Six degrees of separation, a small world, or fate – However you look at it, it’s unmistakable that the “most forgotten” aviation pioneer in American history left an indelible mark on a pilot and commander at the 186th Air Refueling Wing (ARW).
Col. Edward Evans, Jr., commander of the 186th ARW and pilot, received the opportunity of a lifetime when he was chosen by the Mississippi National Guard to represent our state and speak at a wreath laying ceremony June 2 – 7 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The ceremony was to honor the legacy of Col. John Robinson and was also in conjunction with the delivery of a C-130 from the U.S. to Ethiopia.
To better understand the significance and relationship between Col. Evans and Col. Robinson, you have to first get a glimpse of the historical context between the two.
Col. Robinson was an African American pilot from Gulfport, Mississippi as is Col. Evans. Their families knew each other being from the same neighborhood. In fact, had Evans been 60 years older, they would have lived across the street from one another.