Chief Master Sergeant (Ret.) Grant Williams is a documented original “Tuskegee Airman.” He was inducted into the U.S. Army in February 1942 and sent to Tuskegee Army Airfield for basic training. He ultimately graduated 35th in his class of 276 students. In January 1944, he was deployed to Italy, where he served until October 1945. He was honorably discharged from the Army Air Corps in November 1945 and immediately enlisted in the Reserve Forces. In August 1950, he was recalled to Active Duty and served for the next 24 years in various assignments, including tours in Japan, Turkey and Vietnam. Mr. Williams retired in June 1975. During his years of service, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Bronze Star Medal First Oak Leaf Cluster.
In March 2007, he and other documented original Tuskegee Airmen received the Congressional Gold Medal from President George W. Bush. Chief Williams continues to inspire young people with his volunteer work in communities and at schools. He believes that the success of the Tuskegee Airmen and the election of the first Black President will, “Remind younger people that things have not always been open like they are now. You can be anything you want to be.”