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David Richards

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.

Accession Number

A2017.044

Sex

Male

Interview Date

02/10/2017

Last Name

Richards

Maker Category
Schools

Pepperdine University

Park University

C.C. Hubbard High School

Lincoln School

First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Sedalia

HM ID

RIC20

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

Success Awaits At Labor's Gates.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

3/19/1929

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Savannah

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

2/5/2019

Short Description

Military officer David Richards, Jr. (1929 - 2019) conducted over 11,000 parachute operations on behalf of the U.S. Army, and was inducted into the Parachute Rigger Warrant Officer’s Hall of Fame.

Employment

US Army

Saint Leo University

Savannah Tribune

Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department

Favorite Color

Purple

DAStories

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

Gen. James Boddie, Jr.

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. James T. Boddie was born on October 18, 1931 in Baltimore, Maryland. Boddie graduated from Fredrick Douglass High School in Baltimore in February 1949. Boddie received his B.S. degree in chemistry from Howard University in 1954, and his M.A. degree in public administration from Auburn University in 1975. In addition, Boddie completed military studies at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in 1971, and the Air War College in 1975.

Boddie received his U.S. Air Force officer’s commission through the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Program at Howard University, and then earned his wings in 1956. His first operational assignment was with the 560th Strategic Fighter Squadron at Bergstrom Air Force Base that was equipped with the F-84 Thunderstreak fighter plane. Boddie reported to Nellis Air Force Base in 1957 for gunnery and weapons delivery training in the F-100 Super Sabre. Upon completion, Boddie was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Europe Weapons Center in Tripoli, Libya where he served from until 1961. After his return to the United States in February 1961, Boddie assumed responsibilities as commandant of cadets at the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Program at Tuskegee Institute. In 1966, Boddie volunteered for combat duty in Southeast Asia, and was assigned to the 559th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base in the Republic of Vietnam. In addition to his duties as operations and scheduling officer, Boddie completed a total of two-hundred and one F-4 combat missions, fifty-seven of which were flown over North Vietnam. In 1980, Boddie was promoted to Brigadier General. He then served as aviation director in the Aircraft Management office, at NASA Headquarters, from 1991 to 1996; and, between 2006 and 2008, Boddie served as president of Texas Southern University.

Boddie’s experience as a command and combat pilot includes over five-thousand hours in jet fighter aircraft. His military decorations and awards include the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Meritorious Service Medal, thirteen Air Medals, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon, the Combat Readiness Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with palm, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal. Boddie also wears the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff badge.

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. James T. Boddie, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 28, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.026

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/28/2013

Last Name

Boddie

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Middle Name

Timothy

Occupation
Schools

Auburn University

Harvard University

Howard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Baltimore

HM ID

BOD02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Maryland

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

It is five o'clock somewhere.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

10/18/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Dallas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Brigadier general Gen. James Boddie, Jr. (1931 - ) has logged more than five-thousand hours and flown over two-hundred mission as a U.S. Air Force command pilot.

Employment

United States Air Force

Link flight Simulation Co.

Operational Technologies Services, Inc.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Texas Southern University

Favorite Color

Blue

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Boddie's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Boddie lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Boddie describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Boddie talks about his maternal grandfather, Reverend James Arthur Moore

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Boddie talks about his mother's friendship with Alberta Williams King

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Boddie talks about his mother's growing up in Atlanta, and her family's move to Chicago, Kansas City and Baltimore

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Boddie describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Boddie talks about his father's education and family

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Boddie describes how his parents met and their service in the Baptist church

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Boddie describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James Boddie describes how he met his wife, Mattie Dwiggins, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Boddie describes how he met his wife, Mattie Dwiggins, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Boddie talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Boddie describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Boddie describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Baltimore and Germantown, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Boddie describes his interest in airplanes, reading and photography

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Boddie describes his experience in school, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Boddie describes his experience in school, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Boddie talks about Jackie Robinson, Joe Louis and the Hindenburg disaster

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James Boddie discusses his and his family's political affiliations

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - James Boddie describes why he chose to attend Howard University in 1949

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Boddie talks about his siblings' education, high school, and his mentor, Lloyd N. Ferguson

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Boddie talks about the people he met at Howard University in the 1940s and 1950s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Boddie explains why he stopped playing football at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Boddie talks about his classmates at Howard University

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Boddie talks about being commissioned in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Boddie talks about his assignment to primary pilot training in Bartow, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Boddie talks about experiencing racism at primary pilot training in Bartow, Florida, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Boddie talks about experiencing racism at primary pilot training in Bartow, Florida, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Boddie talks about his assignments to Bergstrom Air Force Base and Nellis Air Force Base for F100 training

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Boddie describes his experience at Nouasseur Air Base in Morocco and at Wheelus Air Base in Libya, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Boddie describes his experience at Nouasseur Air Base in Morocco and at Wheelus Air Base in Libya, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Boddie talks about getting married in 1962

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Boddie describes his combat missions in the Vietnam War

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Boddie talks about his experience in Vietnam, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Boddie talks about his experience in Vietnam, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James Boddie discusses the absence of racial problems in Vietnam, and his limited exposure to Vietnamese civilian life

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - James Boddie talks about returning to the United States from his service in Vietnam in 1967

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - James Boddie talks about becoming a major in the U.S. Air Force, and his appointment to the 4457th Technical Training Wing

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - James Boddie describes his relationship to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Boddie talks about the March from Selma to Montgomery in 1965

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Boddie talks about visiting Martin Luther King in Montgomery a day after his house had been bombed

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Boddie talks about working at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and Randolph Air Force Base in the late 1960s and early 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Boddie describes his experience at the Air War College

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Boddie talks about his assignments at Langley Air Force Base and Moody Air Force Base

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Boddie talks about his experience at Osan Air Base in South Korea from 1978 to 1980, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Boddie talks about his experience at Osan Air Base in South Korea from 1978 to 1980, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James Boddie talks about his promotion to the rank of brigadier general, and his retirement from the U.S. Air Force in 1983

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - James Boddie talks about the use of flight simulators in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Boddie talks about his role as Director of Air Force Requirements for the Link Flight Simulation Division of the Singer Company

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Boddie talks about his service as Vice President of Operations and Business Development for Operational Technologies Services, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Boddie talks about his service as Director of Aviation for NASA's Aircraft Management Office, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Boddie talks about his service as Director of Aviation for NASA's Aircraft Management Office, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James Boddie talks about his company, Genesys Industries, and serving on the Board of Directors of the Military Officers Association

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James Boddie describes his decision to move to Plano, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James Boddie talks about his tenure as the interim president of Texas Southern University from 2006 to 2008

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James Boddie talks about the Republican Party's control in Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - James Boddie talks about travelling with his wife, attending ighter pilot reunions, and being diagnosed with cancer

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - James Boddie talks about being a member of the Tuskegee Airmen Organization

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - James Boddie discusses his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James Boddie reflects upon the status of African Americans in the U.S. military

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James Boddie reflects upon this life and career

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James Boddie reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - James Boddie talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - James Boddie talks about how he would like to be remembered