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Rudolph “Val” Archer (1929–2020), Tuskegee Airman who served in three wars

by Linnea Crowther

Rudolph “Val” Archer was one of the last remaining Tuskegee Airmen, the elite group of black pilots and support staff who served during World War II.

Military career

Archer first tried to join the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps when he was 15, but he was told to come back when he was old enough to serve. At 18, he joined the U.S. Army and was assigned to the Tuskegee Airmen, where he trained as an airplane mechanic and aircraft instrument specialist. Archer continued his military career in the U.S. Air Force after World War II ended, serving in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He became a crew chief and later served as an instructor for TITAN I Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Squadrons. Archer became the president of the Atlanta chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. He was among the Tuskegee Airmen who were presented with the Congressional Gold Medal. In 2013, Rep. Henry C. Johnson, Jr. honored Archer on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and proclaimed May 18 to be Val Archer Day in the 4th Congressional District of Georgia.

Notable quote

“I’m proud of the legacy that we have. A lot of us came from all over, Tuskegee Airmen, we had people who came off of farms and those who came out of cities, but what came out of that experience had an impact on our whole culture at that time, largely because of the success that we had and what that meant for other opportunities.” —from a 2016 interview with the Montgomery Advertiser

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Tributes to Rudolph “Val” Archer

Full obituary: WSB-TV

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