Walter Weathersby is not a Tuskegee Airman

| September 22, 2016

Walter Weathersby

Someone sent us a link to an article which calls this fellow, Walter Weathersby a Tuskegee Airman, one of the famous folks who helped defeat the Nazis in Europe;

One Tuskegee Airman still lives in the area, but he wasn’t able to make it to the ceremony.

“Chief [Walter] Weathersby was a Tuskegee Airman,” said Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb. “And it’s nice to know we have one living among us. At the same token, Chief Weathersby was also the first African American Chief Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force.”

Another link goes further into his personal history;

Because of his aptitude, the Air Force later relented, and Weathersby was able to enter a career field — supply — and would go on to serve for 30 years in the Air Force, retiring in 1983.

It was at Lockbourne AFB in Columbus, Ohio, — the only all-African American Air Force base in the nation — where Weathersby was a cook for the Tuskegee Airmen — the 99th Pursuit Squadron and the 477th Bomb Squadron.

“They stood out because they were selected people in the 99th and we were in support organizations,” Weathersby said. “We were very proud of them — them and the 92nd Division and 93rd Division and the 467th Tank Division out of Fort Polk, La.

Weathersby said he had a desire to be a pilot and took the test to see if he would qualify and got high marks after about four years in the service, but his parents didn’t want him to become a pilot. because it was too dangerous.

While the Tuskegee Airmen history did end at Lockbourne Field in Columbus, Ohio, they were deactivated in July 1947. Chief Master Sergeant Weathersby didn’t join the Air Force until 1953, so the Tuskegee Airmen were long gone before he ever put on a uniform.

Walter Weathersby FOIA

Walter Weathersby Awards

Walter Weathersby FOIA Assignments

While the Chief Master Sergeant had a stellar career in the Air Force during a difficult period in our social history, he wasn’t a Tuskegee Airman by any stretch of the imagination. I told the author of that story linked above, Mr. Hinton, but all I heard was crickets.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (74)

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  1. sj says:

    Twofer Thursday: 2 gents that had great service but it wasn’t good enough in their own minds. Sad.

  2. Hondo says:

    I’m waiting to hear what ChipNASA and our other USAF regulars have to say about this one.

    I’m thinking it won’t be very complimentary.

    • 3E9 says:

      What a sad Dipshit. 30 years; especially during the 50’s and 60’s, made Chief which most of us never did, and then took a huge shit all over it. No longer deserves the title Chief, he is now an E-9 and a liar. FFS

  3. Ex-PH2 says:

    If he didn’t enter the Air Force until 1953, I’d guess that he wasn’t old enough to enlist during WWII. And he would have been about 10 years old when WWII was over and done with.

    So does he think no one can do simple arithmetic?

  4. Dapandico says:

    Don’t rile up the Black Lies Matter crowd. Any excuse to riot and loot.

    • USMCMSgt (Ret) says:

      (Off topic, sort of… but if you want to see something funny, go to YouTube and search for “Key and Peele Pegasus”.

      You’ll probably laugh.

    • Semper Idem says:

      About the BLM movement – lemme get this straight: When some Black gangbanger murders a little Black child, the BLM movement is every bit as silent as that little child’s grave. Yet when that same gangbanger gets into a confrontation with the police (probably to bust said gangbanger for that murder), does something stupid that forces Johnny Law to give the thug a case of lead poisoning, THEN the BLM movement is all over that like white on rice.

      Then contemplate that for every one ghetto thug blasted back to Hell by Johnny Law, two dozen Black lives – in many cases, Black children – are taken by Black thugs. We hear BLM protesting about Eric Garner, but where was that outrage for kids like Robert ‘Yummy’ Sandifer?

      Then explain to me how, exactly, BLM is anything other than anti-LEO.

      • Jonn Lilyea says:

        There are literally a million other places to discuss Charlotte and the BLM on the internet. I have not even brought the subject up for a good reason and this discussion is wholly inappropriate in this particular blog post.

  5. Skippy says:

    It’s old school poser day here at TAH..
    Holy Crapola this guy has a service record that I would envy and 90 percent of all service members..
    WTF ! ! ! !

