Clarence D LesterMilitary
Left to Right: Dempsey W. Morgan, Carroll S. Woods, Robert H. Nelson, Andrew D. Turner, Clarence P. Lester
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Units served with
|Richmond, VA, USA||8 February 1923|
Graduated Pilot Training
|Tuskegee, AL, USA||5 December 1943||Class 43-K-SE|
|18 July 1944||Shot down 3x Bf-109 on the same mission|
|Washington, DC, USA||17 March 1986||Decorated military fighter pilot and commander. Considered one of the most outstanding Tuskegee Airmen, Lester is permanently featured in a display at the US Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. Lester was born in Richmond, VA but grew up in Chicago. He was a star football player at West Virginia State College. After the outbreak of the Second World War, Lester enrolled in the Army Air Corps in July 1943 and was accepted for pilot training at Tuskegee. After his graduation in December 1943, he was assigned to the newly activated 100th Fighter Squadron of the 332 Fighter Group. After being deployed overseas, he completed ninety combat missions. He made history on July 18, 1944 when he shot down three enemy Messerschmitt 109 aircraft in less than five minutes. Lester's first aircraft, the "Spirit of St. Alphonsus School," was purchased by the students of a northwest Chicago Catholic grade school, who prayed for him every day. The plane was assigned to Lester because he was from Chicago. Since Lester was also a Catholic, the assignment was a particular source of pride to the St. Alphonsus student body. Following World War II, Lester remained in the military for a 28 year career, including service in the Korean War. His assignments also included service as the wing commander at Eielson Air Base in Alaska. At the time of his retirement, he was a member of the staff at the US Air Force Headquarters in the Pentagon. His decorations included the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with nine oak leaf clusters and the Legion of Merit. Ironically, one of Lester's daughter's Ivy League university professors denied that there had been African American combat pilots during the Second World War and was reticent to acknowledge evidence to the contrary that she provided to him. Lester earned the nickname "Lucky" because he survived a variety of intense combat encounters without as much as a scratch or bullet hole in his aircraft. Lester's three victory mission was recently commemorated on The History Channel's "Dogfights: Tuskegee Airmen" program. At the height of his post military career, Lester was the founder and served as the first president of the ICF International Fund, a venture capital consulting firm with the mission of helping minority businesses win government contracts.|
|21 March 1986||Arlington National Cemetery Arlington Arlington County Virginia, USA Plot: Section 6, Grave 8431-A|
I am a former ICF employee and Air Force veteran. I updated that Clarence Lester was the founder and served as the first president of the ICF International Fund, a venture capital consulting firm with the mission of helping minority businesses win government contracts.
I edited Clarence D Lester's profile. He retired from the US Air Force as a Colonel. I am his step daughter.