Tuskegee Airman Sgt. Maj. Thomas Ellis passes

| January 10, 2018

Stars & Stripes reports that Sergeant Major Thomas Ellis, one of the few remaining members of the Tuskegee Airmen has passed at the age of 97. Sergeant Major Ellis, originally a draftee, was an administrative clerk during his time with the legendary aviation unit;

Ordered to Tuskegee Army Airfield, Ellis was the only enlisted member in the newly activated in the 301st Fighter Squadron, rising to staff sergeant and becoming an integral member of the 332nd Fighter Group, serving under then-Col. Benjamin O. Davis, who eventually became an Air Force general.

They deployed to Italy, where Ellis earned seven battle stars and left the Army as a sergeant major.

Back home, he initially worked as a porter for Frost Brothers but landed a job with the U.S. Postal Service, where he remained until 1984… The post office was Ellis’s day job, but there was a second one as well, with Ellis leading a jazz quintet. Sinkfield, who also heads the Tuskegee Airmen’s San Antonio chapter, said the Tom Ellis Jazz Quintet played around the San Antonio and was well known to people throughout the city. Ellis played the piano, and very well.

“He had a jazz quintet that played around San Antonio … and he could play that piano like it was just his baby. He was just a natural,” Sinkfield said. “He was quite the musician.”

The sergeant major will be buried at 9 AM Friday, January 12th in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

Category: We Remember

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  1. RGR 4-78 says:

    Rest in Peace.

  2. Wilted Willy says:

    Rest in Peace good Sir, you have earned it!

  3. SaraSnipe says:

    Greatest Generation RIP

  4. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Rest In Peace Sergeant Major, you’ve earned your place in History and Valhalla.

  5. UpNorth says:

    Rest in Peace, Sergeant Major.

  6. HMC Ret says:

    Rest in Peace, Sir, and thank you for your service.

  7. Ex-PH2 says:

    Wow. I’d love to have heard this man play.

    Catch the tailwind, Mr. Ellis.

  8. Steve 1371 says:

    Thank you for being a great American Sgt. Major Ellis.

  9. Headhunter says:

    RIP, of note some reports indicate he rose to Sgt Maj between 42-45 and other state he rose to Staff Sgt, Stripes appears to cite both ranks. Regardless of rank, he fought for his country while facing discrimination both at home and in the military and should be honored for his service

  10. Athena says:

    Godspeed S.M. Ellis, thank you for your service to us.

  11. Carlton G. Long says:

    Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.