Remembering William Rice of Morton, a Tuskegee Airman

William Rice with an image of his World War II plane, the P-51 Mustang
Image via the Daily Times
William Rice with an image of his World War II plane, the P-51 Mustang

William Rice of Morton flew 34 combat missions in Europe and received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 for his service as a Tuskegee Airman, writes Kathleen E. Carey for the Daily Times.

Mr. Rice died Sunday at home, days before his 99th birthday.

William Rice flew a P-51 Mustang, a Red Tail Fighter with the 332nd Fighter Group in Europe during World War II.

The entire time he flew it, the tachometer didn’t work.

“The day I turned in the plane, the tachometer started working,” he said in a 2012 Daily Times interview.

His daughter Janice Rice Robinson described him as the most patriotic person she had ever met despite segregation and Jim Crow, who never had an unkind word and who demonstrated humility.

Mr. Rice grew up in Nether Providence and dreamed of being a pilot, watching National Guard planes fly overhead.

He enlisted in the Army Air Corps at 19 and was sent to Italy in 1945. One combat mission included a flight to Berlin, 1,600 miles into Germany, where he shot down three German jets in a single day.

He worked at Boeing for 41 years as a tool keeper after his military service, retiring in 1993.

Read more about the life of William Rice at the Daily Times.

William Rice talks about his time with the Tuskegee Airmen.

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