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Alaska's Black History: Col. William Campfield Jr.

William (Bill) Campfield Jr.
William (Bill) Campfield Jr.

Alaska Black History Notes

 Colonel William Kempfield Jr.was the first black man to achieve the rank of base commander at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage. Colonel Kempfield Jr. graduated from Tuskegee Institute, the first higher learning institution for African Americans, now renamed Tuskegee University. Kempfield graduated in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education. After graduation, he commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. In 1953, he was awarded his pilot wings.

He graduated from F 84 fighter training. He earned a Silver Star that was presented by President Lyndon Johnson. He then began his series of assignments in tactical jet fighter operations. He is reported to have over 3,700 flying hours with more than 100 missions.

He's the only Black officer to serve as space commander at two bases, Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, (now Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson) and McClellen Air Force Base in Sacramento, California.

He retired from the Air Force after 30 years in 1985. Colonel William Kempfield Jr. died in 2020. He was 90 years old.