World War I   1917-1918

  Orval Carter
Co L 812 Pioneer Inf
Camp Grant Il.
Stepson of Lugene Carter

 Eugene Collins
 Eugene Collins served in the Army in the Signal Corps during WWI where he attained the rank of Sergeant Major.  He was stationed in France.  Eugene  passed away on October 31, 1990 in Detroit, Mich. Eugene James Collins was born September 12, 1894 in St Louis Missouri. He moved to Cedar Rapids Iowa to attend Coe College on a sports scholarship. Eugene was very much interested in scientific experiments. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Coe College in 1917. He later taught science at Tuskegee Institute and later served as Science Department head. Eugene served in the Army in the Signal Corps during WWI where he attained the rank of Sergeant Major. During his Army tenure, Eugene was stationed in France and while stationed there he took graduate classes at the Sorbonne University. Upon returning from his military duty, Eugene settled in Detroit Michigan where he married Josephine Corinthia Martin and was hired by the Ford Motor Company in 1919 as a Metallurgist retiring in 1958. His professional affiliations include: Detroit Society of Chemists, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, life member of the NAACP, African American Museum and Arden Park Historical Museum. Eugene passed October 31, 1990 from Padget's Disease in Detroit Michigan.

William Beshears

William Hutchason Beshears  Born Oct 12, 1892 to Strothers Beshears and Georgia Laniee in St. Joseph, Missiori.   Enlisted in the Army shortly after college in 1917.  He served in France and returned to Iowa City, Iowa in 1 July 1919.   He was 1st :Lieutenant D. C. Res.  

World War II    1941-1945

Shellie Culp
US Army 1942
Shellie Culp was born May 7, 1921 in  Milan Tenn .  He lived there until his induction into the Army in 1942.  Shellie served his country honorably in adverse and dangerous conditions during World War II with assignments in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater, Australia, New Guinea and the Southern Philippines.  During his service, Shellie received the following commedations: World War II Victory Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Asian-Pacific Theater Ribbon, two Bronze Stars and the Philippines Liberation Ribbon.  Shellie was honorably discharged from the Army in 1946 and returned to Tennessee, where he married Mamie Frames in 1947 and then moved to Cedar Rapids and worked at  Penford  Products for 35 years until his retirement.  He passed away on January 10, 2005.

Arnold Chipley was born  2/11/1915 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to George and Della  Jones Chipley.  He served in the army, World War II and he was employed at Penick and Ford for 41 years.  He passed away on May 18, 1991.

Emmitt Eugene"Gene"Doolin Sr. 

Emmitt Eugene"Gene"Doolin, Sr. was born May 17, 1924, the son of Emmitt and Lucille Mallory Doolin in Palmyra , Missouri.   The family moved to the Quad City area in the late 1930's, where he  spent his   adolescent years until he joined the armed forces.  Emmitt  served with the United States Army during World War II, where he was awarded two bronze stars.  He passed away November 13, 2001 .

Pictured :  Emmitt Eugene "Gene" Doolin Sr. and Wallace E. "Bill"  Brooks.  Bill was born Feb. 5, 1921 in Davenport, Iowa.  He married Ellen Alnutt of Cedar Rapids and was a resident here for two years   He served with the United States Army during World War II   He passed on March 8, 1965 survived by his wife and daughter, Linda Brooks.  .  Burial Linwood Cemetary.

Emmitt " Gene" Doolin and Wallace"Bill" Brooks


Sidney James Nance Sr.

Allen Bell Sr
US Army

Art Taylor
US Army
World War II


Dr Russell L Collins
       authored by Imelda K Collins                                                                                  


Dr Russell L Collins joined the ROTC while attending Coe College.  He was the first ROTC student to receive a reserve commission during the middle of the academic school year.  It is believed to be the highest rank held by an African American in the ROTC program throughout the country.  He receive the Chicago Triouse Medal for outstanding cadet, commendation from summer camp and a trip to President Truman's inauguration as a member of the Honor Guard. 

Russell Collins

Russell Collins

Russell Collins attended the Negro Training Air Field in Tuskegee Alabama.  This was the home of the Tuskegee Airmen, the prestigious fighter pilots who were asked by many of the white pilots to be escorted by them.  Because there was only one Army Air School for African Americans, Russell lost a lot of time waiting for an opening at Tuskegee.  He arrived toward the end of the program, and he was still at gunnery school when the war with Germany ended.  On Saturday, November 9, 2002, the Iowa Tuskegee Airmen Memorial was dedicated and the twelve (12) Tuskegee Airmen from Iowa were there for the dedication.  This Memorial is an extension exhibit of the Fort Des Moines Memorial Park and Education Center.  This park honors the US Army's initial officer training open to black men in 1917 and women in 1942.

