Crow Introduces Bill to Name Aurora VA Facility After Lt. Col. John Mosley

June 25, 2021
Press Release

Colorado Native John Mosley was a Tuskegee Airman, Civil Rights Activist, and First Black Football Player at Colorado State University 

WASHINGTON - Today, Rep. Jason Crow (CO-06) introduced legislation that would name the new Aurora VA community-based outpatient clinic (CBOC) after Lieutenant Colonel John Mosley. Lieutenant Colonel Mosley, a Denver native who lived in Aurora, was a Tuskegee Airman, civil rights activist and the first black football player at Colorado State University. 

CBOCs are important ways the VA provides outpatient primary care, especially for veterans who would otherwise have to travel long distances to receive care at VA facilities. The Aurora CBOC, which would be called the ‘Lt. Col. John W. Mosley Clinic,’ is set to open in Summer 2022. 

“LTC John Mosley was a trailblazer who broke down barriers wherever he went, from college football to the United States Air Force,” said Rep. Jason Crow. “His commitment to serving his nation and our community in the face of discrimination is an inspiration and reminder to us all that the promise of this country is in those who are determined to improve our imperfections. We are forever grateful for his service to this country and it is an honor to introduce legislation to name the new Aurora VA facility after LTC Mosley.” 

"Born the son of a slave, Dad fought hard to seize every opportunity…a trail-blazer throughout his entire life.  He was the valedictorian of his graduating class at Manual H.S. and attended a segregated Colorado A&M (now Colorado State University) on an academic scholarship, becoming his class Vice President and the first African American in modern times to play on its football team.  When our country entered the war in 1941, Dad sought to do his part by becoming one of the first black combat pilots in America.  Though initially denied, he didn’t stop until his request was approved.  Never discouraged by adversity, he often said that ‘he had to fight in order to fight.’ A pilot with the famed Tuskegee Airmen, he served his country with pride and distinction through three wars and continued his service after retiring from the military. Always in our hearts, he was and continues to be a champion for our family, our community and our nation.  His legacy is an inspiration to us all,” said Captain Eric Mosley, United Airlines, Lieutenant Colonel Mosley’s son. 

“Renaming the Aurora Gateway Veterans Affairs Medical Clinic Replacement facility in respect to John W. Mosley is the ideal honor to bestow upon a legendary U.S. Air Force Tuskegee Airman who piloted bombing missions over Europe, North Africa, Korea, and Vietnam” said Barbara Green, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Colorado State Commander. “Lt. Col. Mosley’s life of service extended from his student days at Colorado State University in the late 1930s where he broke color barriers when he was elected class vice president in both of his junior and senior years to after World War II where he worked with the Truman administration to draft the policies that would fully integrate the United States Armed Forces and further in the Denver metro area late into his life.” 

“Lt. Col John W. Mosley was part of the historic fighter pilot unit called the Tuskegee Airmen where he was resilient in breaking racial barriers within the military while simultaneously fighting for this country in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam. He was one of the first African Americans to fly and to become a Bomber Pilot. Lt. Col John W. Mosley had a history of breaking racial barriers in Colorado prior to joining the military by being the first African American to letter in football at Colorado State University. He also was a Civil Rights advocate and was a role model to many African American pilots. Congressman Crow has been engaged with the community since being elected to Congress, so it means a lot to the Aurora Branch of the NAACP that he is taking the lead to recognize a Lt. Col John W. Mosley who is a national hero to this country and especially the African American Community,” said Omar Montgomery, President of the Aurora Branch of the NAACP.

You can find the text of the legislation here

After graduating as a National Merit Scholar and valedictorian at Manual High School, Lieutenant Colonel Mosley enrolled at what was then called Colorado State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, as one of only nine black students. He was named vice president of his college class as a junior and senior and became the first black football player in the record-keeping era. 

Lieutenant Colonel Mosley fought hard to serve his country during WWII. He paid for his own flight physical and took flying lessons on his own. After being dispatched to a segregated artillery unit in Fort Sill, OK, he wrote letters to the White House and Congress until he became part of the Tuskegee Unit. The brave service of the Tuskegee Airmen helped pave the way for integration of the armed services. Lieutenant Colonel Mosley retired from the Air Force in 1970 after serving in the Korean and Vietnam wars.  He went on to be special assistant to the undersecretary in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in Washington before returning to Colorado. 

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