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Captain Andrew Maples, Jr.

Capt. Andrew Maples, Jr.

Andrew Maples, Jr. grew up on Church Street in Orange, Virginia, and he graduated from Armstrong High School in Washington, DC in 1939. Andrew then attended Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) from 1939 to 1941, which was the site for the Army’s advanced Flying School. Maples enrolled in Hampton’s Civilian Pilot’s Training Program and earned his silver wings.

Andrew then enlisted in the Tuskegee Army Advanced Flying School, and he graduated from Army Pilot Training on January 14, 1943 as a Tuskegee Airman. First Lieutenant Andrew Maples, Jr. was deployed with the 301st Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group out of Ramitelli Air Field, Italy, Lieut.

January 14, 1943, Class SE-43-(Tuskegee Airmen) graduates. L-R: George T. McCru, Quitman C. Walker, Andrew Maples Jr., Charles R. Stanton, Clinton B. Mills, Armour G. McDaniel (U.S. Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, Alabama)

In June 1944, Lieut. Maples led a group of P-47 Thunderbolts on a bomber escort mission to Hungary, but over the Adriatic Sea, his fighter developed a mechanical problem. Lieut. Maples radioed that he would bail out when his aircraft reached a safe altitude. However, his parachute was not spotted and a search revealed no sign of Maples or his fighter plane. He was listed as missing in action. While missing in action, Lieut. Maples was promoted to Captain and awarded the Air Medal. One year later in June 1945, the Army declared him dead and posthumously awarded Captain Maples the Purple Heart.

In an official citation recognizing the sacrifice of Captain Maples as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, President Harry Truman states, “In Grateful memory of Captain Andrew Maples, Jr. who died in the service of his country in the Mediterranean Area, 26 June 1944. He stands in the unbroken line of patriots who dared to die that freedom might live and grow and increase its blessings. Freedom lives and though it he lives – In a way that humbles the undertakings of most men.”

Portrait of Capt. Maples Hanging in the historic Orange County Courthouse.

Capt. Maples’ commendations include, the Army Presidential Unit Citation and the Army Good Conduct Medal, among others. A portrait of Capt. Maples currently hangs in the courtroom of the historic Orange County Courthouse along with other notable and historic Orange Countians.


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