P-51D Mustang Aircraft with the Red Tail Angel colors,

the 332nd Fighter Group colors

On Saturday, October 7, 2006, the twelve (12) Iowa Tuskegee Airmen were inducted into the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame in Greenfield Iowa.  In all, 922 men earned pilots wings at the Tuskegee Army Air Field, seventy-eight (78) airmen died in World War II, and thirty-two (32) were

Tuskegee Airmen Airplane

Tuskegee Airmen
Russell L Collins' Grauating Class
March 11, 1945
Moton Field
Tuskegee Institute Alabama

Tuskegee Airmen
From Left:  Russell L Collins (Cedar Rapids Iowa),
William Bibbs (Ottumwa Iowa), and
Thurman Spriggs (Des Moines Iowa)

Russell Collins' Graduating Class 1947
(He's in the 2nd row, 4th from left or 3rd from right)

                                                              Yvonne Altheda Wilson
Women's Army Corps
    1944 World II
    (deceased April 1955-Calif)

Company 6 3rd Reg. First WAC Training Center, Fort Des Moines Iowa - 8 August 1944
Lt Vera G Campbell, Comanding Officer; Lt Thelma B Brown, Second in Command
Lt Julia H Williams, Supply Officer; Lt Helma D Williams, Recreational Office
                                          (Altheda in 4th row -3rd from right end)

Floyd Akers Jr
Navy Seabees

Thomas Wingfield
Joined Navy at age of 16

Sidney Tate

Harold "Peanuts" Thompson

Photo                                                  Certificticate

Edward T Smith
Oct 1, 1945                                                       Oct 6,1944 AAF  ID card
Embarkation Certificate

John Wesley Collins was born June 12, 1915 in Minneapolis MN.   He was the son of the late Reverend John Wesley and Anna Collins.  (Rev. Collins preached at Bethel AME, Cedar Rapids)
John was married  to the former JoEtta Price 8/30/1943.  The union continued for 65 years.  They moved to Cedar Rapids in 1945 and lived in the same house (903 8th St. S. E.) until the flood of 2008.  John Collins started his federal service with the Rock Island Arsenal in 1938.  After serving in the Armed Forces for two years, he transferred to the Cedar Rapids post office in 1945. 
Federal Judge Edward McManus appointed Collins baliff in 1963 and in 1966 he was appointed deputy clerk in charge of federal jurors.  Other duties of the job included serving as baliff when Judge McManus was presiding over a court session.  John was also appointed by President Johnson to the five-man Linn County Draft Board while serving as deputy clerk.  After three years of serving on the board, he was elected chairman.  John continued his post office work serving a downtown parcel post route.  The Cedar Rapids Post Office was quite proud of its letter-carrying Collins trio: ( veteran member George Collins -unrelated and James Collins, a brother to John). 
John retired after his 34-year federal career on June 30, 1972, looking forward to retirement and "a lot of fishing".   He passed away on December 6, 2008.   
Henry Davison
retired 20 years 1966

James Collins
US Air Force

Henry Lee Dawson

George Washington Turner

Amity Blakey

Amity Blakey born September 15, 1921, graduated from McKinley High School.  Some years after graduating from McKinley, Amity joined the Marines for approximately two years. At this particular time, the Marines would only allow one Black to enter per year. He was stationed at Montford Point North Carolina which was where the Blacks were trained.  Amity was one of the LAST Buffalo Solders.
 Upon returning, he entered Wilborforce College in Ohio and later transferred to Coe College. He was unable to graduate from Coe and had to quit because the GI Bill would no longer cover his schooling. This affected all veterans going to school at this time

Albert Carr III

Albert Carr II
Earl Carr
                                                         1st Black Marine from Iowa                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                          Albert Carr      
                     Army  WW I  





James E. Backstrom

 Lewis D Patterson Jr, was a member of the United States Army from February 17, 1953 until February 17, 1955.  He received an Honorable Discharge from active duty.  His rank at that time was Sergeant


