ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Lt. Col. Luke J. Weathers, Jr., an Unsung WWII Hero of Memphis

Updated on June 11, 2017
Muchsuccess profile image

Robert Odell Jr filmed and interviewed the descendants of three African American WWII heroes. All three men died on the same calendar day.

Lt. Col. Luke J. Weathers, Jr. was an American WWII fighter pilot who lived in Memphis, Tennessee.  He served as one of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen during WWII.
Lt. Col. Luke J. Weathers, Jr. was an American WWII fighter pilot who lived in Memphis, Tennessee. He served as one of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen during WWII. | Source

Lt. Col. Luke J. Weathers, Jr.

Serving as an American fighter pilot, under the auspices of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen during WWII, Lt. Col. Luke J. Weathers, Jr. made tremendous and heroic contributions to US History. Weathers and his fellow Tuskegee Airmen reportedly hold the record as being the greatest pilots and crew efforts in US Military History.

Lt. Col. Weathers is also connected with two other WWII heroes from Memphis, TN; PFC Sylvester Rodgers, Sr. and Ernest C. Withers, Sr.


Lt. Col. Luke J. Weathers Jr. Is Linked to PFC Sylvester Rodgers, Sr. And Ernest C. Withers, Sr. By the Calendar Day of October 15

Lt. Col. Luke J. Weathers Jr., PFC Sylvester Rodgers, Sr., and Ernest C. Withers:

  • All died on the same calendar day of October 15
  • All served in WWII
  • All made great contributions to United States history

The year of death differs for each man:

  • Rodgers died in 1993
  • Withers died in 2007
  • Weathers died in 2011

Lt. Col. Luke J. Weathers, Jr., PFC Sylvester Rodgers, Sr., and Ernest C. Withers, Sr. are linked together by the fact that they all died on the same calendar day of October 15.

Born in Grenada, MS

Luke J. Weathers, Jr.:

  • Was born on December 16, 1920 in Grenada, MS.
  • Moved to Memphis with his family when he was around two years of age.
  • Attended St. Augusta Elementary School in Memphis, TN.
  • Graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, TN.

Luke, Jr.'s father, Luke J. Weathers, Sr., owned and operated the first African-American grocery store in Memphis.


Luke J. Weathers, Sr. (the father of Luke J. Weathers, Jr.) owned and operated the first African American grocery store in the city of Memphis, Tennessee.

Luke J. Weathers, Jr. Wanted to Serve in WWII

When WWII began, Luke Weathers, Jr. along with other African-Americans had a desire to serve their country in capacities other than cooks and cleaning latrines.
When WWII began, Luke Weathers, Jr. along with other African-Americans had a desire to serve their country in capacities other than cooks and cleaning latrines. | Source

He Wanted to Serve in a Different Capacity

In 1939 when World War II began, Luke J. Weathers, Jr. had a fervent desire to serve his country in the United States military.

He, like many African-Americans during that time, had an aspiration to contribute to his country in a capacity other than serving as a cook or cleaning latrines.

Political Pressures of War

Political pressures at that time propagated the movement that was intended to prove that African-American men did not possess the mental or the motor skills necessary in order to operate sophisticated machinery such as an airplane.

The ill-conceived movement caused the Tuskegee Project to be started at Moton Field in Tuskegee, AL in 1941.

The Tuskegee project was started in order to prove the misconception that blacks were incapable of flying airplanes.

Moton Field Tuskegee, AL

The Tuskegee project was started in order to prove the misconception that blacks were incapable of flying airplanes.
The Tuskegee project was started in order to prove the misconception that blacks were incapable of flying airplanes. | Source
Source

Weathers Was Accepted in the Program

As a result of being involved in The Tuskegee Project, Luke J. Weathers, Jr.:

  • Became a member of The Tuskegee Airmen.
  • Flew with the 332nd Fighter Group and the 302nd Fighter Squadron.
  • Departed for Italy on January 03, 1944.
  • Began by flying missions in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany.

