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Tuskegee Airman from Roxbury honored at Veterans Day event in Somerville

Enoch "Woody" Woodhouse, 95, one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, saluted during a visit to The Moving Wall in Assembly Row.Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

SOMERVILLE — One of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen was honored for his service at a Veteran’s Day weekend event at Assembly Row on Sunday.

Enoch “Woody” Woodhouse, a 95-year-old Roxbury native, attended a ceremony closing the holiday weekend events in the city, which for the first time hosted The Moving Wall, a half-sized reproduction of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., that travels to cities and towns across the country.

The wall has been on display at Assembly Row since Thursday. This was Woodhouse’s first time seeing the wall, but he has seen the original in Washington many times, he said.


“This is a beautiful wall. It’s an honor to be here,” Woodhouse told the crowd. “Even if it was 10 degrees below zero and there was 5 inches of snow, I would be here.”

Woodhouse was part of the 332nd Fighter Group, a World War II Army Air Forces unit known as the Tuskegee Airmen. The squadron, which consisted of 992 pilots and more than 14,000 other personnel, led bomber escort missions, flew over 15,000 sorties — single-plane attacks — in Europe and North Africa, and served as crucial bomb aimers, instructors, mechanics, and support staff, according to the National WWII Museum’s website.

“In January, I’ll be 96. I enlisted in the army at 17, right out of high school,” Woodhouse said during the ceremony.

He said his mother told him and his brother that America was at war, and she wanted them to serve their country. In 1941, Woodhouse enlisted in the Army Air Forces. He then served as a finance officer for the Tuskegee Airmen from 1946 to 1948.

Wilson and Esther Lee, who have been friends with Woodhouse since 1969, said he is very humble, and they didn’t know he was a Tuskegee Airman when they first met him.


“He really bridges the gap between all ethnicities,” said Wilson Lee, president of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance Boston Lodge.

Ted Louis-Jacques, Somerville’s director of veterans services, said the city was “just humbled to have him as part of our closing ceremony.”

Louis-Jacques, who served nine years in the US Army before joining the Army Reserves, said Somerville officials have been planning for the visit from The Moving Wall and the city’s other Veterans Day events since February.

“As a veteran myself, having the wall here in our community is even more special,” he said. “It symbolizes the ultimate sacrifice veterans made.”

Haley Hersey can be reached at haley.hersey@globe.com.