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Riverside’s NAACP Chapter Recognizes Veterans at 46TH Annual Luncheon

By John Coleman

The Riverside Branch, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People(s) celebrated its 46th Annual Anderson Copeland Memorial Veterans Recognition Luncheon on Veterans Day/Armistice Day, Friday November 11, 2016.

To accommodate the increasing attendance, the event was relocated from the facilities of the Kansas Avenue Seventh Day Adventist Church to the auditorium, John W North High School, Riverside.

Waudieur “Woody” Rucker-Hughes, President, NAACP Riverside Branch offered the welcome and introduced the Master of Ceremonies.

50th Anniversary of Kwanzaa Karamu 2016 in Memory of Ratibu (Shadidi) Jacocks

ratibu_jacocksSAN BERNARDINO, CA- The Inland Area Kwanzaa Group with San Bernardino Valley College will host the 50th Anniversary Kwanzaa Karamu 2016 on Saturday, December 10, 2016 at 4 p.m. at San Bernardino Valley, Business Building Room B-100.

The Karamu celebrates family, community and culture with an African feast of fine foods, dance, song and poetry. This year’s event will be held in memory of Ratibu Jacocks, the Kwanzaa Group’s Co-Chair.

Kwanzaa is an African-American Cultural Holiday, celebrating family, community and Culture and is celebrated throughout the world African Community December 26 to January 1. As an African American and Pan African holiday celebration, the ancient and cultural traditions reflect the best in African and African American thought and practice.

To purchase tickets for $10 each and/or reserve a table for ten, please contact Sheila Umbaji Futch at umbaji@me.com (951) 235-5123 or Wilmer Amina Carter at amina@ef-cbs.com (909) 820-4406.

WWII Red Tail Fighter Tom Friend Receives Hero Medal At The Coliseum

Tom Friend

Tom Friend

By Earl Heath

Lt. Col Robert J. Friend is the ultimate Veteran having served his country during WWII. A brief overview of his life goes like this:

Robert J. Friend was born in Columbia, South Carolina on February 28, 1920.  In 1939, he became a student at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where he earned a private pilot certificate in the Civilian Pilot Training Program.  In 1942, Mr. Friend joined the Air Force and was sent to Tuskegee Institute for pilot training.

After receiving his wings as an Air Force Pilot, Mr. Friend was promoted to a Lieutenant and at that time was assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group as a pilot under Col. B.O. Davis, Jr.  He was then sent to Schlfridge Air Force Base in Michigan for flight tactical aircraft transition before his combat tour.  In 1943, Lieutenant Friend reported to the European Theatre of War as a member of Tuskegee Airmen’s Distinguished 322nd Group, which was a Fighter Pilot Organization.  As a skillful pilot of the P47 and P51 single engine planes, Lieutenant Friend flew as the wing man for the Commander of the group, Col. B.O. Davis.  Lt. Col. Friend also served as Combat Operations Officer at the Squadron and Group levels.

Friend in 2015 turning 95 years old, holding the record as one of the oldest living original Tuskegee Airmen. President Barak Obama, former President George W. Bush and General Mark Welsh III of the United States Air Force acknowledged the occasion by sending their personal birthday wishes to Friend.

“On behalf of the men and women of the United States Air Force, happy 95th birthday! You belong to a treasured generation of selfless Airmen and your service continues to inspire our Airmen today. The Tuskegee Airmen, especially Red Tail pilots, proved time and time again to be among the most courageous trailblazers of America’s “Greatest Generation,” and we celebrate your role in that elite group.”-General Welsh

This year Friend was recognized at A USC  home game a Hero.inf front of 90.000 at the LA Coliseum.t. Col. Friend is a master bridge player who is well known and respected nationally, and often competes in national tournaments in his spare time. 

Lt. Col. Friend resides in Irvine California.  He has 7 children and numerous grand, great-grand, great-great grandchildren.