NOTABLE AFRICAN AMERICAN AVIATORS, ASTRONAUTS/AEROSPACE ENGINEERS  WITH A CONNECTION ALONG THEIR LIFE JOURNEY TO MARYLAND

Matice Wright

1965 Annapolis

* BA United States Naval Academy, physical sciences

* MA JHU, Business Admin

* MA Kennedy School of Government

* 1989 became the Navy's first African-American female flight officer

* active duty for eight years.

* worked to manage Sikorsky Aircraft international military helicopter programs.

* principal director for industrial policy at the United States Department of Defense.

* 2016,appointed her to the United States Naval Academy Board of Visitors[6] where she currently serves.  

* vice president at ManTech International.

Jeanette Jo Epps

1970 NY

* aerospace engineer

* CIA for 7 yrs. Before NASA

* NASA astronaut.- extensive Russian, spacewalk (EVA) and robotics training,  

 along with geology, T-38 jet training

* M. S./ Ph.D in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland,

* 20th  class of NASA astronauts in 2009/2011

* member of the ISS Operations Branch and has completed analog astronaut missions,  

including NEEMO 18

* CAVES 19. second woman and first African-American woman to have participated in CAVES

CAVES, an acronym for Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising human behaviour and performance Skills, is  a European Space Agency astronaut training course in which international astronauts train in a space analogue cave environment.[1] The course is designed at the European Astronaut Center to prepare astronauts for safe  and efficient long duration spaceflight operations by means of a realistic scientific and exploration mission within a  multicultural, ISS-representative team.

* CAPCOM for Mission Control, including serving as lead CAPCOM

* 2014 - Recipient of the Glenn L. Martin Medal from the A. James Clark School of Engineering,  University of Maryland.

* assigned to NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 mission, first reuse of a Starliner spacecraft, C. A2/2021

Yvonne Y. Clark 

1929-2019

* a pioneer for African-American and women engineers

* first woman to get a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering

at Howard University

* Westinghouse Defense and Space Center (now Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems) -

did  further research that discovered methods for revitalizing and modernizing part of the inner city

Aprille J. Ericsson-Jackson

1963

* aerospace engineer

* first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in mechanical  

engineering from Howard University

* first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in Engineering at the National  

Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center

* childhood in Cambridge, Maryland

* Aerospace Engineer position at the NASA Goddard Flight Center in Maryland.  

Projects  

- satellites that monitor the Earth

- the Tropical Rain Measuring Mission, provides data on the  

atmospheric phenomena El Niño and La Niña and their effects on crop productivity.

Ericsson-Jackson has worked in various groups within NASA, including the Robotics group and the Guidance  Navigation & Control Discipline. Her work in the latter helps spacecraft stabilize and manage their orientation and  position during missions. She has also worked on missions that send spacecraft to other bodies within the solar  system; she supported development on instrumentation for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which was launched in  2009.

Robert Lee Curbeam, Jr

1962

* graduated from Woodlawn High School, Baltimore County, Maryland in 1980 

* B S Aerospace Engineering from the United States Naval Academy in 1984

* MS Aeronautical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1990

* MA Astronautical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1991

* captain in the United States Navy.[1]

* 1991 United States Naval Test Pilot School

* 1994 NASA 

STS-85 in 1997

STS-98 in 2001 with fellow Marylander Tom Jones… continued the task of building 

and enhancing the International Space Station by delivering the U.S. laboratory 

module Destiny. The Shuttle spent seven days docked to the station while Destiny 

was attached. In helping to complete its assembly Curbeam logged over 

19 EVA hours in 3 space walks. The crew also relocated a docking port, and 

delivered supplies and equipment to the resident Expedition 1 crew. Mission duration was 12 days, 21 hours, 20 minutes  - STS-116 in 2006 record for most spacewalks (four) on a single spaceflight.

