SACRAMENTO – Every year during Black History Month, George Wyatt Porter would visit schools and participate at events around Sacramento to tell the story of the Tuskegee Airmen. The Tuskegee Airmen are African American soldiers who overcame segregation and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected fighter groups during World War II.
It was only fitting that Porter, an officially documented original Tuskegee Airman, would be called home during the month he was most busy here on Earth.
Porter, 91, passed away on February 9. Funeral services were held this week at the St. Andrews AME Church in downtown Sacramento.
St. Andrews was his home church.
Porter, born Sept. 19, 1921, in Slidell, Louisiana, was a member of Sacramento’s George S. “Spanky” Roberts chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen.
“I am going to miss ‘Big George,’” said Mrs. Edith Roberts, the wife of “Spanky” Roberts, for whom the local chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen organization is named.
With tears filling her eyes, Mrs. Roberts said, “He was a dear friend, a good man, and a great soldier. He represented us well.”
Porter entered the military in October 1942 and was selected to be a Tuskegee Airman at Tuskegee, Ala.
After attending Airplane and Engine Mechanics School at Lincoln Field in Nebraska, Porter returned to Tuskegee Air Field as a crew chief and squadron inspector.
Porter also served as a flight engineer for the 477th Bombardment Group in 1945.
Porter married Pauline Hendricks on Sept. 3, 1949. To this union was born one daughter, Linda George Porter.
He retired from the U.S. Military after 23 years of service in September 1965.
After moving to Sacramento, Porter worked for the United States Postal Service as a postal clerk. He later accepted a position at McClellan Air Force Base as an Aircraft Maintenance Management specialist. Even later he transferred to Aerojet General Corp.’s Engineering and Program Division as a logistic management officer.
After 65 years, in 2007, President George W. Bush presented the Congressional Gold Medal to all members of the original Tuskegee Airmen, including Porter.
A dedicated Tuskegee Airman, Porter once told a reporter that the Tuskegee Airmen’s story “should be in all history books.”
Porter was preceded in death by his parents; his wife of 53 years Pauline Hendricks Porter Winston; granddaughter Maya Eliza Porter Avery; one brother Robert Samuel Porter; one half-sister Mildred Crawford; and a niece Yvonne Brookter Watson.
Left to cherish Porter’s memory are daughter Linda George Porter Winston; son-in-law Forest Winston Jr.; grandson Mark Jue Baham Jr.; great grandson Mavyrk Jaiden Baham; a niece he raised Emma Maxie Scott; and a host of loyal nieces, nephews, cousins, and devoted relatives and friends.
By Antonio R. Harvey
OBSERVER Staff Writer