The two were killed in a commercial airline crash near Washington, D.C.
Verda said the news left the family “devastated.”
Just weeks after retiring, “he had been so looking forward to just being a grandfather,” she said. “In the military he’d missed so much of his own children’s lives.”
A military life
Roscoe Conklin Cartwright, known as “Rock,” graduated from BTW in 1936.
He never considered the military at the time, planning instead to go into education.
But in 1942, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, fate intervened when Cartwright became one of the first 300 men in Tulsa County drafted to go to WWII.
He was cut out for the military life, it turned out.
After receiving a commission and leading troops in combat in Italy, he would stay in the Army, going on to serve in Korea and Vietnam.
Along the way, he picked up various decorations, including two Legion of Merit medals, three Bronze Stars and two Air Medals, among many others.
Cartwright continued to rise through the ranks, and in 1971, became the second Black Army officer to receive a general’s star, when he was promoted to brigadier general. The first had been Benjamin O. Davis in 1940.
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