  6. The Air Force and the Navy confuse me, because what they do is different from the Army.

    Does service in Thailand count as service in Viet Nam?

    Maybe he flew missions over Viet Nam?

    Also, I’m confused by the Air Force and Navy custom of wearing unit awards with individual awards, so that it’s difficult to see what he really earned.

    • MSGT_RET says:

      Actually every branch except the Army wears unit awards with individual awards. Me thinks the Army is confused. 🙂

    • MSGT_RET says:

      To answer your question though, in the USAF flight crews flying missions conducted in Vietnamese airspace received credit for the Vietnam Service Medal.

    • Keepin' It Real says:

      When an Air Force serviceman (or woman) had to do a tour of duty in Vietnam, many times they went to Thailand. For instance Nakhon Phanom had a US Air Base there. There was much fighting there.

      I don’t know how the semantics played out, but it was considered their 13 month tour of duty in support of the Vietnam War.

      I suspect as well they would be considered a Vietnam veteran vs. a Vietnam-era veteran.

      • Hondo says:

        Of the approximately 3.1 million who were awarded the VSM, only approximately 2.5+ million ever actually set foot in the RVN. The rest served offshore or supported operations from locations outside the RVN.

        I believe I’ve heard or read that a number of personnel – and perhaps some units – based at Clark AB also were deemed to have served “ISO Vietnam” and were awarded the VSM. I could be wrong about the latter.

    • 19D2OR4-Smitty says:

      The Army is the only branch where we wear both unit awards we have earned, and all those the unit has worn in the past.

      Every other branch only wears the ones they have earned. So they make sense to put them on their normal rack.

      • AnotherPat says:

        I thought that when one is on Active Duty in the U.S. Army, you only wear the “past” Unit Award when you are assigned to that unit and when you PCSed, you are no longer authorized to wear that particular unit award?

        I know when you are with a unit and that unit earns an award during that time period you were assigned to it, one is authorized to wear it permanently on their uniform.

        Am I wrong about the “past” unit awards?

        • MSGT_RET says:

          No, you are correct. The Army is unique in that it allows personnel assigned to a unit that was previously presented unit awards to wear those awards while actually assigned to that unit. When the soldier leaves the unit those unit awards come off and go into the shadowbox. If the soldier was assigned to a unit when it received a unit award, that unit award may be permanently worn.

          • AnotherPat says:

            Thank you, MSGT_RET (Top) for the feedback/info. Thought that was the ROE for wearing unit awards on one’s uniform after they leave the Army, but wanted to double check.?

            • 19D2OR4 - Smitty says:

              In addition to that, you are allowed to wear your last assigned units, unit awards (all of them) when you ETS/Retire.

              I don’t know of too many people that would wear anything they personnaly weren’t there for, but it is authorized.

    • 1610desig says:

      If he was in Thailand, would suspect he only flew short time missions over Soi cowboy Sally and Patpong Patty…

  7. Tony180a says:

    Shame on you. Lying piece of shit has rocked that lie for years.

  8. Hondo says:

    For those unaware (and I had to look it up): Lockbourne AFB was the original name of what is today Rickenbacker ANGB. It was Lockbourne AAF during World War II, and became Lockbourne AFB when it was transferred to the then-new USAF in 1948. It was renamed Rickenbacker AFB in 1974, and was transferred to the ANG in 1980.

  9. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Here I go again, first with the other oldster on today’s menu and now this one. I read the articles and attribute 99% of it other than to Weathersby. He says he was a cook, a COOK. The association between the postwar unit that had formerly been one of the Tuskegee Airmen’s units and their postwar integrated units may explain the Tuskegee association. I just don’t see that this fellow claimed anywhere to have been a Tuskegee Airman, but I do see where two others, a reporter and the chief of police made that jump to a false conclusion. I’m not from MO but I would ask someone to please show me where HE SAID he was a Tuskegee Airman.

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      My request goes to the comments crucifying this man, not to the thread. The fact is that we have seen many instances in which reporters play fast and loose with stuff to dress-up their stories and, to me, this looks to be another. That said, setting the record straight is in order, including that all but a few people will scrutinize this stories. For instance, most see Weathersby holding a framed and ragged certificate, read a comment about an Air Medal, and think they are one and the same when they most certainly are not.

