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CDR Howard Walter Gilmore

Commanding Officer, USS GROWLER

"For conspicuous gallantry and valor above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the USS GROWLER during her Fourth War Patrol in the Southwest Pacific from 10 January to 7 February 1943.Boldly striking at the enemy in spite o ontinuous hostile air and antisubmarine patrols, Commander Gilmore sank one Japanese freighter and damaged another by torpedo fire, successfully evading severe depth charges following each attack. In the darkness of night on 7 February, an enemy gunboat closed range and prepared to ram the GROWLER. Commander Gilmore daringly maneuvered to avoid the crash and rammed the attacker instead, ripping into her port side at 17 knots and bursting wide her plates. In the terrific fire of the sinking gunboat's heavy machine guns, Commander Gilmore calmly gave the order to clear the bridge, and refusing safety for himself, remained on deck while his men preceded him below. Struck down by the fusillade of bullets and having done his utmost against the enemy, in his final living moments, Commander Gilmore gave the last order to the deck, 'Take her down.'The GROWLER dived; seriously damaged but under control, she was brought safely to port by her well-trained crew inspired by the courageous fighting spirit of their dead captain."

WHEREAS, Captain Mac Ross was born in rural Dallas County, near Selma, Alabama on June 12, 1912, one of ten children of Samuel and Willie B. Collins Ross; and

WHEREAS, Mac Ross moved with his family to Dayton, Ohio in the late 192os, He attended West Virginia State College where he entered the

Civilian Pilot Training Program in 1939. He graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in 1940; and WHEREAS, after receiving his pilot's license, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps at Fort Thomas, Newport, Kentucky. He was initially sent to Selfridge Air Field in . Mt. Clemens, Michigan and then to Moton Field in Tuskegee, Alabama; and WHEREAS, Tuskegee Army Flying School was activated in July 1941. On March 7, 1942, Mac Ross was in the first class of Black cadets to graduate from the U.S. Army Air Corps basic and advanced flyingschool, Tuskegee, Alabama - Air Corps Training Detachment at Tuskegee Institute, and receive Army Air Corps silver pilot wings. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. Thirteen cadets entered the program

but only five successfully completed it; and

WHEREAS, on May 26, 1942, the 100th Fighter Squadron, the first of the famed 332nd Fighter Group known as the "The Red Tails", was activated

under the leadership of Lt. Mac Ross who became the youngest Squadron Commander in the field. In July 1943, Mac Ross was promoted to Group Operations Officer; and WHEREAS, the 332nd Fighter Group

completed combat training at Selfridge Army Air Field and Oscoda Army Air Field in Michigan in late 1943. In January 1944, they departed for Taranto and Naples, Italy. In June 1944, the 332nd transferred

to Ramitelli, located near Termoli, Italy. The primary was escort duty for the seventeen Bomber Groups of the 15th U. S. Army Air Force.; and WHEREAS, on July 10, 1944, Capt. Mac Ross crashed and died

while out on mission flying a P-51 Mustang. He is buried in the Sicily- Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno, Italy; and WHEREAS, Captain Mac Ross completed more than fifty combat missions

during World War II. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit, numerous campaign medals and the Purple Heart; and WHEREAS, on June 27, 1989, the U.S. Postal Service in Dayton

Ohio, posthumously dedicated the Mac Ross Memorial Philatelic Room. The tribute said in part: "No greater can a man be than to give up his

life for his country ... A young black man, one of ten children, a college graduate, becoming one of the first black pilots in the U.S. Air Force, then a Commander of a Pursuit Squadron, manifests these three hallowed

words echoed in time: obedience, integrity and courage. As a role model for today's youth, Mac Ross has stood the lasting test. The indomitable and unflagging determination of Captain Mac

Ross in 1944 is still applicable in 1989 and will be in the year 2000. It is men like him who are the bricks and stones that make our country great. Mac Ross is a symbol of what men can achieve and what they should strive for." NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that, I, Mayor George Patrick Evans, on behalf of city government and the citizens of

Selma, Alabama, do hereby recognize the bravery and sacrifice of Dallas County native, Captain Mac Ross, and urge all citizens to honor his memory and the legacy of the Tuskegee Airrnen.

Selma native Commander Howard Walter Gilmore

Above, a monument at Selma’s Memorial Stadium honoring Gilmore,

It reads:

Selma native Lieutenant Mac Ross

The City of Selma issued the following proclamation