Dr Granville Coggs – Another Tuskegee Pilot Passes at 93

By Faye Higbee

Dr Granville Coggs was deeply proud of his service as a Tuskegee Airman. The fact that he was given a chance to prove his mettle was something he cherished. He passed into eternity on Monday, May 6, in San Antonio, Texas.

Dr Coggs was drafted into the Army Air Corps in 1943, and subsequently applied and was accepted into the new Tuskegee Airmen program. Though the military was segregated at the time, he always said that if they’d just give blacks a chance, they would ‘meet every challenge.’ He lived up to those words.

As a pilot, Dr Coggs earned badges for multi-engine pilot,
aerial gunner, and aerial bombardier. As one of the first Tuskegee Airmen, he was given the Congressional Gold Medal along with others (or their surviving spouses) of the program in 2007.

The original gold medal is on display at the Smithsonian. The individual medals were bronze.

But Granville Coggs didn’t let any grass grow under his feet when he left the program in 1946. He retired from the Air Force Reserve in 1985 as a Lieutenant Colonel. He enrolled in Harvard Medical school, graduating in 1953. In 1959 he became the first black doctor at Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Francisco.

By 1975, he was a tenured professor at the University of Texas Health Sciences division in San Antonio. According to Spectrum Local News, “in 1983 he created the San Antonio Breast Evaluation Center, specializing in diagnosis.” He invented a “noninvasive” device for breast cancer detection.

He also recited poetry, played and sang with various musical groups. He was a gold medalist in the Senior Olympics. He and his wife, Maud, were married for 73 years, which is an enormous accomplishment on its own. He met her during his military training, according to Stripes.

Dr Coggs was described by many outlets as a “renaissance man.” His accomplishments were many, his life well-lived. That he was an asset to America, there is no doubt.