    • Keepin' It Real says:

      This is my best guess as to what happened:

      He was a cook at the air base that was the historical home of the Tuskegee Airmen. If you say that often enough, people tend to lock on the Tuskegee Airman part and they hear that he was a cook for the Tuskegee Airman and then make the jump that if he was in a support role then he was still considered a Tuskegee Airman.

      The snowball got bigger and bigger and maybe he got tired of correcting folks. Or maybe it sounded good to him after a while and his confidence grew that it was a fact.

      Then, the internets came along… right after Al Gore invented them.

  10. Graybeard says:

    OK – did he claim to be a Tuskegee Airman proper or just support for the 99th Pursuit Squadron and the 477th Bomb Squadron?

    What I’m wondering is if he was being honest and it was misinterpreted by others.

    I’m not up on my history: did the unit designations continue on after the Tuskegee Airmen – as a black-only Air Corps unit – were disbanded?

    • Hondo says:

      Wikipedia says that the 99th was disbanded in 1949, and not reactivated until 1988. It wasn’t an active USAF unit while this guy served between 1953 and 1983.

      Wikipedia also says that the 477th Fighter Group (initially the 477th Bombardment Squadron) was deactivated even earlier – in July 1947. It was not reactivated until July 1985 – and even then, it was inactive. It did not return to the active USAF until January 2005.

      I don’t see how someone who served on active duty between 1953 and 1983 could have served with either of those units.

      Different subject: left a comment in my latest Social Security article you might want to read, Graybeard. Might be pertinent to your situation vis-a-vis Social Security.

      • Graybeard says:

        Thanks, Hondo.
        I don’t get to fact check as thoroughly while I’m at work, and wasn’t sure.
        And I’ll check out the SS comment. I’ll take all the help I can get!

  11. 3E9 says:

    Why the hell is he wearing aircrew wings? I don’t see anything in the heavily redacted pages showing him attending any type of school that would have placed him in an aircrew position.

  12. Sparks says:

    WCIA News…RIGHT NOW! We’re not very correct but we’re…RIGHT NOW! We can’t do research or bone head math but we’re…RIGHT NOW!

  13. Sparks says:

    The other issue is that if he his named was used in the ceremony in his small community I feel sure he knew about it or heard about it. If it is false he should have made it clear that they were tying two different things together. If he knew about it and didn’t and hasn’t, then he is going along with it. But i do not know for sure so I will reserve final judgement.

    • sj says:

      Yep Sparks. A family member told a younger family member that I had been a bad ass Rambo in VN. Don’t know where she got that because I never implied such. I shut that down real quick (maybe for fear that Jonn would find it and post my mug here :-))

  14. Sparks says:

    Also this little detail they got wrong.

    “Chief Master Sgt. Thomas N. Barnes, appointed to the position of Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force in 1973, was the first and, to-date, only African-American to serve in the highest enlisted position within the U.S. Air Force.”

    Since CMS Barnes was appointed CMS of the Air Force in 1973, I doubt Weathersby was the first CMS IN the Air Force if he retired in 1983.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Sparks, it’s reporters from Champaign, Illinois. If you tell them the sky is blue, they think it’s going to rain.

    • GR_ATC says:

      CMSgt Barnes was appointed CMSAF

      fixed it for ya.

    • Nonner says:

      Beat me to it Sparks; this guy probably could’ve stuck with the Tuskegee Airman lie and gotten away with it for awhile but first African-American CMSAF (or any CMSAF for that matter)!? Talk about extremely easy to disprove. What a sack of shit.

      • Bill R. says:

        The article quoted above does not state that he was the first black CMSAF. It states he was the first black CMSgt in the Air Force. Don’t know if that’s true either.

        • Devtun says:

          I say no. The E-8 & E-9 grades were introduced in 1958. Walt would only have had 5 yrs service at that point.

  15. GR_ATC says:

    A CMSgt? The top 1% of the enlisted force.

