U.S. Army Air Corps Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Jefferson, with tears in his eyes, raised his fist in the air, the ninth grade students at Frederick Douglass Academy for Young Men said the creed.

In unison, the students recited “[…] honorable young men of integrity filled with potential and endless possibilities […] we will meet and exceed the expectations of those who came before us. This is our mission. This is our promise.”  

At 95, LTC not only inspired the students but were inspired by the students.  The retired U.S. Army veteran visited the school in October to regale students with his memories as a member of the historic Tuskegee Airmen in the 332nd Fighter Air Corps during World War II. 

Bringing is book, “Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman and POW”, and pictures of his military days, he told the students about his life as a Tuskegee Airman, including his time as a Prisoner of War during World War II, when his plane was shot down.

His plane was never recovered. 

LTC. Jefferson, 95, was born in Detroit as the oldest child of Alexander and Jane (White) Jefferson. He attended Detroit Public Schools graduating from Chadsey High School in 1938; He was the only African-American student in the graduating class. 

Later, LTC. Jefferson attended Clark Atlanta University, a Historically Black College and University, in Atlanta graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry and Biology. He returned to Detroit and received his Master’s degree from Wayne State University.