Scott Pays Tribute to Tuskegee Airman Rudolph Berthoud of 13th District
Jun 21 -
Today Rep. David Scott inserted the following remarks into the Congressional Record to pay tribute to Mr. Rudolph Berthoud's legacy of service as a Tuskegee Airman.
Mr. Speaker, I rise before you today deeply honored and humbled to recognize the contributions of one of the 140 remaining Tuskegee Airmen, Mr. Rudolph Berthoud. To understand the achievements and sacrifice of Mr. Berthoud, I feel it is incumbent upon me to discuss the accomplishments of the elite group of fighters to which Mr. Rudolph Berthoud belonged.
In thinking of the Tuskegee Airmen I am reminded of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who once said that if a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, “Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” The Tuskegee Airmen were called to a task far greater, both dangerous and unprecedented. As the first black combat pilots to serve in the air force they served just as Dr. King’s metaphorical street sweeper.
The Tuskegee Airmen flew and defended their country so well that their allies, as well as their opposition, knew them for their skill. One of the fighter squadrons that made up the all black 332nd fighter group was the only fighter group in WWII that never lost a fighter. The courage and commitment of the Tuskegee Airmen led to President Truman’s decree to desegregate the U.S. Armed Forces less than a decade after the end of World War II.
As a Tuskegee Airman, Mr. Berthoud was an American hero in the truest sense. He fought to defeat the destructive and xenophobic powers of his day that sought to extinguish the flames of freedom and liberty. Mr. Berthoud joined this prestigious group in 1942 at the tender age of 18. He received an assignment to the 477th Medium Bomber Unit which was the first black bomber unit in the United State Air Force. After receiving an official discharge, Mr. Berthoud bravely remained in service for a total of three years, rising to the rank of Second Lieutenant. Upon leaving the armed forces, Mr. Berthoud continued with public service, returning to New York City, where he was born in 1924, to join the New York City Police Department.
TuskegeeUniversity recently recognized Mr. Berthoud for his service as a Tuskegee Airman. On May 14, 2006 Mr. Berthoud and eleven other Tuskegee Airmen received honorary doctorates in honor of the legacy of their service and numerous achievements. Today, Mr. Berthoud is a proud member of the national and Atlanta chapters of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. Mr. Berthoud has remained a committed member of Fountain of Faith Missionary Baptist Church in Riverdale, Georgia for more than ten years and served on many auxiliaries: the Feeding Ministry, the R.B. Newman Male Chorus, Men of Faith, and an officer for the Trustee Board.
By honoring a man who so nobly served our nation abroad, in the face of discrimination at home and doubt in his equal ability, we are turning a page in history books yet written. Mr. Berthoud remains a modest and humble man and is truly deserving of this honor. I join Fountain of Faith Missionary Baptist Church in saluting a national hero who calls the 13th Congressional District of Georgia home.