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Kenneth O. Wofford Sr.
*Kenneth Wofford Sr. was born on this date in 1922. He was a Black administrator and pilot.
From Wagoner, Oklahoma, he was the son of Clarence and "Queenie" Wofford. He had three brothers, Chester, Arthur, and Clarence, Jr. At age 5, his family moved to Carthage, Missouri, where he met his future wife, Willetta Mae Brinker; they were married in 1943. After high school, Wofford earned his flight wings at Moton Field, Alabama, in 1945.
He was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen and, during a 32-year U.S. Air Force career, flew numerous aircraft as part of his more than 9000 hours of flight in single and multi-engine aircraft. During his service, he served with Tactical Air Command, Air Defense Command, Military Airlift Command, United States Air Force Europe (twice), Pacific Air Command, and Air University. He had periods of duty in Joint-Service capacities with the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and NATO (National Atlantic Treaty Organization).
In 1977, after retirement from the military, he headed the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Aeronautics Office for ten years, where he was a manager. After retirement from the Minnesota Department of Transportation, he volunteered in numerous community organizations, of which the VA Hospital and Serviceman's Center are only two. Mentoring and educating youth brought him the most satisfaction. He was actively speaking in schools at all levels and with several veterans' groups until shortly before his passing.
He educated these groups about the challenges the Tuskegee Airmen faced and their achievements. He encouraged youth to consider the Aviation/Aerospace Industry as a career. He emphasized the importance of education and preparedness for emerging opportunities. He was passionate about and fully participated in the Commemorative Air Force and the Red Tail Project. Finally, he lived and espoused the motto of the Tuskegee Airmen - "Aim High"; and served as the ultimate role model for the youth he counseled and mentored.
In addition to many awards and recognition received during his Air Force career, he was inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame in 1999. He was honored as an Elder Statesman of Aviation by the National Aeronautic Association in 2001. In 2007, he was invited to the US Capitol Rotunda when the President of the United States honored the Tuskegee Airmen with a Congressional Gold Medal.
Kenneth O. Wofford Sr. of Golden Valley, Minnesota, passed away on September 5, 2010, at 87 and was buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.