Cohen’s bill seeks to name Memphis VA after Tuskegee Airman
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee has introduced a bill to name the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Memphis after a World War II fighter pilot who was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen.
Cohen’s bill seeks to name the VA Medical Center in Memphis after Lt. Col. Luke J. Weathers Jr., Cohen’s office said Monday.
Weathers, who was Black, attended high school in Memphis and volunteered in 1942 to train at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama. He joined the Tuskegee Airmen, the U.S. Army’s first Black aviators.
Weathers began escorting bombers over Italy in 1944 with the all-Black 332nd Fighter Group, known as the “Red Tails.” He is credited with shooting down several enemy airplanes, including two German fighter planes while escorting a damaged B-24 bomber, Cohen’s office said.
Weathers received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Congressional Gold Medal and other honors. He served as an air traffic controller in Memphis and died in 2011 at 90 years old.