Original Tuskegee Airmen Visits Richmond
One of the original Tuskegee Airmen recently visited Richmond during the National Veteran Wheelchair Games which were held June 25th – 30th. Wylie W. Selden Jr was born in Norfolk, Virginia on February 9, 1919. His idol was always his father, who was short in stature but tall in the community. It was Wylie Sr. who was the force behind Wylie Jr., signing up to be a Tuskegee Airman. With his father's ongoing support and encouragement, Wylie blazed a trail of accomplishments as one of the original, and now highly acknowledged WWII and Civil Rights heroes.
Mr. Selden passed the test for Fighter Pilot Training at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, AL in 1941. While awaiting an opening at Tuskegee in he completed the civilian pilot training at West Virginia State. It was shortly thereafter that an opening became available for Mr. Wylie Selden at the Tuskegee Airfield. He graduated on June 29, 1943 with Class 43F and was assigned to be a test pilot for the 96th Service Group.
Additionally, he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. On May 22, 1944 he was assigned to the 99th Fighter Squadron, 33rd Fighter Group – Test Pilot. Then he test piloted P-40 War Hawks and P-51 Mustangs, later known as the Red Tails. On March 29, 2006, Mr. Selden was among 300 Tuskegee Airman to receive the Congressional Gold Medal and was recognized as a Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen (DOTA) by the House of Representatives.
As a Veteran, Mr. Selden continued to make great contributions to his community while serving as an official in the Alumni Affairs Office of Howard University. For many years, Wylie, along with several other original Airmen, delivered presentations and participated in Tuskegee Airman, events nationally and internationally. He has numerous awards and letters of appreciation from governmental, private sector and academic organizations sponsoring these events. These expressions of appreciation are not only for his WWII exploits but also for his willingness and skill in sharing the message of the Tuskegee Airmen.
On Friday January 13, 2012, the Honorable President Barack Obama cordially invited Wylie Selden Jr., to a reception held at the White House. He was among the few surviving Tuskegee Airmen to view the 2012 movie biography, “Red Tails” with the President and Mrs. Obama. At 93 years old this is considered to be one of the greatest acknowledgments any Veteran can receive.
Thank you for your Service!