Area airport celebrates big milestone with new name

Lt. Col. Alva Temple Terminal

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – The Columbus Lowndes County Airport continued its 70th Anniversary celebration, and the terminal was renamed in honor of Tuskegee Airman Lieutenant Colonel Alva Temple.

Often we hear about things coming back full circle. We learned not only was Lieutenant Colonel Alva Temple a long-time resident here in Columbus but he also owned land where the Columbus Lowndes County Airport sits.

His granddaughter said some was taken due to eminent domain, but there are renaming the Airport to bring honor to the life and the legacy of Lieutenant Colonel Alva Temple.

“There is still a lot that is left unsaid, the stories of the actions and their heroism,” Lt. Col. Aaron Jones said.

Service members, along with Alva Temple’s family and community members, gathered at the Columbus Lowndes County Airport to honor the legacy and life of Temple who was a Lieutenant Colonel with the Tuskegee Airmen.

Temple completed over 120 missions traveling worldwide, serving the United States for 20 years. He competed and won the first Top Gun Award in 1949, yet the award was only made official decades later, due to racial bias.

“Even though they fought from start to finish, the significance is that no matter how hard they worked and how dedicated they were, they were not recognized,” Senior Master Sergeant Monieka Lucas said.

Beyond the uniform, Temple was said to be a God-fearing man, husband, father, and grandfather and known by many as a hard worker.

“He was a very modest man. He didn’t talk much about his career other than to say it was a job he had to do, and he did his job, and I think that is just who he was,” Granddaughter Angie Billups Washington said.

Airport Manager Dan Duston believes today was an example to all dreamers to work hard and let their aspirations fly higher.

“If their passion is in aviation, it can be in anything, we just want to use this all as a tool to encourage our youth,” Duston said.

The Mayor presented the Temple family with a proclamation from the city, declaring April 28 Lt. Col. Alva Temple Day.

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