Legendary Tuskegee Airman promoted to grand marshal

Living legend, Lieutenant Colonel Floyd Carter (c) attended last Friday’s Bronx Veterans Day Parade in Throggs Neck press conference with family and friends.
Community News Group / Robert Wirsing

A living wartime legend will be making history at the 31st Annual Bronx Veteran’s Day Parade in Throggs Neck.

On Friday, October 23, Lieutenant Colonel Floyd Carter, a Tuskegee Airman who served in the military during WWII, Korea and Vietnam, was introduced at a press conference held at Throggs Neck Memorial American Legion Post 1456 for parade organizers to discuss Sunday, November 8’s Bronx Veterans Day Parade in Throggs Neck.

The 92-year old grand marshal received a very warm, enthusiastic welcome from members of Post 1456, Corporal Walter J. Fufidio AMVETS Post 38 and Theodore Korony American Legion Post 253 as well as from family members and friends of the highly decorated Tuskegee Airman.

For over 31 years, LTC Carter’s military career had the Yorktown, Virginia native serving his country in active and reserve roles before settling down in the northeast Bronx in 1956 where he continues to reside with his grandson, Jonathan Carter.

LTC Carter’s career began in 1944 after enlisting in the Aviation Cadet Program and graduating as a bombardier and navigator.

Upon graduation, he was transferred to Tuskegee, Alabama to enroll in the first class of African American student officer pilots completing his triple rating and earning his pilot’s wings in 1945.

In September 1947, the Tuskegee Airman became part of the newly formed United States Air Force and in the following year, LTC Carter led the first squadron of cargo planes into West Berlin transporting food and medicine for the Berlin Airlift.

According to LTC Carter and his family, the Tuskegee Airman and his squadron braved stressful conditions while navigating a narrow neutral air space as Russian Mig air craft tried to break the squadron’s composure.

LTC Carter kept his men calm under pressure and his squadron successfully reached their destination without any causalities.

LTC Carter served in the USAF Reserves and answered the call to aid in the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War in which he transported troops and supplies during the Tet Offensive and from Thailand and Japan.

LTC Carter was also placed into active/standby duty for the Santo Domingo Uprising and Cuban Missile Crisis.

In 1971, LTC Carter made history becoming the first African American officer to command a C-141 four engine, heavy lift transport squadron composed of white officers at McGuire Air Force base in New Jersey until his 1974 retirement.

In addition to his military career, LTC Carter served for 27 years as a NYPD Detective 2nd Grade before retiring in 1980 and earned many awards for his service in the armed forces including the Meritorious Service Award, Air Force Commendation Medal, the Medal for Humane Action for his involvement in the Berlin Airlift and a proclamation presented to him by Congressman Charles Rangel for his remarkable achievements in 2005.

On March 29, 2007, LTC Carter was among 200 of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, the highest civilian award, by former president George W. Bush.

Now, LTC Carter can add serving as this year’s grand marshal for the 31st Annual Bronx Veterans Day Parade in Throggs Neck to his already impressive resume.

“I feel elated being appointed as grand marshal for the Bronx Veterans Day Parade in Throggs Neck and it’s a honor because I’m representing all people just like the Tuskegee Airmen did during the war,” said LTC Carter. “It was a privilege for me to be asked by the United States Air Force to participate in these crises and was a great opportunity for me to positively represent our country and help many people in need during those difficult times.”

An autobiography book and made for television docudrama movie, both in their pre-production phases, detailing the personal testimony, history and life of LTC Carter were announced during last Friday’s press conference.

Lieutenant Colonel Floyd Carter is the proud recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, the highest civilian award, in recognition of his bravery and service as Tuskegee Airman.
Photo courtesy of Lieutenant Colonel Floyd Carter

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