Lee Archer (pilot)

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Lee A. Archer Jr.
Lee Archer during World War II
Born(1919-09-06)September 6, 1919
Yonkers, New York
DiedJanuary 27, 2010(2010-01-27) (aged 90)
Manhattan, New York City
Service/branchUnited States Air Force
Years of service1941-1970
RankLieutenant Colonel
Unit302nd Fighter Squadron
Tuskegee Airmen
Battles/warsWorld War II
Korean War
AwardsCongressional Gold Medal and more
Other workBusinessman

Lee Archer was an American pilot for the United States Air Force. He flew from 1941 during World War II until the year of 1970. He rose until the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Life[change | change source]

Archer was born in Yonkers, New York, on September 6, 1919.

He studied at the New York University. After his study he joined the army having the hope to become a pilot. In that era he had to discover that it was not possible for him as an African-American, due to the Jim Crow laws. As a result, he was sent of to Georgia for a communication job. After the army changed its policy, he was accepted to the trainings program for African-American on Tuskegee Army Airfield in Alabama.

During World War II Archer flew on 169 combat missions for the 302nd Fighter Squadron above Europe, and brought down several hostile planes. During a mission in August 1944 he destroyed six German planes on the ground. On October 12, 1944, he 'landed' in a series of air combats above Hungary, which was occupied territory then by Nazi Germany. Flying a P-51 Mustang he brought down three German fighters.

When he came back in 1945 he discovered that nothing had changed in the American society. When he stepped out of his plane, the first sign he saw demanded ′Colored Troops to the Right, White Troops to the Left′. Archer stayed in the army until 1970. At that moment he was a Lieutenant Colonel.

Archer at an elder age

He continued his career in civil society at General Foods in White Plains, New York, where he was one of the first African-American vice presidents of an American corporation. In 1987 he founded his own company in venture capital, called Archer Asset Management.

Archer died on January 27, 2010, in New York City. Television personality Bill Cosby held a speech for him at his funeral ceremony on February 4.

Honor[change | change source]

Archer was named Honorary Honoree of the American Fighter Aces Association. He received several military awards, like the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, and a Presidential Unit Citation.

Furthermore, he was mentioned as an exemplary air force fighter at the presentation of the Freedom Medal as well as in the category of Freedom from fear of the Four Freedoms Awards. Furthermore, he and his fellow Tuskegee pilots were honored with a Congressional Gold Medal in 2007.