Alfonzo Davis Chapter pushes children towards math and science
November 21, 2017
During World War II, there were 16 Tuskegee Airmen from Omaha. Today, Central alum Robert Holtz, 92, is the last remaining Airman. But the memory of all of their service won’t be lost, as Robert Rose, Air Force veteran and president of the Alfonzo Davis Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen chapter of Omaha makes it his duty to preserve their history.
The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of African Americans who were pilots in the second World War. The United States Army Air Corps didn’t want black people fighting with them, but created a segregated unit and called it an ‘experiment’. Robert Hultz was one of the Tuskegee Airmen from Omaha, and even in his old age he still tries to speak on his experience with the help of Robert Rose and the Alfonzo Davis Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen.
The Alfonzo Davis Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen was founded in Omaha in 1988 by Bobby McGlown, and it was named after an airmen from Omaha who was killed in combat. There goal is to remember the sacrifices that the Tuskegee Airmen made and to help keep their history alive.
“As president of the Alfonzo Davis Chapter my goal is to perpetuate the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen,” Rose said. In order to do this, he keeps himself busy. He has located the contact information for the families of the Tuskegee Airmen, and though most of them have moved away or passed on, a lot of their family members have stayed in Omaha.
“I would hope that they would be interested in preserving this legacy of their family members,” Rose said. He hasn’t heard back from the families yet, but he’s hoping that they get in touch with him.
Another part of Rose’s job is to use the Tuskegee Airmen’s story to get youth interested in math and science, and the Alonzo Davis Chapter goes to different schools and partners with other organizations to do so.
“Most of our functions are for the youth. One of our major programs is to take kids out to Offutt Air Force Base and they actually get a chance to fly themselves,” Rose said. He partners with the Experimental Aircraft Association and they give him a quota of kids that he gets to work with, and he tries to get them to be STEM focused. And though the Tuskegee Airmen were a group of black men, the Alfonzo Davis Chapter works with students of all races. Rose states that they “don’t see color and will take whoever shows up.”
Another part of the Alfonzo Davis Chapter is to inform people as to who the Tuskegee Airmen were. They visit schools and Robert Holtz answers questions about his experience and Rose gives a synopsis of everything else. The two will be visiting Central and speaking to a small group of social studies students, and it will be a unique experience to speak with someone who lived to tell the story of one of the worlds most famous wars.