LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Julius Calloway is weaved all throughout the rich history of American aviation.
If you visit Bowman Field, you’ll see Julius Calloway featured in a permanent mural that was completed last year called “100 Years of Flying Heritage.” For his contributions, he was presented the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 as well as an honorary doctorate degree from Tuskegee University in 2006.
For Black History Month 2021, Calloway was part of “The Sky’s the Limit: A Celebration of the History of Black Achievement in Aviation.”
“Folks like the Tuskegee Airmen, they blazed the way with the military,” proclaimed his son, Julius Calloway III.
Calloway’s son knows the role the Tuskegee Airmen played in US and world history. Julius Calloway was one of the original Tuskegee Airmen who broke the aviation color barrier in the US Military during World War II.
“One thing my father always stressed, they all had that love of flying,” exclaimed Calloway.
That love of flying was only possible at that time of segregation with the help of the US Military.
“Military did more for integration than you could dream of,” Calloway shared. “Within the Air Force the main thing was once they found out you could fly there was a certain camaraderie around aviators.”
During their service, members of the Tuskegee Airmen earned more than 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses for their achievements.
“These folks went up to high ranks,” exclaimed Calloway. “Generals, Bird Colonels and all that.”
Julius Calloway found his place in the Unites States Military and his opportunity to do what he loved, fly!
“No one had to make you feel welcomed, but they had to accept you there,” explained Calloway.
Segregation in our country made it impossible for Calloway to become a commercial pilot. So, he started Calloway Flying Services, a school that trained pilots at Bowman Field. It was an opportunity for him to continue doing what he loved while also sharing his love of flying with others.
“He wanted to fly so he started his own flying school,” his son shared.
Julius Calloway is in the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame and leaves behind his passion for flying with his son, who loves to share his father’s story.
“Anything to keep the legacy going,” his son proclaimed.
Julius Calloway III often took his father flying as he grew older even after he had a stroke. The last time they were in the sky together his dad was 80 years old.
Calloway died of cancer in 2012 at the age of 87.