Two Movies Depict the Lives of the Tuskegee Airmen

Two movies entitled: The Tuskegee Airmen and Red Tails both depict young cadets as having to take and pass the pilot's test twice.

In his autobiography, Luke Weathers, Jr., states that the young Tuskegee Airmen had to take and pass the pilot's test four times.

Unlike their white counterparts who had to take and pass the pilot's test two times, in his autobiography, Luke Weathers, Jr., states that the young Tuskegee Airmen had to take and pass the pilot's test four times.

Lt. Col. Luke J. Weathers, Jr. was one of the Tuskegee Airmen.  He was an American fighter pilot just like the men pictured in this photo.
Lt. Col. Luke J. Weathers, Jr. was one of the Tuskegee Airmen. He was an American fighter pilot just like the men pictured in this photo. | Source

Safely Escorted Bombers on Their Missions

The United States would have had a difficult time winning WWII if it had not been for the exemplary and heroic deeds of the Tuskegee Airmen. The airmen safely escorted countless bombers to their assigned missions.

Historic documents show that The Tuskegee Airmen:

  • Hold the best record of air support and air battles in US military history
  • Never lost a single bomber under their protection

The Best in US Military History

The Tuskegee Airmen hold the best record of air support and air battles in US military history. They never lost a single bomber under their protection.

Lt. Col. Weathers Was One of the Tuskegee Airmen

African-American Fighter Pilots Served In WWII

Did you know that there were African-American fighter pilots in WWII?

See results

Greatest Pilots and Crew Efforts in US Military History

On one mission, Luke Weathers reported to escort a wounded bomber to England after a bombing mission over Germany.

He flew beneath the bomber to disguise his presence from possible enemy attack.

Eight German plans attacked the bomber. Weathers and two other escorts engaged enemy contact. Weathers flew into the Germans head on, immediately taking down one plane.

On one of his missions Weathers was shot down over Greece; however, with the help of local villagers he safely made it back to his unit.

On one of his missions Weathers was shot down over Greece.
On one of his missions Weathers was shot down over Greece.

The other seven Germans came after Weathers but he did not panic. He put his plane in a dive and quickly throttled up to altitude. As he looked back the German aircraft was on his tail.

Through skill and cunning, Weathers ended up on the tail of the enemy plane. With a long burst of machine gun fire and a few short bursts, the German aircraft went tumbling to the ground.

On one of his missions Weathers was shot down over Greece; however, with the help of local villagers he safely made it back to his unit.

These and other events help to substantiate the notion that The Tuskegee Airmen hold the record as being the greatest pilots and crew efforts in US Military History.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Muchsuccess profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert Odell Jr 

      15 months ago from Memphis, Tennessee

      My pleasure Ms Boyce. It is an honorary privilege to be able to share in keeping your father’s great legacy alive. I, do indeed, look forward to fantastic things from the newly organized Lt. Col. Luke J. Weathers Foundation.

    • profile image

      Trina Weathers Boyce 

      15 months ago

      Thank you Mr. Odell for keeping my father's legacy alive. Ernest Withers was my mother's childhood friend, neighbor and classmate (Manassas Class of 1941). People would often make Withers and Weathers synonymous and we accepted them as family. Andrew Rome Withers called me on October 15 the year his dad passed and years later I did the same. The first thing Rome asked me was, do you know what today is ? My dad bought Uncle Ernest, as I called him, his first camera. Look out for great things from the newly organized Lt. Col. Luke J. Weathers Foundation that will continue his legacy in aviation. #lukelegacylives

    • Muchsuccess profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert Odell Jr 

      15 months ago from Memphis, Tennessee

      Thank You Rashida,

      I am honored to have been able to learn of your grandfather's great accomplishments by meeting and listening to his son, Luke J. Weathers III. I thank you and your family for sharing your rich family history with me and with the world.

    • profile image

      Rashida Curtis 

      15 months ago

      Granddaughter of Mr. Weathers. Thank You for this! My grandfather raised me in Alexandria, VA, I missed him dearly today and found this article. Thank You

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)