Dwayne Ampey
US Marine Corp
Korean War

James "Jimmy" Ampey
U. S. Marine Corps
Korean War
discharge 5/16/60


Herschell D. E. Pickens II
Air Force

James Evan Phillips
Charles E. Castine
US Air Force
Oct. 20, 1953

Garland Davis


 Eddie  Washington Jr.
  US Army

 Charles  Alnutt
Air Force
Korean War

Jack Reed
US Army


Mack  Gibson
US Navy -1953
16 years old 

Mack Gibson
US Army
Special Forces Unit
Vietnam 1967



William "Bill" Elam

Keever Davis
US Air Force

Raymond Akers
US Air Force

Marvin Hillsman
US Army

 Alvin Beets
 US Army

Robert Atkinson II
US Army

 August 10, 1967, Robert M. Atkinson, II was selected as the Honor Graduate and a Distinguished Graduate based upon the recommendation of his company commander, as well as senior officers of the U S Army Signal  School at Fort Gordon, Georgia in competition with forty-five other Officer Candidates which graduated 8/10/1967.  After completing officer school he served in Vietnam.  After the war he earned an MBA at Washington Univ in St. Louis and M.S. and Ph. D degrees from Carnegie-Mellon Univ in Pittsburgh, Pa.  He went to Florida A and M Univ School of Business and Industry, Tallahassee in 1982 from the Univ Ill where he had been an associate professor of business.  From there he went to Merck and Co in Whitehouse , NJ  as Director, Procurement Business Planning Manufacturing Division.   A most recent move has been to the Atlanta Georgia area. (The Cedar Rapids Gazette 3/29/1992; The Black Collegian 2/1997 pg180.)

Reginald Gibson
US Air Force

Reginald "Reggie" Gibson - February 5, 1939 to October 10, 2008 was born and raised in Cedar Rapids. Reggie graduated from High School in June 1957. He entered college in 1962. While at Coe, Reggie was in the ROTC He was the first Black to be commissioned an officer as a 2nd Lieutenant in active service . He earned his BA at Coe, a Master of Science degree in management from the University of Southern California and a Master of Business Administration from Auburn University. He served worldwide duty in the US Air Force Medical Service Corps for 22 years, retiring in 1964 as a Lieutenant Colonel. Military awards include Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal and the Vietnam Campaign Medal for his two tours of duty in Cam Ranh Bay Vietnam.  Immediately after retiring from the Air Force he began his second career in hospital administration as president and CEO of St Anne's Hospital in Chicago and then went onto lead Central Hospital in St. Louis as President and CEO.  Later he moved to Evansville, Ind to assume the executive director of St Elizabeth Hospital.

Joe H  Brewster 
 Joe H. Brewster was born April 29, 1948 in Milan, Tennesee, the son of Lee and Minnie (Bell) Brewster.  A graduate of Kennedy High School, he served with the US Navy during the Vietnam War.  On April 12, 1974, Joe was united in marriage to Jessie Watkins in Cedar Rapids.  He worked for Rinderknecht &   Associates , Cedar Rapids Asphalt and Quaker Oats Company.  He was a member of Redemption Baptist Church and enoyed fishing and working in his garden, especially tending his flowers..  He passed on Aug 17, 2993..  Military rites were provided by American Legion Hanford Post 5.  He is buried in Oakhill Cemetary.

Steven Taylor

Steven Taylor was born in Cedar Rapids 4/3/1942,   Steven joined the U S Marines Corp in 1961 and served 28 years.  He was awarded the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service in Combat Operations in  Vietnam.    He retired  and lived in Olongapo, Phillipines  He passed on June 13, 2011  and is buried in the Phillipines.

Larry Buck was born December 13, 1948.  He moved to Cedar Rapids from Chicago, with his family and attended Tyler Elementary, McKinley and Washington High School.  He attended Jackson Missouri University and enlisted in the US Army November 12, 1969.  He was a veteran of the Vietnam War and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and received a medal for being a sharpshooter.  He passed away November 25, 2005

Kai  M Collins
US Navy

Baylor C Goode II
US Navy

Paul  Beets Jr.

Terri Taylor
 US Navy


Alexia Blakey Taylor
US Army

Stacey Taylor
US Air Force

Marc Sturges
US Army
Mark Taylor
US Army

Kenneth Jackson
US Army
Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo

Kevin Jackson




Mercedes M Prince
US National Guard

Richard F Johnson
US Marines

Roland Sirlona

Susan L Brooks
US Army

Larita Sirlona
US Army

Sarah Michael

                      Sylvester Michael
                           Gulf War

Rev. Lonnie J Jordan IV   May 22, 1960 - October 29, 2002. He was in the US   Army where he earned the following: Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Riflle Marksman (M16) and 2nd Class Hand Grenade

Linda (McGowan ) Sanders
 Air Force

Paul Anthony Brooks