    I would love to give him the benefit of the doubt, but it’s hard to do. CMSAF Thomas Barnes was the first (and only to date) African American Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (1973), but was promoted to CMSgt in 1969 (at 20 years TIS). This “chief” (the lowercase is intentional) does not read like a fast burner to make CMSgt in 16 years. Also, the 99th left Ohio in 1949, meaning he didn’t serve with them. I understand reporters take liberties with information at times, but there is too much information an average joe would not be able to quickly verify for all the blame to land with the writer.

    I served in the 332nd OSS in 2005 at Balad AB, Iraq as an Air Traffic Controller. Does this make me the first white “Red Tail”?

    A effin Chief!!!! ChipNASA, I need Senior mentorship!

  16. Dennis - not chevy says:

    Chanute does hold a place in the history of the Tuskegee Airman. This guy, to say he was Tuskegee Airman would be like me saying I was a Minute Man because I’ve been to Lexington.

    • Hondo says:

      He did serve at one of the Tuskegee Airman bases – Lockbourne AFB. But he joined up 4 years or so after the two Tuskegee Airman units named in the article (the 99th and 477th) had both been inactivated, and they weren’t reactivated again until after he retired.

      He also appears to have served at Lockbourne well after joining the USAF. It’s his 3rd permanent duty station after mid-August 1957. I’d guess he didn’t get there before 1960.

  17. OldManchu says:

    But…. but….


  18. ex-OS2 says:


  19. Cornholio says:

    From the link:

    “It was at Lockbourne AFB in Columbus, Ohio, — the only all-African American Air Force base in the nation…”


  20. 3E9 says:

    CMSgt Fred Archer who was a Tuskegee Airman was the first African American CMSgt in the Air Force; not this asshole.

  21. Green Thumb says:

    I had the privilege to meet a few of the Airmen.

    Great dudes. Hardcore.

    To hell with this maggot.

  22. Blaster says:

    I don’t know a lot about Air Force uniforms and insignia, but for an enlisted airman, shouldn’t the US insignia have a circle around it?

    • Devtun says:

      As far as I know. Only officers I believe wear the “U.S.” w/o the circle. The CMSAF has a laurel wreath around the U.S. insignia.

    • MSGT_RET says:

      Enlisted personnel in the USAF (and it’s predecessor services)wore U.S. insignia with a circle from 1918 until 1991.

      In 1991 the U.S. insignia was completely removed from the uniform for all ranks.

      In 1995 the U.S. insignia w/o the circle was reintroduced for both officer and enlisted.

      The U.S. insignia with the circle came back for enlisted personnel in 2007.

      And so ends my history lesson on USAF enlisted collar brass. 🙂

      • Blaster says:


        I take it that he is wrong then, since he retired prior to the USAF playing musical US insignia

        • Starbux says:

          Yeah he would be wrong on that jacket. That is our old 1608 shade blue jacket that mimicked the Army’s coat. In the 90’s we got the McPeak coat which I thought was 93-94 time frame. The McPeak coat is sorta what we use now it is the 1620. It went through several iterations. Originally like MSGT_RET mentioned they took off the US for both officers and enlisted. And for a brief period of time officers wore Navy style sleeve braid rank versus Bars, Leaves, Eagles and Stars. It was Gen McPeak’s intent to make us look more like Air Forces in other countries like England and Canada. As soon as McPeak left Gen Ron Fogleman decided that he wanted his stars back on his shoulder. Then all the Officer coats got modified with epaulets back on them. For practical reasons the Enlisted did not need them as the mod was 80 dollars at the time. This is when the Air Force now has a distinct coat for enlisted and officers. The US’s came back with the Officer shoulder marks for both E’s and O’s.

          During the transition period which ended in 1999 anyone wearing the 1608 coat which he is wearing would have worn the US devices with the circle.

  23. Jonn Lilyea says:

    The historian of the Tuskegee Airmen called to thank us for busting this guy out.

  24. Starbux says:

    Oops wearing the wrong US collar device. In that uniform enlisted wore the ring around it. There was a brief period when our current uniform enlisted wore the same US as the Officers. He is wearing the 1608 our old jacket E’s did not wear those US.

  25. RCAF_CHAIR FORCE says:

    Methinks he meant to say he was a veteran of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments, NOT the airmen