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Robert Searcy, member of Tuskegee Airmen and longtime L.A. resident, dies at 88

September 18, 2009 |  4:23 pm


Times staffer Molly Hennessy-Fiske's obituary on Robert Searcy, a member of the all-black group of World War II servicemen known as the Tuskegee Airmen and a longtime resident of Los Angeles, is posted. Here's an excerpt:

Searcy was born in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, in 1921, and briefly attended what is now Prairie View A&M University before enlisting in the Army Air Corps in 1942.

In an interview earlier this year, he said that after basic training at Ft. Hood, Texas, he was selected to lead a group of airmen to Tuskegee Army Airfield in Tuskegee, Ala.

Searcy described how porters on the train platform that day told him that his men would be segregated on the Pullman train car, barred from dining and sleeping quarters. Searcy objected.

"I demanded that they give us equal passage to get there, off and on, to eat and sleep with the rest of them," he said.

He said the porters, who were mostly black, eventually gave in, and he felt vindicated.

"I was put in charge of those men," he said. "I felt I had to represent what the Constitution was for those men. That's what leadership is."

Read the full obituary here.

Photo: "To me he was like history. He just had so many stories to tell," granddaughter Christy Davis, 32, said of Searcy, shown in a Dec. 30 photo. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times