U.S. Names Museum After Black-American Aviator Who Fought For Ethiopia

John Charles Robinson
Robinson in Ethiopian Air Force Uniform

A new aviation museum is set to be opened in Mississippi, USA, to honor the American aviator John Charles Robinson who had voluntarily joined the Air Force of Ethiopia to fight against Italian invaders in 1935.

The Brown Condor, Mississippi Aviation Heritage Museum, is named after Robinson’s heroic title “Brown Condor,” which was given to him after his Ethiopia service.

When the non-colonized African country was threatened to be invaded by the Italian Fascist leader, Benito Mussolini, Robinson announced his intention to join the Imperial Airforce of Ethiopia. 

After two months of his announcement, Emperor Haile Selassie sent him an official invitation to become a commissioned officer in the Ethiopian air force.

In the same year of his arrival in Addis Ababa, the emperor appointed him as commander of the Ethiopian Air Force after spending some time providing pilots training in a school near Addis Ababa.

In addition to fighting for Ethiopia in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, he also participated in military surveillance missions in Adwa as a force commander.

Robinson returned to the U.S. in 1944 after Ethiopia was liberated with the help of international allies. He was received with considerable media attention covering his remarkable service to Ethiopia.

After returning to his country, Robinson, along with his friend, established a pilot training school, Tuskegee Institute, which opened doors for African-American pilots in the U.S.

Robinson had participated in the establishment of Ethiopian Airlines in 1945. The U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia dedicated a reading garden In Feb 2015, to honor his contribution to Ethiopian aviation before and after the Italy war.

The volunteer established museum in Gulfport, Mississippi that will be open in September, exhibits aircraft relics and airmen stories, including Robinson, the first American who fought a war in a land outside of the U.S.


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