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David Richards

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Information about David Richards

Profile image of David Richards

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Paratrooper
chief warrant officer
Military Officer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Success Awaits At Labor's Gates.

Birthplace

Born:
3/19/1929
Birth Location:
Sedalia, Missouri

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Paratrooper
chief warrant officer
Military Officer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Success Awaits At Labor's Gates.

Birthplace

Born:
3/19/1929
Birth Location:
Sedalia
See how David Richards is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Military officer David Richards was born on March 19, 1929 in Sedalia, Missouri to Christina Diggs Richards and David Richards. He attended Lincoln School and C.C. Hubbard High School in Sedalia. Richards then studied at the College of Mortuary Science in St. Louis, Missouri, graduating in 1951. Years later, Richards received his B.A. degree in business administration from Park College in Parkville, Missouri in 1975. Three years later, he earned his M.A. degree in human resources from Pepperdine University.

Upon graduating from high school, Richards joined the United States Army in 1946. He was stationed at Camp Stoneman in California, and deployed overseas to the Pacific Theater. Richards became a member of the U.S. Army band, and rose to head of the reed section. After completing U.S. Army service in 1948, Richards worked briefly as an apprentice mortician, and returned to the Army in 1954. He completed airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia and attended rigger school at Fort Lee, Virginia. He served ten years in the 612th Quartermaster Aerial Supply Company, and then transferred to the Artic Test Center in Fort Greenly, Alaska, where he tested airdrop equipment. Then, Richards was sent to the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Massachusetts, where he helped develop expendable parachutes for the Vietnam War. In 1968, Richards became the Army’s first African American warrant officer, and remained the sole African American in that rank until his retirement in 1983. After his Army career, Richards worked at the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department in staffing, and later as a crime prevention analyst. He continued teaching as an adjunct professor at Saint Leo University until 2000.

As the first African American warrant officer, Richards was inducted into the Parachute Rigger Warrant Officer’s Hall of Fame upon his retirement in 1983. Richards was also inducted into the Distinguished Order of Saint Martin within the Quartermaster Corps in the United States Army. He was a three time recipient of the Omega Man of the Year Award and the Superior Service Award. Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, Inc. also honored Richards with the Salute to Veterans Award.

Richards was a member of St. Philip A.M.E. Church in Savannah, Georgia. He also served as an advisor to the director of the West Board Street YMCA, as president for the Mental Health Association of the Coastal Empire, as vice chair of human services for Chatham County and as chairperson of the superintendent advisory council for the Chatham County Board of Education. Richards was a board member for the Frank Callen Boys and Girls Club, JHS of Savannah, the Meditation Center Board, the Martin Luther King Day Observance Committee and the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum.

Richards and his wife, Swannie Moore Richards have three children: David Richards III, Yvette Richards, and Bonnye Richards Anthony.

Richards passed away on February 5, 2019.

David Richards was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 9, 2017.

See how David Richards is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David Richards' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David Richards lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David Richards describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David Richards describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David Richards talks about how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David Richards describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David Richards remembers his community in Sedalia, Missouri
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David Richards describes his parents' occupations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David Richards remembers the Lincoln School in Sedalia, Missouri
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - David Richards remembers the Great Depression
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - David Richards recalls his childhood activities
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - David Richards remembers the faculty of the Lincoln School in Sedalia, Missouri
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David Richards remembers his activities at C.C. Hubbard High School in Sedalia, Missouri
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David Richards recalls the Taylor Chapel Methodist Church in Sedalia, Missouri
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David Richards remembers his prom
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David Richards describes his family vacations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David Richards remembers the businesses in Sedalia, Missouri
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David Richards recalls joining the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David Richards recalls the aftermath of World War II in the western Pacific
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David Richards remembers joining a U.S. Army band, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - David Richards remembers joining a U.S. Army band, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - David Richards talks about his military promotions
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David Richards recalls his training as a mortician
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David Richards remembers his decision to return to the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David Richards remembers his paratrooper training
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David Richards recalls attending parachute rigger school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David Richards remembers conducting parachute field tests
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David Richards describes his work at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David Richards remembers being denied a promotion
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David Richards remembers his promotion to warrant officer
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David Richards describes his duties as a warrant officer
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David Richards remembers meeting his wife
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David Richards talks about the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David Richards remembers his retirement from the U.S. military
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David Richards recalls his career at the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David Richards describes his college education
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - David Richards remembers his career as a professor
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - David Richards describes his organizational activities, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David Richards describes his organizational activities, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David Richards shares a message to future generations
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David Richards reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David Richards describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David Richards recalls serving as parade marshal for the Veteran's Council
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David Richards remembers his students
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - David Richards narrates his photographs