Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans


Walt Richardson | Multiple Units - Air Force

3:43   |   After successfully completing aircraft mechanic school, Walt Richardson joined the crew on a commanding general's B-17 in Okinawa. As the only black crew member, he had to earn respect and he did. He was also part of the honor guard when the first freely elected leaders in Japan were inaugurated.

More From Walt Richardson

Keywords   :     Walt Richardson    aircraft mechanic    Japan    Okinawa    Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress    Douglas MacArthur    election    Japanese    Black    African American

Videos ( 11 )
  • Walt Richardson  |  Korea  |  Multiple Units  |  4:33

    Aircraft mechanic Walt Richardson was based in Okinawa when the Korean War started. The general's personal B-17 was used for supply runs but he couldn't go because he had no combat or survival training. When he was transferred to Eglin Air Force Base, he found that President Truman's integration order had not yet filtered down, but he persevered.

  • Walt Richardson  |  Vietnam  |  Multiple Units  |  4:35

    For the first time in his Air Force career, Walt Richardson was in a combat zone. When the aircraft mechanic arrived in Vietnam, one of the first things he saw was bodies being unloaded from a helicopter. That rattled him. Then there were the rocket attacks.

  • Walt Richardson  |  Vietnam  |  Multiple Units  |  3:37

    Walt Richardson volunteered at a Catholic orphanage while he was in Vietnam, helping the nuns take care of children. He also found time to start a musical group and had a good time playing in clubs. He was a childhood friend of the legendary Chappie James, the first black 4-star General in the Air Force.

  • Walt Richardson  |  Vietnam  |  Multiple Units  |  3:41

    During his Air Force career, Walt Richardson made it his duty to help other black airmen get through the prejudice they encountered. He remembers one particular young man who got into some trouble in Thailand.

Cold War
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