‘This is our history’: Tuskegee Airman reflects on impact 332nd fighter group had on America

Lt. Col. Enoch ‘Woody’ Woodhouse visits VMI to share a special message

LEXINGTON, Va. – Lieutenant Colonel Enoch “Woody” Woodhouse II played a major role in American history. Despite being hailed a hero by others, he doesn’t view himself as such.

“I don’t consider myself a hero. The true heroes are at Arlington National. The true heroes are not with us,” said Woodhouse.

He was part of the 332nd fighter group, typically referred to as the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of predominately black fighter pilots who fought in World War II. In a time when segregation was still prominent in America, Woodhouse didn’t know the impact they would eventually have on the country.

“We were so busy trying to cope with the present situations, the present injustices, that we did not have the potential to see how America could change for the better,” he said,

Their efforts were not forgotten. In 1948, the United States Armed Forces was integrated. The Tuskeegee Airmen set the stage for future servicemen and servicewomen.

“I am good enough, I am important enough. I am as qualified as the next person on the resume and I don’t have to face the same obstacles,” said VMI Cadet Mariah Woods.

As Woodhouse prepares to take the stage at VMI, his accomplishments and reputation precede him.

“He is the epitome of what we seek to do with our lives, what we seek to be, so it’s a huge inspiration to have him here speaking to us,” said VMI Cadet Dennison Kelly.

His message is one of unity.

“I’m speaking about American history. This is our history. Not mine, not yours, but ours,” Woodhouse said.

About the Author

Alyssa Rae grew up in Roanoke and graduated from Virginia Tech. An avid sports fan, she spent her first 8 years in TV as a sports anchor and reporter.

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