Calvin J. Spann, born on November 28, 1924 and died on September 6, 2015, he was an original Tuskegee Airman and fighter pilot with the 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group.
Spann received his wings from the Tuskegee Flight School as a part of the graduating class of 44G.
As a member of the United States Army Air Corps, he served in Europe during World War II, where Spann flew 26 combat missions before the end of the war in the European Theatre.
During Spann’s wartime service (1944–1946), he was assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group under the command of Col.
Benjamin O. Davis Jr., who on September 2, 1941, was the first African American officer to solo an aircraft under the U.S. Army Air Corps.
Davis would later rise to the rank of General in the United States Air Force.
While assigned to the 332nd, he flew in the longest bomber escort mission of 15th Air Force, a 1600-mile round trip mission on March 24, 1945, from Ramitelli, Italy, to Berlin, Germany, to destroy a Daimler-Benz manufacturing facility under the leadership of his squadron commander, Captain Roscoe Brown.
On February 28, 2006, the U.S. Congress approved a bill authorizing President George W. Bush to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Tuskegee Airmen, the highest civilian honor awarded by the United States.
Later in his life, Spann spoke at schools, churches and organizations about the Tuskegee Airmen experience and how their courage and valor helped them to triumph.
During these speeches, he encouraged students to make a commitment to excel in the study of mathematics and science, and reminding them that through preparation and perseverance they can succeed.