a fall day in 1944. The bus stopped in down town Chico. End of the line, he walked all the way out to the Chico Army Air Drome, took the written test, passed it and was so excited that he failed the physical, as his blood pressure was too high. Sent home to Oroville, he went to an Oroville Doctor who said his blood pressure was fine. Sending this report and Sam back to Chico and a whole new life soon evolved. He told me what a shock this African American went through when he got to the South for training at Tuskegee, Alabama. Sure there was discrimination in Oroville at the time but nothing like the South. Sam went on to earn his wings and became Flight Officer Samuel L Broadnax, as a Famous Tuskegee Airman. They flew P-51’s in Italy and over Germany earning many medals. Although the War in Europe got over soon after Sam graduated he was going to go to fight over Japan maybe flying a P-47. When the war got over there, thanks to the Atomic Bomb, Sam found himself in a very discriminating America. There were no Aviation jobs in America for African Americans. Sam went on to Yuba College; so did I. Oroville’s Dorothy Bauer also went to Yuba College and remembers Sam. She has lost contact with him. I hope she reads this article. Sam’s Mother’s maiden name was Stewart, the same as my mother’s maiden name. We both have Scottish ancestors so maybe I’m related to a Tuskegee Airman. What more could I want. There were only 926 Tuskegee Airmen and think, out of ten’s of thousands of towns in America, Oroville should be so proud to Honor this man. He plans to come to our Veteran’s Day Parade November 11th.(for information about the Parade call Jim Hollinsworth at 533-3907) Sam is writing a book “Blue Sky’s, Black Wings”, coming out soon. Sam has two sons and a daughter in Northern California, all doing well. Sam will be in Redding this week end at the Redding Air Show with the Tuskegee Booth. I will get to meet him. Sam went on to college back east returning to the Bay Area. He went to work for KSFO Radio in San Francisco; it is now AM 560. He also has been Program Director of “The Summer Flight Academy” that teaches at risk kids discipline and gets them interested in the world of flight. The S.F.A. affiliates with the College of Alameda.

Our recent Fund Raiser Dinner, Chaired by James Townsend, put over $6,000 dollars in our bank account. We thank all the donor’s and will do so by name here soon. Thank you everyone who came and supported our event. I hope you have all seen our sign. It is finally up, thanks to my Raising Gang of 7 people; Darby Miller, Jack Brereton, J.D. Smith, Dick Ferguson, Bob Simpson, Doug Krause and Sam Bebout. Thanks also to Brad Jackson of Jackson Glass, Glen of Endeavor Homes, and Lynn and Stu for the materials.

If you missed the last fund raiser here is another chance to show your support of our project and have fun at our “Sock Hop” October 13th from 7pm until we are kicked out, and dance as you did way back when it was the Teen Center. The All Class Reunion is coming soon, October 13, 14, & 15. Over 900 replies have come in and Oroville’s Motels are booked up for the week end.