MISSISSIPPI LEGISLATURE

2007 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Representative Mayo, Burnett, Coleman (29th), Espy, Huddleston, Peranich

House Resolution 21

(As Adopted by House)

A RESOLUTION COMMENDING THE SERVICE, SACRIFICE AND BRAVERY OF TUSKEGEE AIRMAN, RETIRED LIEUTENANT COLONEL WASHINGTON DUBOIS ROSS, TO THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI AND THE UNITED STATES.

†††† WHEREAS, born March 4, 1919, in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, as the fourth of six children, to Robert Warren Ross, Sr., and Teresa Elizabeth Calloway Ross, Lieutenant Colonel Washington DuBois Ross served his country in many capacities as a groundbreaking Tuskegee Airman, a decorated fighter pilot and a highly respected officer; and

†††† WHEREAS, having received his bachelor of science degree in education from Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in Hampton, Virginia, Lieutenant Colonel Ross also received his† private pilotís license through participation in the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPT); and

†††† WHEREAS, Lieutenant Colonel Ross furthered his educational pursuits at Wayne State University and at the University of Detroit, from which he earned a master's degree in mathematics, additionally obtaining a bachelor of business administration and a master of business administration from D'etre University in Detroit, Michigan; and

†††† WHEREAS, one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, Ross arrived at Tuskegee as part of the Class 43-I, graduating in 1943 as a fighter pilot with the rank of Second Lieutenant before being sent to Selfridge Field, Michigan, in October of 1943 for overseas training, and later joining the 332nd Fighter Group for a tour of duty in the European Theater; and

†††† WHEREAS, after spending some time in North Africa for additional training, Lieutenant Colonel Ross and his comrades were flown to Naples, Italy, to join other members of the 332nd, where he flew patrol in P-39s, before being transferred to the 15th Air Force to fly P-47s, and he finally flew P-51s on long escort missions protecting bombers; and

†††† WHEREAS, having flown a combination of sorties and missions, for a total of 63 missions, Lieutenant Colonel Ross and fellow members of the 332nd Fighter Group shared the distinction of not losing a single bomber to enemy fighters; and

†††† WHEREAS, the timeline of Lieutenant Colonel Ross' military career is complemented by an impressive record of service as he progressed through the ranks, first as cadet and later as a twin-engine instructor for the B-25 at Tuskegee Army Air Base in Alabama and Lockbourne Air Force Base in Ohio; and

†††† WHEREAS, after four years of active military service, Ross joined the United States Air Force Reserves where he served for 20 years in a number of assignments, before retiring in 1981 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel; and

†††† WHEREAS, while Lieutenant Colonel Ross carried great responsibility in the Air Force, he also remained active in community groups and social organizations, including Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.; life member of the Reserve Officers Association; the Berea Lutheran Church in Detroit; Berea Day School Board of Education; and the Detroit Chapter of the National Hampton Alumni Association, Inc.; and

†††† WHEREAS, hailed as a legend of his time, Lieutenant Colonel Ross has been supported and encouraged in every endeavor he has undertaken by his loving family, including his late wife of 60 years, Willie Pearl White Ross; children, Paula Ross, Rodney Enix-Ross, Mark Ross and Robert Ross; and three grandchildren, Langston Ross, Parker Enix-Ross and Miya Ross; and

†††† WHEREAS, it is the policy of the House of Representatives to commend the lives and service of such notable and humble native Mississippians as Lieutenant Colonel Ross, whose life will be etched in the rich history of this state and nation and who has inspired countless numbers to strive diligently to achieve their dreams:

†††† NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do hereby commend the service and sacrifice of the legendary Tuskegee Airman, astute soldier and devout Mississippian, Lieutenant Colonel Washington DuBois Ross, and extend our warmest wishes for his continued health, peace and success in all of his future endeavors.

†††† BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to Lieutenant Colonel Ross and to the members of the Capitol Press Corps.