Woody Crockett grew up in an Arkansas sharecropping community and aspired to be a mathematician. But in 1940, when he could no longer afford the community college tuition in Little Rock, he decided to join the military. He enlisted in one of the first black units in what was then the Army Air Corps. Living as a private on a salary of $21 a month, he soon was drawn to a recruitment poster that read: “Be a pilot, bombardier, navigator and earn $245 per month.”
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