September 26, 2004 by

Alva Temple


Categories: Military

Col. Alva Temple, a Mississippi veteran who flew 120 missions during World War II, died on Aug. 28. Cause of death was not released. He was 86.
A member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, Temple was one of the first black combat pilots in U.S. military history. He served in Italy, France and the Balkans with the 99th Pursuit Squadron during World War II. Only 992 black pilots graduated from the experimental training program at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Ala. These airmen were known as “Red Tails” for the color painted on the rear section of their planes.
Born in Carrollton, Ala., Temple studied agricultural education at Alabama A&M University. After the war, he enjoyed a two-decade career in the U.S. Air Force. Temple retired from the service in 1962, and ran a gas station in Columbus, Miss.

2 Responses to Alva Temple


    I had the honor of interviewing Col. Alva Temple for a project while in college. It was truly an honor to have met such a magnificent person. Especially one who had torn down barriers for black people in the military during the time as the nation was getting out of segregation.

  2. alfonso thompson

    in may of 1949 the air force held its first gunnery meet at nellis air force base in los vegas.the 332nd team was made up of alva temple james harvey,and harry stewart with halbert alexander as altinate.the black men of the 332nd won the first place trophy in their class.they flying the p47n thunderbolt.

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