HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A local member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen of World War Two has been honored by Congress for his service to the country. Friday afternoon, Dr. Needham Jones, Sr., received the Congressional Gold Medal from Rep. Steven Palazzo in a ceremony at the Lake Terrace Convention Center.
Jones was a corporal in the Army Air Corps and served as part of ground support for the 99th Pursuit Squadron, a highly-decorated all-black unit also known as the "Red Tails."
After the war, he became an educator for more than 30 years in Marion and Stone counties.
"It's something that I didn't think would ever happen," said Jones. "I thought that they had forgotten about the work and the trouble and the humiliation and all that we had to go through," he said.
"We've tried to recognize them in a fashion that would do honor to their service, do honor to the country and also, thank their families," said Palazzo.
Jones has six children, 17 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.