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Weldon K. Groves

Born: May 22, 1917, Edwardsville, Kansas. Married: Ophelia Leora Madison, circa 1945. Died: May 12, 2008, Tacoma, Washington.

Weldon K. Groves was born May 22, 1917, in Edwardsville, Kansas, to Walter P. and Alice A. Groves. He was the grandson of Junius and Matilda Groves, successful farmers who established a community near Edwardsville.

Groves attended the University of Kansas and earned a degree in biology in 1940 from Sam Houston College, Huntsville, Texas. He had planned to become a doctor, but decided to join the military on October 21, 1942, and was accepted into an early group of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, the segregated Army Air Corps squadron. He graduated as a second lieutenant from pilot training on June 30, 1943. In 93 combat missions in the European Theater he flew P-39, P-47, and P-51 aircraft. Groves shot down a ME-109 in Italy on July 18, 1944, while flying with the 302nd Fighter Squadron. He served as an advanced instructor pilot and chief instrument examiner. In 1948 he served as a flight commander at Lockbourne Air Base in Columbus, Ohio. In 1949 Groves cross-trained in weather and commanded military weather detachments. He held a civilian post at McChord Air Force Base, in Pierce County, Washington.

Groves retired from active duty on April 30, 1964, at the rank of major and later was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He lived in Lakewood, Pierce County, Washington, and was a founding member of the local chapter of Tuskegee Airmen. He and his wife had three sons and one daughter. He died May 12, 2008, and was buried at Tahoma National Cemetery, Kent, Washington.

Entry: Groves, Weldon K.

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: December 2013

Date Modified: January 2014

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.