History Harvest

Ralph Orduna of the Tuskeegee Airmen

Dublin Core


Ralph Orduna of the Tuskeegee Airmen


Ralph Orduna was born in Omaha and went to Westside Elementary and South High School. He began working at the Martin Bomber Plant sometime after it opened near Omaha in the Spring of 1941, and became the youngest supervisor at the plant. During World War II, he enlisted in the US Army Air Corps and became a fighter pilot as one of the "Tuskeegee Airmen," the popular name for the African-American pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group in the Army Air Corps. As a member of the Tuskeegee Airmen, Mr. Orduna flew multiple recon and bomber escort missions over enemy territory. He was a member of the first all-black fighter pilot group in the 301 Fighter Squadron of the 15th Air Force's 332 Fighter Group. Following his military service, he studied for a commercial pilot’s license under the GI Bill, but was unable to gain employment, as airlines were not hiring black pilots at the time. Ralph Orduna passed away on May 27, 2003.

This collection was brought to us by Philip Orduna Reis, the son of Ralph Orduna. Phillip is active in the local chapter for Tuskeegee Airmen, and attends national conferences that seek to curate the history of the group. The Omaha chapter is named after Alfonza W. Davis, an Omaha Tech graduate who went on to be a squadron leader as a Tuskeegee Airmen, and was killed in action near the end of the war. This collection was donated at the 2011 North Omaha History Harvest.


Ralph Orduna of the Tuskeegee Airmen, North Omaha History Harvest, 2011


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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