Everyone passing through the USO office at Logan Airport will now be greeted by the face and story of the 95-year-old World War II Tuskegee Airman legend Enoch O’Dell “Woody” Woodhouse II.
“When people come by this place,” Woodhouse said, noting the possible visitors passing through from all around the world. “They’re going to look up here and say, ‘My God, this is what the governor of Massachusetts thought of a Roxbury guy, a guy from the so-called ‘ghetto.’”
Woodhouse, a Massachusetts native, is one of the few surviving members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, the first all-Black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He enlisted at the age of 17 at the insistence of his mother after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
The murals unveiled Monday in honor of Woodhouse, as well as the other airmen, was proposed by Gov. Charlie Baker, and done in consultation with the local creative agency Street Theory.
The final result, displayed outside the USO office in Logan Airport Terminal C, is colorful and eye-catching. One mural captures Woodhouse’s service and life and the other the bravery and sacrifice of the Tuskegee Airmen. There’s also a scannable QR code at the site linking to a page on the historical significance of the images.
The 95-year-old legend was also promoted at Monday’s ceremony. Baker appointed Woodhouse to the State Militia as a colonel and then to brigadier general and attache of the Militia of the Commonwealth — a position serving as representative of the state militia.
“Thank you, Woody, for your incredible contributions to the commonwealth, tireless leadership and unwavering service,” Baker said at the ceremony.
“It’s not just about me,” Woodhouse said, referencing the commemoration of the new artwork.
“We were the greatest generation because we all served our country,” Woodhouse recollected. “All of us, together.”
The over 14,000 Tuskegee Airmen earned more than 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses and acclaim during WWII, pushing the military forward toward eventual integration.
Woodhouse served in the military for over 70 years — attending Yale University and then Boston University School of Law; serving as a U.S. diplomatic courier throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South America; heading a private law practice in Boston; and becoming the first African American member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. He retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1997.
“There’s only one Woody,” said Gen. Gary Keefe.