To honor Asa Newman, the community lined the streets as law enforcement honked their horns while the crowd waved across the street to him.
A Tuskegee Airman who served in World War II turned 102 years old on Thursday and the local community came together to celebrate the event in a special way. Asa Newman was part of Tuskegee Airman—the first African American unit to ever fly combat airplanes during WWII. As a way to honor him, the community lined the streets as law enforcement honked their horns while the crowd waved across the street to Newman. According to News5Cleveland, the people involved in the celebrations were local veterans, city officials, and other dignitaries, all of whom set out to thank Newman for his service. Reports say Newman showed his respect and acknowledgment for all those present to honor him by saluting every patrol vehicle that passed him by.
There was a parade today to honor Asa Newman, a 102-year-old who is one of the last living Tuskegee Airmen.https://t.co/7YxPvrJwcp— Reckon (@reckonsouth) September 26, 2020
In an interview with Aurora Advocate in 2015, when he'd just moved into Aurora, Newman said he joined the Army because he knew he would eventually be drafted and wanted to pick his branch of service. But, he wasn't sure which battalion he'd end up in. Within five months of his joining, in September 1941, he transferred to the Tuskegee Airmen, which was a position that thrilled him. Of the Tuskegee Airmen, one of the most famous was the 332nd Fighter Group, which earned an impressive combat record for their service. They were even called the "Red Tails" or "Red-Tail Angels" as they had a distinctive crimson indication mark for their unit which could be seen on the tail section of the aircraft.
Newman's group members were sent to Casablanca, Morrocco, and then to Sicily. Over the course of the war, they had flown over 1,000 bomb missions, mostly in the daytime. Newman and his group of over 300 other men spent much of their time in Italy during the conflict. His position was called Chief Armer and he helped arm planes with bombs. His regular job involved him and three other men roll 500-pound bombs which were cradles on wheels, before lifting them onto the planes. Fondly remembering the days, he said: "Back then, lifting those heavy bombs was easy; we were all young," he said with a laugh, according to MyTownNeo.
Happy 102nd birthday to Mr. Newman God bless him #legend 🖤🙏🏾✊🏾🎂🎈🎉— Nikki🍯💖🍫♓👸🏾 (@_nik_nik_b) September 26, 2020
Parade in Aurora celebrates 102nd birthday of one of the last living Tuskegee Airman Asa Newman https://t.co/N0B09yDeXx— fox8news (@fox8news) September 24, 2020
Explaining the planes and the formations, Newman went on to describe them as “fighter groups, not bomber squadrons.” “We had single-engine, single-pilot planes," he added. "Early in the war, our planes carried one bomb. Later on, they carried two bombs." He had even worked with the planes' gun sights. Even though the Germans sent planes over US airfields where the Tuskegee Airmen were stationed, Newman spent his entire time uninjured. He grew up in Cleveland and went to East Cleveland High School. Once the war ended, he moved to Chicago to attend college at Roosevelt University. He was one of seven children and had three brothers and three sisters. Newman currently lives in the vicinity of his niece Rae Ellen and is the only surviving member of his immediate family. Comments poured in from all over the internet with people showing their support for the centenarian and his service. User Dorenda, who identified herself as a nurse, said: "What a blessing to be in the presence of a 102-year-old. As a nurse, I love to serve the elderly. they have so much wisdom and knowledge." ShelG added: "What an amazing man! I hope he has the best of all birthdays!"