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Spurgeon Neal Ellington


In his book, The Tuskegee Airmen: The Men Who Changed A Nation, Charles E. Francis wrote:

“One of the most unforgettable characters I have ever met was Lieutenant Spurgeon Ellington. If there was ever a proud man, it was Ellington. He was not only proud of being a pilot, but proud in general. To him, there was only one person – Ellington. He figured he could out-talk and out-smart anyone. Needless to say, he also pictured himself as God’s gift to women.”

Francis tells the story of how, after receiving his wings, Spurgeon flew home for a visit and buzzed Main Street in the Twin City, for which he was later court martialed and fined back at Tuskegee, then immediately forgiven.

“Perhaps it was Ellington’s showmanship and ego that largely accounted for his success in combat. He could not conceive of any German pilot capable of shooting him down.”

And none did, which earned him an Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters and the nation’s third highest valor medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross.



  • Richard Hall

    Military | First Lieutenant | Fighter Pilot | 332nd Fighter Group

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Units served with

  • 15th Air Force

    15th Air Force

    The Fifteenth Air Force was one of two Strategic Air forces in Europe, along with the Eighth Air Force. ...

  • 332nd Fighter Group

    332nd Fighter Group

    The United States entered World War II with a military that was segregated by race and remained segregated until 1948. War Department planners generally placed White and African-American Army personnel in separate units during World War II. ...

  • 100th Fighter Squadron

    100th Fighter Squadron

    Established in February 1942 at Tuskegee Army Airfield, Alabama to train African-American flight cadets graduated from the Tuskegee Institute Army contract flying school. At Tuskegee, the squadron performed advanced combat flying training. As the...



Event Location Date
Born Winston-Salem, NC, USA 17 October 1919
Graduated Winston-Salem, NC, USA 1939

Winstom Salem Teachers College

Graduated Pilot Training/Commissioned Tuskegee, AL, USA 28 May 1943

Class 43-E-SE

Died Crystal Lake, Georgia 31783, USA 10 December 1945

Spurgeon was assigned as an instructor at a training base in Georgia. Then one day he was riding in the back seat with one of his fellow pilots. The plane crashed. A simple pilot’s mistake accomplished what no German pilot could. Spurgeon’s body came home on a train and was buried at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Winston-Salem.

Buried Winston-Salem, NC, USA 15 December 1945

Odd Fellows Cemetery
Forsyth County
North Carolina, USA


Date Contributor Update
03 December 2016 21:11:16 466thHistorian Changes to service number

Date Contributor Update
01 December 2016 17:43:18 466thHistorian Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nationality, highest rank, role, biography, events, unit associations, place associations and media associations