- logged over 901 hours in space, including over 45 hours during three spacewalks

* spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM)

* 2018 Northrop Grumman Innovative Systems as the Vice President of Business Development for the Tactical Space  Systems Division

Charles Bolden

, 1946

* NASA administrator, first African American to head the agency on a permanent basis

* ret. astronaut - four Space Shuttle missions

 - logged over 680 hours in space

 - pilot on STS-61-C (January 12–18, 1986) and STS-31 (April 24–29, 1990)

- mission commander on STS-45 (March 24 – April 2, 1992), 

 and STS-60 (February 3–11, 1994) 

- first person to ride the Launch Complex 39 slidewire baskets which enable 

 rapid escape from a Space Shuttle on the launch pad. The need for a human 

 test was determined following a launch abort on STS- 41-D where 

 controllers were afraid to order the crew to use the untested escape system.

* 1968 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, BS Electrical Science

* Marine aviator and test pilot

* flew more than 100 sorties into North and South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia in the A-6A  Intruder

* 1979, graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland and was assigned to   the Naval Air Test Center's Systems Engineering and Strike Aircraft Test Directorates

* August 28, 2012, first human being to have his voice broadcast on the surface of Mars. Although the rover has no  speakers, it received the transmission of his voice and then beamed it back to Earth.

Captain Marlon Green

Captain Marlon Green was an African American pilot and member of the United  

States Air Force where he flew the B-26 and SA-16 Albatross. He applied to  

numerous airlines and was rejected, but earned his 1st interview after leaving the  

“race” box unchecked. Captain Merlon Green won the landmark Supreme Court Case:

 "Colorado Anti-Discrimination Commission v. Continental Airlines” and was hired by  

Continental Airlines in 1965, became a captain in 1966, and flew for the airline until  

he retired 14 years later.

Susan Taylor King was born in Kilmarknock, Virginia into a family of six children

. Her father  earned a dollar a day as a seasonal worker, mainly fishing or working in

the fields, and during the  depression decided to move his family to Baltimore, Maryland

where he hoped to get higher  paying work. After graduating High School, Susan trained

for work as a riveter at The Defense  Training School in the old Chevrolet factory, and in

1942 got a job working at the Eastern Aircraft  Company. After the war, Susan used her

defense earnings to pay her way through Hampton 

College. After graduating, marrying her Biology Professor at Hampton, and having two

children,  she decided to go back to school and study education.

Irene Amos Morgan (April 9, 1917 – August 10, 2007), later known as Irene  

Morgan Kirkaldy, was an African-American woman from Baltimore, Maryland,  

who was arrested in Middlesex County, Virginia, in 1944 under a state law  

imposing racial segregation in public facilities and transportation. She was  

traveling on an interstate bus that operated under federal law and regulations. She  

refused to give up her seat in what the driver said was the "white section". At the  

time she worked for a defense contractor on the production line for B-26  

Marauders.

Morgan consulted with attorneys to appeal her conviction and the NAACP Legal  

Defense Fund took up her case. She was represented by William H. Hastie, the  

former governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands and later a judge on the U.S. Court of  

Appeals for the Third Circuit, and Thurgood Marshall, legal counsel of the NAACP,  

her case, Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 328 U.S. 373 (1946), was  

appealed to the United States Supreme Court. In 1946 in a landmark decision, the  

Court ruled that the Virginia law was unconstitutional, as the Commerce clause  

protected interstate traffic. But neither Virginia nor other states observed the ruling

and it was not enforced for  decades.

Col. Charles E. McGee (Brig Gen) Tuskegee Airman

1919 -

* Earned wings in 1943

* Bethesda Tuskegee Airman

* 136 combat missions for the 332nd

* 409 missions flying in three wars: WWII, Korea Viet Nam

* Red Tailed Angel flying P51 Mustang, escorting bombers

* Retired as a Colonel

Herbert H. Jones Jr

* served as an Army Air Corps aviation cadet  

* Tuskegee Airman during World War II. After the war

* Civil Air Patrol member, achieved Lt Col rank

* Worked with John Green at Columbia Air Center

* corporate pilot  

* operated flying schools at both Hyde Field and Potomac Airpark in Clinton, Maryland

* o-owned Columbia Air Center after Green’s retirement.

