CEDAR PARK--Austin Community College hosted a veteran's appreciation day and open house that included a special guest speaker--one of the original Tuskegee Airmen.
Dr. Granville Coggs captivated a packed room at the Austin Community College Cypress Creek campus. He was drafted to serve in World War II at the age of 18.
"Received a draft notice from my draft board in the Fall of '43 when I was in Howard University, saying I was going to be drafted. I realized I didn't want to be drafted because I'd wind up in the infantry, and I didn't think that would enhance my survival," said Coggs.
Coggs applied to be a member of the United States Army Air Corps. He trained to be a gunman, bomber, and pilot as one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, an elite group of about 1,000 black soldiers.
Just before he was set to deploy -- the war ended. The veteran went to Harvard medical school and became a radiologist. Along the way, he has lived with the reality of segregation, war, and political fears.
Tuskegee Airmen are among the most recognized units in the military. There are now just 65 original members still alive, all of whom were invited to President Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009. It was an experience that Coggs says he will never forget.
"Four years later, I'm still amazed and privileged," said Coggs.