WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: Community Leaders, Local Elected Officials, Veteran Service Organizations Support Crow’s Bill to Name Aurora VA Facility After LTC John W. Mosley

June 29, 2021
Press Release

Colorado Native John Mosley was a Tuskegee

Airman, Civil Rights Activist, and First Black Football Player at Colorado State University 

WASHINGTON – On Friday, Rep. Jason Crow introduced legislation to name the new Aurora VA community-based outpatient clinic (CBOC) after Lieutenant Colonel John Mosley. Lieutenant Colonel W. 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. 

Crow’s legislation already has the support of local elected officials, community leaders, and veteran service organizations 

Here’s What They’re Saying

"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, Lt. Col. John W. Mosley’s son. 

“Lt. Col. John W. Mosley was a man who did not take NO for an answer. After months of writing letters to Congress and the White House, Mosley was accepted into the Tuskegee Airmen Pilot Program. Thus began a remarkable career spanning World War II, The Korean War, and The Vietnam War. From childhood, Lt. Col. Mosley blazed a trail for future generations. He was valedictorian at Manual High School in Denver, named in the Colorado State University Sports Hall of Fame, volunteered with numerous community groups and co-founded the Citizens Concerned About Minorities in Aurora. Lt. Col. John W. Mosley left a legacy that helped form the state of Colorado. By naming the VA clinic in his honor, the future will know of this great man and the Tuskegee Heritage. The Hubert L. “Hooks” Jones Chapter is honored to have one of the Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen selected for this tribute. We are pleased to work with Congressman Crow on this project. With this effort, our Chapter continues to keep our Tuskegee Legacy and mission alive by, “Giving the Past a Future,” said John Porche, President of the Local Tuskegee Airmen Chapter. 

“Lt. Col. John Mosley is a name synonymous with battles in both the European Theater of World War II and in Colorado as a champion for civil rights. I can think of no more fitting honor than to name a place of healing for veterans after this true warrior,” said Brig. General Laura Clellan, the Adjutant General of Colorado.    

“I believe it's very important to name the new VA clinic after Lt. Col. John W. Mosley because as African Americans we need to highlight the significance of our contributions to America. It also motivates younger folks to aspire to achieve great things in life. Working with Congressman Crow and his office has been refreshing and educational because I would have not known about all the wonderful things Lt. Col John W. Mosley has done or the great sacrifices he made for us. It is refreshing to see people who care and want to make sure folks are getting the recognition they truly deserve,” said Watik Aleem, City of Aurora’s Veterans Affairs Commission Liaison

"It's such exciting news that the VA clinic in Aurora will be named after Lt. Col. John W. Mosley. John Mosley was a close personal friend of mine, and my late husband, John Buckner. His service as a Tuskegee Airman is remarkable and truly worth commemorating by naming the VA clinic in his honor. By naming the clinic after John W. Mosley, we not only honor his service, but we also recognize the breaking of so many barriers that he and his wife Edna accomplished during their remarkable lives. The Mosley name carries tremendous respect and admiration. We are truly lucky to have him and his family be a part of our history in Aurora and Colorado as a whole," said Senator Janet Buckner, Director of The Black Democratic Legislative Caucus of Colorado.

Lt. Col. John W. Mosley fought for our country in World War II as one of the Tuskegee Airmen. The legislation to rename the VA clinic after such an admirable veteran is an extraordinary statement that will exemplify the fight against racial injustice, and equality among veterans and all people. I firmly support this bill and am grateful for Lt. Col. James W. Mosley and his service,” said Senator Rhonda Fields, Vice-Chair of The Black Democratic Legislative Caucus of Colorado.

"While there is no substitute for continuing the work of dismantling systemic racism as Lt. Col John W. Mosley and his wife Edna did so prodigiously, I am proud to support this legislation and the honor it rightly bestows on a man and his family who improved this nation and this state beyond measure and whose impact in history we benefit from still today," State Rep. Iman Jodeh said.

"The Tuskegee Airmen exemplify what is possible when we dismantle racist stereotypes about ability, patriotism, and drive. Despite their significant accomplishments, the Tuskegee Airmen faced intense opposition from many of their white countrymen, especially on the homefront. The Mosley Veterans Clinic will be a testament to Black military excellence and our enduring commitment to rectifying past injustices by fostering the health and safety of all veterans,” said State Rep. Naquetta Ricks. 

“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 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  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.

“Not every hero of WWII received the Medal of Honor or Purple Heart, some showed heroic courage by serving despite being given limited opportunity. Lt. Col. John Mosley is one of those heroes and the naming of the Aurora VA Clinic, near where he lived, is a great step in recognizing his role in creating opportunities for other African Americans all during his life.  John was an early member of the all-black 99th Fighter Squadron but upon graduation was assigned to a field artillery unit. Undeterred, Lt. Col. Mosley wrote protest letters to Congress and the White House and was eventually assigned to Tuskegee and became one of the first black pilots trained to fly B-25's.  He also served in Korea and Vietnam before retiring from the U.S. Air Force, but he never retired from serving his community. 

“At a time when we're starting to have conversations about how to positively affect change, Lt. Col John Mosely has already shown us how through his example. That's why naming the VA Clinic in Aurora in his honor is so perfect.  Every time someone sees the name and asks, "Who was John Mosely?", we'll be able to share the story of a local hero, one who became the first black football player in the recording era for Colorado State University and was his Junior and Senior Class Vice President, during a time he had to live off campus and most restaurants wouldn't serve blacks.  He came back home after retiring from the Air Force and worked for the Dept. of Health and Human Services and continued to give a face to what service to others means, the remainder of his life.  =Thank you to Rep. Crow and his staff for working to remember Lt. Col. Mosely this way.  I am proud to stand with him and voice my strong support for this effort and look forward to seeing John Mosely's name above the VA Clinic's front door,” said Rick Crandall, President and Founder of the Colorado Freedom Memorial. 

“Lt. Col. Mosley was a long-term friend of mine and a great community leader. I had the honor of working with him when he represented Martin Marietta in Denver while I worked on the staff of Senator Gary Hart. The Colonel often shared his stories with us about the Tuskegee Airmen unit’s contributions during WWII, flying support missions for B-17 bombers going into Germany. To name the Aurora VA Clinic after Lt. Col. Mosley, who also fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars, would be a fitting recognition of his heroic service to our nation,” said Bill Holen, Arapahoe County Commissioner for District 5. 

“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. 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” said Barbara Green, Sr. Vice Column of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Colorado.

“For his lifelong support to the Armed Forces, his dedication in his second career as a Federal Civilian and efforts to support this great Nation, the Aurora Chamber’s Defense Council fully endorses this deserving recognition of Lt. Col John W. Mosley. The Aurora Defense Council has enjoyed an extremely close working relationship with you and your staff. We appreciate your frequent attendance and the attendance of your staff at Chamber and Defense Council meetings and events. We also appreciate your service to our Nation and opportunities such as this to highlight significant accomplishments and ensure they are heralded as examples for future generations,” said Kevin Hougen, President & CEO, Aurora Chamber of Commerce, Stephen Gourley, Defense Council Chair and Thomas Grayson, Defense Council Vice Chair.