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Trailblazer in Fort Collins and in the air: Lt. Col. John Mosley

March 3, 2009

A Denver aviation legend and active community leader, Lt. Col. John Mosley is a 1943 graduate of CSU, where he was the first African-American to play football in the Big Seven Conference and to win a regional wrestling championship.

John MosleyMosley’s career

While in college, Mosley received a private pilot’s license through the civilian flight training program. After graduation, Mosley was drafted into the U.S. Army Field Artillery unit. Eventually he enrolled in flight training at Tuskegee Army Air Force Base, an U.S. Army Air Corps training complex for African Americans. Through his efforts as a Tuskegee Airman in WWII, Mosley achieved the rating of a Command Pilot and 1st Lieutenant in the Air Reserve.

Following the war, Mosley received a master's in Social Work from the University of Denver in 1948 and was the Boys’ Work Director for YMCAs in Denver, Colorado and Kansas City, Missouri until 1950, when he was recalled to active duty. Mosley served in a variety of staff and combat operational positions and obtained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Upon retirement from the Air Force in 1967, Mosley worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in a variety of positions. Since retiring from the federal government, Mosley has remained active in professional and community organizations including the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation; Mile High United Way; Denver Sister Cities, International; Y.M.C.A.; and Goodwill Industries.

John Mosley

Mosley and family

The Mosleys have four children, one of whom is also a CSU alum and pilot. Mosley and his son Eric (’81) started Colorado Red Tails, a Denver flight club, through Tuskegee Airmen International, a service organization promoting aviation and aerospace to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity. Through Colorado Red Tails, John and Eric created the Mile High Flight program, a special youth initiative provided by the Tuskegee Airmen for youth interested in aviation or aerospace related fields. The Mile High Flight Program activities started November 2, 2002.

This article was originally published in AlumLine newsletter. To subscribe to AlumLine, become a member of the CSU Alumni Association.

Contact: Beth Etter
Phone: (970) 491-6533