Florida Humanities Council

William Surcey

William Surcey was born in Jacksonville, Florida to Will and Maggie Surcey. He was educated in the Duval County Public School system and graduated from Stanton High School, class of 1939. He was awarded the honor of Eagle Scout during his time in the Boy Scouts. He began his formal education at Tuskegee University (at that time, named Tuskegee Institute) located in Tuskegee, Alabama. While a sophomore, Surcey applied to become a member of the 99th fighter squadron (later called “The Tuskegee Airman”.) He trained, worked and traveled with the Squadron to Italy and at the end of his service, had the rank of Master Sergeant. In 1944, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. He returned to Tuskegee, earning a degree in Auto Mechanics. In 1947, while at Tuskegee, Surcey met Future Trammell, his college sweetheart and in 1948 she became his wife. They settled down in Jacksonville, Florida where they started a family of three daughters. Surcey owned a business “Bills Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Service” and worked with the United States Postal Service retiring as a USPS Supervisor after 30 years. He has been a faithful member of Saint Paul A.M.E. Church for 91 years. Since retirement he spends quality time with friends and family and continues his work with various organizations, including the Tuskegee Airmen, The Jacksonville Chapter of the Tuskegee Alumni Association, the Boy Scouts of America, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, and David Dwight Boy Scout Committee, to name a few. In March 29, 2007, the Tuskegee Airmen were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor.

William Surcey Interview Video