* with wife, founded Cloud Club II, a Prince Georges County based aviation club dedicated

to  fostering interest in aviation and flight training with a focus on the minority community

in the  Fort Washington area. As a devoted member of the community, Mr. Jones has worked

to make  the dream of aviation a reality for over 150 students. The “Cloud Club II” has conducted

flight  training for Morgan State University, The Tuskegee Airmen “Youth In Aviation” program, and 

orientation flights for the National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees.

Charles Dorkins

45-A-TE 3/11/1945 2nd Lt. 0841269 Baltimore MD

1922 Baltimore – 2018

He graduated from Tuskegee Army Air Field on March 11, 1945 part of class TE-45-A, 

trained to fly twin engine B-25 bombers as part of the 477th Bombardment Group. The 

bomber pilots and crew would never deploy as the War ended in the Pacific before they 

were sent overseas.

During training, Dorkins was part of group of officers that was arrested for trying to gain 

entrance into a military officers club at Freeman Army Airfield in Indiana. The event 

would become known as the Freeman Field Mutiny, a non-violent act of protest that went 

on to become a treasured and landmark point in the burgeoning civil rights movement.

There had been issues with officers’ clubs in the past, but at Freeman Field the black 

officers took a stand, and ended up in the history books. Over the course of several days 

in April 1945, black officers, in small groups, tried to enter the white-only officers club, 

each time met with greater resistance. Eventually, 120 black officers who had tried to 

gain entrance were arrested. All would be released later that month, but it would be decades before they were fully  exonerated for their protest. He moved to Manhattan after his WWII service as a 2nd Lieutenant and a B-25 pilot.

William Augustus Colbert Jr.

44-K-SE 2/1/1945 Flt. Officer T68701 Cumberland MD

After graduating from Wiley H. Bates High School, he worked at the Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard in Baltimore before  joining the Civilian Conservation Corps, where he was stationed at the Green Ridge Camp in Allegany County in Western  Maryland.

He was working at a Baltimore shipyard when he enlisted in 1943 in the Army 

Air Forces and was sent to Tuskegee Army Airfield, which is today Sharpe 

Airfield, six miles northwest of Tuskegee, Ala. There he learned to fly and 

attained the rank of flight officer.

Mr. Colbert earned his wings Feb. 1, 1945, and although he was alerted twice 

for overseas duty, the war ended before his deployment. Mr. Colbert said the 

flight instructors who had been combat seasoned overseas "were tough." After 

a black instructor posing as an enemy pilot defeated him during a training 

mission, Mr. Colbert recalled, he was told by his instructor that "I was flying with 

my head up my butt."

Discharged in 1945, Mr. Colbert and his wife, the former Vivian "Bibby" Lee, 

whom he married in 1941, lived briefly in Baltimore before returning to 

Cumberland. "He never flew again and settled into the life of a family man," said 

Anna "Jeanne" Hudson Colbert, his daughter-in-law who lives in Cumberland.

"We used to say, 'Pap Pap, can you still fly a plane?' and he'd say, 'Well, they've 

changed so much,'" said a granddaughter, Clayonia Colbert-Dorsey of 

Gaithersburg. "He always thought home was the best place to be, but if he had to, he'd drive himself. He wasn't a train or  bus man."

She said her grandfather would only talk about his Tuskegee days if asked.

"The most striking thing about him was that he was very humble and didn't really feel the full measure of what he had  done. He just did what he thought needed to be done at the time," said Ms. Colbert-Dorsey.

Mr. Colbert began working in 1946 at the old Kelly-Springfield Tire Co. in Cumberland as a tiremaker. He retired in 1979.

Bonnie Bianchi

  • Born 1938 in North Carolina

  • Washington, D.C. Dunbar High School

  • Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering

  • Scientific writer for the Nuclear Division of the Martin Marietta Corp. in Baltimore

Contact us:

GLMMAM

P.O. Box 5024

Middle River, MD 21220-0024

410-682-6122

martinmuseum@gmail.com

Visit us:

Martin State Airport

701 Wilson Pt. Road, Suite 531

Middle River,  MD 21220

OPEN - Saturday, 11 AM to 3 PM or by appointment

Closed on Major Holidays

© 2020 by Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum

©Do not copy without permission