“Chief” Anderson postage stamp unveiled at historic site


Timothy Costello, USPS Alabama District manager, and Charles Anderson with "Chief"Anderson stamp.

TUSKEGEE, Alabama (April 16, 2014) — Charles Alfred “Chief” Anderson, one of the best-known Tuskegee Airmen instructors, was honored today by the U.S. Postal Service. A recently released Anderson First Class postage stamp was unveiled at the Tuskegee Airman National Historic Site at Moton Field. It is the 15th stamp in the Distinguished Americans series.

Anderson was the chief flight instructor of the flying school at Tuskegee Institute during World War II. He trained hundreds of the nation’s first black pilots who would later go on to earn distinction in more than 1,000 missions. 

“Without Chief Anderson none of this would have been possible,” William A. Campbell, judicial officer for USPS. 

Anderson, who died in 1996, spent 56 years as part of the Tuskegee community and shared his love of flying with countless young people including City of Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford. During the ceremony, Ford shared lessons that he learned and praised Anderson’s dedication to ensuring that the Tuskegee Airman site was given historic status.

“It was Chief Anderson who kept aviation alive at Moton Field,” Ford said. 

Charles Anderson, “Chief” Anderson’s son, said his father was not one to seek the spotlight, but he would be pleased to be recognized by his community. He remembered his father as a prankster who was very meticulous when it came to flight procedures and checklists. He said his father’s strict attention to detail was passed down to his trainees and helped shape them into superior pilots. 

“That’s what kept him safe,” Charles Anderson said. “On the ground, he was a prankster. But when he got behind those seats, it was all business.”

The Tuskegee Airman site celebrated the completion of eight years renovation and preservation work in February. Sandra Taylor, National Park Service superintendent, said Anderson “holds a special place in our hearts” and the renovation work includes the Hangar 2 addition, which displays Anderson exhibits and artwork. Part of the addition includes a theater where the documentary, “The Tuskegee Airman: Sacrifice and Triumph,” is regularly shown. The film’s narrator, actor Keith David, was a special guest at the unveiling. He said he was honored to be part of the film and he understood the singular place the Airmen have in history. 

“There’s being a serviceman and there’s being a Tuskegee Airman,” David said. “It has its own uniqueness and eliteness.”

Courtesy National Park Service.

Courtesy National Park Service.

Deanna Mitchell, National Park Service, and Charles Anderson hold up replica artwork of the "Chief"Anderson stamp.

Keith David speaks at unveiling ceremony.

© 2014 Tuskegee University

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