Clarence-Huntley-Obituary

Clarence E. Huntley Jr.

Age 91

Obituary

Two members of the Tuskegee Airmen - the famed all-black squadron that flew in World War II - died on the same day. The men, lifelong friends who enlisted together, were 91.Clarence E. Huntley Jr. and Joseph Shambrey died on Jan. 5 in their Los Angeles homes, relatives said Sunday.Read the full...

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Our heavenly father has called another of his children home to sit at the right hand of God. Pain, misery and sorrow shall ye never know, and the bravery of the lion almighty will have no fear with Christ as your wing man.

For God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name by ministering and continuing to minister to the holy ones. (Hebrews 6:10). This one will never be forgotten for all the work that was done for this community and especially those encouraged and inspired in this persons' care. May God continue to strengthen the family and friends in these times hard to deal with (2 Tim 3:1), especially without a beloved one such as this talented and loved person gone...

May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.

We will always remember your bravery and your service.

rip

And when my time on earth is Over,
When Taps sounds the final Call.
I will say proudly to my Maker,
I'm here to join the others Sir.
The Ones who came before Me,
''Who Answered Freedoms Call''.
Kevin Hussey SR

Sir: thank you for your service. You and others helped paved the way for the rest of us African Americans.

May it comfort you to know that God and others care.

\r\n


\r\n\r\n\r\nAfter their enlistment in 1942, both men quickly set out to be part of what was then called the Tuskegee Experiment — the formation of the U.S. military's first all-black squadron of pilots. The group went on to take part in more than 15,000 combat missions, earning over 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses.

\r\n\r\nAs Tuskegee Airmen mechanics, Huntley and Shambrey did what they could to make sure the planes stayed in the air until the mission was over.

\r\n\r\n\"When a pilot would go out, he would say, 'This is my plane. You bring my plane back, please,'\" Ron Brewington said with a chuckle as he remembered Huntley.

\r\n\r\nBrewington, president and historian of the Los Angeles chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc., said his group has only 20 members of the elite group left after the passing of Huntley and Shambrey. Most are in their 90s.

\r\n\r\nCounting pilots and ground personnel, there were perhaps as many as 19,000 Tuskegee Airmen, Brewington said, but there are no accurate figures on how many are still alive.

\r\n\r\nCraig Huntly said his uncle and Shambrey weren't looking to be pioneers or heroes when they enlisted. They were simply serving their country in a war abroad against fascism and one at home against racism.

\r\n\r\n\"At that time black servicemen were pretty much relegated to menial type work and my uncle didn't want to do that,\" Huntly said. \"But he was aware of the Tuskegee Experiment and how important it was.\"

\r\n\r\nNot that it would bring a change in race relations immediately.

\r\n\r\nYears later, Shambrey would recall getting off a train in segregated Alabama where a hospitality station was welcoming returning white troops with handshakes and free coffee.

\r\n\r\n\"When he and his buddies came off, dressed in their uniforms, of course they didn't get any congratulations,\" said Shambrey's son, Tim. They even had to pay for their coffee.

\r\n\r\nBy coincidence, Shambrey and Huntley were dispatched to Italy together in 1944 and came back home together.

\r\n\r\nAs the years passed, neither man talked much about his military service, which isn't unusual for Tuskegee Airmen, Brewington said.

\r\n\r\nShambrey would throw barbeques from time to time and invite his old military buddies. As many as 150 people would attend.

\r\n\r\nHuntley's daughter Sheila McGee said he had a ready answer when people asked about his service: \"I was doing what I was supposed to do, and that was to serve my country.\"

\r\n\r\nBoth men served again during the Korean War, as combat engineers.

\r\n\r\nAfter their military years, Shambrey worked for the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation. Huntley worked as a skycap at airports in Los Angeles and Burbank, a job he held until his late 80s.

\r\n\r\nAssociated Press Writer Robert Jablon contributed to this story.

\r\n\r\nJOHN ROGERS, Associated Press

\r\n\r\n


Copyright © 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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