TRIBUTE TO A TUSKEGEE AIRMAN

ALBERT L. GAINES

(1923 - 2008)

An internet scrapbook

 

Find herein some media coverage surrounding the

loss of Mr. Albert L. Gaines.

 

To summarize, Mr. Gaines was an incredible Tuskegee Airman in his young formative years,

but then he forged new roles in politics and business.

 

Mr. Gaines served 35+ years at IBM as an Attorney and a Computer Programmer. Some other

highlights of his storied life included integrating Syracuse University and the NY National

Guard, President of the Lakeland School District Board, as well as the Leader of the

Cortlandt and Westchester County Democratic National Committee. More

 

Coming later in 2009,

 

Albert L. Gaines - Tuskegee Airmen

Scholarship Fund & Jazz Concert

A musical celebration taking the Legacy Higher

Location: TBA

For more info or if you wish to assist, please

Email us

 

 

He was a great family man, husband, father, and role model and it

honors the family to share this info with those who visit.

 

In late 2008 and 2009, there were stories covered by the

following media outlets, of which we are

acknowledging herein below:

 

  • North County News - Yorktown, NY

  • Westchester Journal News (Gannett)

  • RNN Cable TV News

  • Albert Gaines Bio

We hope you enjoy these readings about

Albert L. Gaines.

 

See the story covered by

RNN in December, 2008

on behalf of Al Gaines, which was

posted on YouTube

 

 

Al Gaines is seated 2nd row from the bottom, 2nd from the left.

 

August 18, 1944

 

 

Here is a tour from the eyes of my

sister and the family. Enjoy

 


Tuskegee Airman's widow from Cortlandt to attend inauguration

By Aman Ali • The Journal News • January 9, 2009

CORTLANDT - The recent widow of a World War II Tuskegee Airman will attend president-elect Barack Obama's inauguration this month, along with several hundred men who served in the noted program.

Her husband, Albert, died of Alzheimer's disease Dec. 8 - the day before Obama invited the surviving airmen to his inauguration.

Viola Gaines talks Wednesday about her husband, Albert Gaines, who died last month - one day before getting an invitation to attend President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration. (Ricky Flores /The Journal News)

Viola Gaines talks Wednesday about her husband, Albert Gaines, who died last month - one day before getting an invitation to attend President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration.

(Ricky Flores /The Journal News)

 

"When he celebrated his birthday in November, he said he wanted to be there for the inauguration," said his widow, Viola Gaines, 77, of Cortlandt. "We thought when he said that, he was 'coming back,' so to speak."

Gaines was 85 when he died last month. More than 200 surviving Tuskegee Airmen have accepted the invitation to attend the inauguration; Viola Gaines will be joined there by her daughter, Deborah Yearwood, of Cortlandt.

Gaines was one of the 994 black pilots trained at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Ala., during World War II. The Tuskegee Airmen included many more people than the pilots. Thousands were connected to the Tuskegee program, including mechanics, cooks and others.

Gaines' family described him as a "quiet warrior," a man who didn't talk much about his time as an airman.

"The only reason more people know about it was because I brought it up," Viola Gaines said. "He thought it was no big deal and thought he was just doing his duty to this country."

"You see that sense of humbleness among a lot of Tuskegee guys," said his stepson, Bob Baldwin, of Atlanta.

Albert and Viola Gaines married in 1991; it was his second marriage. Next week would have marked their 18th wedding anniversary.

After the war, Gaines went to Syracuse University and worked for IBM in Westchester County for almost 30 years. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2003.

His wife said she was told by Tuskegee Airmen Inc., the group coordinating the inaguration trip, that the invite wasn't for widows. But she pleaded her case to Rep. John Hall, D-Dover Plains, and his office got her a general ticket to the Jan. 20 event.

"Everyone started getting excited when they found out we were going," she said. "They'd say, 'If you shake Obama's hand, don't wash your hand. If you get close to him, get a piece of his hair for us.' "

Another Tuskegee Airman from Westchester, New Rochelle resident Lee Archer, will be attending the inauguration.

You can also view this here....

 

 

Viola with Town of Cortlandt Supervisor, Ms. Linda Puglisi, as she receives a proclamation on behalf of her late husband, Mr. Albert Gaines.

Photo Courtesy of Viola Gaines

In the wake of her husband’s death, a Cortlandt Manor resident and original Tuskegee airman’s wife will be at President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration to witness the historical event.

The day after Viola Gaines, recent widow of Tuskegee airman Albert Gaines, was told by a representative from Tuskegee Airmen Inc. that tickets to the inauguration were not being issued by the group to widows, Congressman John Hall, D-19, offered her two tickets to the event.

“He [Albert] would be so happy and proud,” Viola said Tuesday when she was notified. “Wherever he is, he’s smiling.”

Hall gave Viola and her daughter two of the 190 tickets he was issued for the inauguration, said Jean Bordewich, Hall’s chief of staff.

His office unsuccessfully attempted to get tickets from the Tuskegee group because of restrictions issuing tickets.

“We did try very hard with that route but they were strictly limited to actual airmen, not widows,” Bordewich said.

Robert Rose, first vice president of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc. based in Nebraska, is in charge of distributing the inauguration tickets to the airmen.

“The invitation is and was for original Tuskegee airmen,” Rose said. “As much as we sympathize and know there are other widows who want to represent their husbands, it’s just not possible under the current restrictions. We don’t have the tickets to dispense.”

Each Tuskegee airman is entitled to two tickets, one for themselves and one for a guest. “We have 230 original Tuskegee airmen scheduled to attend and most have identified a guest, totaling 450 tickets,” Rose said.

The number of original Tuskegee Airmen is estimated to be between 16,000 and 18,000. Of the total number, 994 were aviators.

“The rest were made up of support staff, both male and female, officers and enlisted,” Rose said.

Hall, who serves on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and heads the Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, distributed his allotted tickets by lottery — all but the two he gave to Gaines — and he announced the lottery winners Tuesday.

“Congressman Hall has worked with many veterans and he understands their importance,” Bordewich said. “The Tuskegee airmen played an important role in American history and he understands the importance of Mrs. Gaines attending this historic moment.”

A day after Tuskegee airman Albert Gaines died on Dec. 8, President-elect Barack Obama announced that he is inviting all original Tuskegee airmen to his inauguration Jan. 20. The Tuskegee airmen was the popular name of a group of black pilots who flew with distinction during World War II as the 332nd Fighter Group of the US Army Air Corps.

“[Albert] wanted to go to the inauguration because of our new president,” Viola said. “Obama mentioned the Tuskegee airmen during his campaign and said they laid the groundwork for his election, which meant a lot to Albert.”

Gaines was an aviator, navigator, bombardier and trainer as a Tuskegee airman.
The number of original airmen still alive is unknown, he said. The Tuskegee Airmen Inc. has 51 chapters in 28 states with members totaling 330.

     
       

December 24, 2008


 

North County News

December 24, 2008

 - Page 2

Albert Gaines Bio

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