A legendary Tuskegee Airman has earned his angel wings.
Lieutenant Colonel Floyd Carter, a highly decorated veteran of three wars and 27-year NYPD veteran, passed away on Thursday, March 8 at 95-years-old.
For over 31 years, the Yorktown, VA native served his country in active and reserve roles before settling down in the northwest Bronx in 1956 where he resided with his grandson Jonathan Carter.
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, AL 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, Carter joined the newly formed United States Air Force and in the following year, he led the first squadron of cargo planes into West Berlin transporting food and medicine for the Berlin Airlift.
At the height of the Cold War, Carter 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.
He kept his men calm under pressure and his squadron successfully reached their destination without any casualties.
While serving in the USAF Reserves, Carter aided in the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War in which he transported troops and supplies during the Tet Offensive from Thailand and Japan.
He was also placed into active/standby duty for the Santo Domingo Uprising and Cuban Missile Crisis.
In 1971, Carter became 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, Carter served for 27 years as a NYPD Detective 2nd Grade before retiring in 1980.
He earned many commendations 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 former Congressman Charles Rangel for his remarkable achievements in 2005.
On March 29, 2007, Carter was among over 300 of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen collectively awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award, by former president George W. Bush.
The approximately 16,000 to 19,000 Tuskegee Experience participants, living and deceased, were collectively awarded the CGM during this one-time ceremony held inside of the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
He served as the grand marshal for the 31st annual Bronx Veterans’ Day Parade in Throggs Neck on November 8, 2015.
Carter told the Bronx Times in 2015 he kept hopeful despite experiencing setbacks and discrimination by knowing that “all things are possible with God” and “to receive His blessing, you must do the right thing and be patient.”
He is survived by his wife of over 70 years Atherine; their children Floyd, Jr. and Rozalind and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Carter’s funeral is scheduled for Wednesday, March 21 at Greater Refuge Temple Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ on 2081 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard in Harlem.
Viewing will be held at 10 a.m. with services to follow from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“I extend my heartfelt condolences to the friends and family of Floyd Carter, Sr., one of the last of the Tuskegee Airmen and veteran of the NYPD,” stated Congressman Adriano Espaillat. “Mr. Carter dedicated his remarkable life to serving his country and his city and we are grateful.”
Last year, Espaillat sponsored a bill to rename the U.S. Post Office at 99 Macombs Place in the airmen’s honor.
No specific date has yet been established for the renaming ceremony.