Local residents and military veterans gathered in McDonough recently to honor the life of a former Tuskegee Airman who dedicated his life to serving others.
Rudolph "Val” Archer of Atlanta passed away on October 3 at age 91. On Friday, a police motorcade escorted members of American Legion Post 516 and representatives from the VFW post in Stockbridge from Post 516 to the Veterans Wall at Heritage Park.
Approximately 50 people, including representatives from the American Legion and the VFW, gathered to pay tribute to Archer for the occasion. McDonough Mayor Billy Copeland presented an American flag to Archer’s wife, Victoria.
Archer, a World War II veteran, was born in Chicago on April 13, 1929. He served as an airplane mechanic and aircraft instrument specialist from January 1946 to September 1949. He was a member of the Atlanta Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, an original member of the 332nd Fighter Group under Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., and part of the 100th Fighter Squadron in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
Archer, who lived in Atlanta, joined Post No. 516 approximately five years ago. Army combat veteran Phillip Stewart of McDonough served during Operation Iraqi Freedom and gave a presentation in Archer’s honor Friday.
Stewart, 55, reflected with pride on his 10-year friendship with Archer.
"We kind of had a bond as far as being veterans of different conflicts,” said Stewart. "I would say that for whatever his reason, Val took me under his wing and mentored me.”
Archer’s fighting spirit was not limited to his military service.
Stewart said Archer was active in the Civil Rights Movement, as well as the Women’s Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s.
"He had a stellar military career, but that was just one season of his life,” said Stewart.
Stewart said Archer and the Tuskegee Airmen, in recent years, also put together a scholarship fund for underprivileged youths. He said Archer was also eager to help with other Legion projects whenever possible.
"He was always giving back,” said Stewart. "He was definitely a selfless servant, and very low-key. He always wanted to help others.”
Stewart said he hopes to follow the example set by Archer in the years to come.
"Val picked me to carry on his work,” said Stewart. "I, in turn, try to pass on his message of helping others on to my kids, and members of my community. I want to see Val’s teachings go on forever.”
In addition to his wife, Val Archer is also survived by their two daughters.
110 Walter Way # 1714 Stockbridge, GA 30281