By Catherine Reef
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Additional info for African Americans in the Military (A To Z of African Americans)
General Becton retired from the army in 1983 and went to work in the private sector as chief operating officer of American Coastal Industries, a Virginia corporation. S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In 1985, he took over the directorship of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at a time when the agency had been under investigation for alleged fraud and mismanagement. Becton rid FEMA of inefficiency and corruption in four years. His next challenge came in 1989, when as president of his alma mater, Prairie View A & M University, he remedied the school’s financial troubles, decaying physical plant, and campus crime problem.
In 1993, he married Heidy Pawlik, an interior designer. The fact that not one of the 470 Medals of Honor awarded for service in World War II had gone to an African American bothered the consciences of many Americans, black and white, especially when a Defense Department study commissioned in 1994 determined that Baker and six other African-American servicemen from the Second World War had clearly earned it. In order to recognize the men, Congress authorized a waiver of the statute of limitations for such awards that had expired in 1952.
His heroism earned him the Air Medal with nine Oak Leaf Clusters, an Air Force Commendation Medal, and three Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards. He returned to the United States in 1967, having been promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel, and in 1968 became a test pilot and pilot trainer with the 3630th Flying Training Wing at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. In 1971, he qualified to become deputy commander of operations at Sheppard. Bluford continued his education in the air force. In 1974, he received a master of science degree in aerospace engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in Dayton, Ohio.
African Americans in the Military (A To Z of African Americans) by Catherine Reef