Clemenceau McAdoo Givings is the son of Noel Givings and nephew of my great-grandfather Francis Givings. Known by many as Clem, he was born in Richmond, Virginia in the year 1919. He served as 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army Air Force (USAAF) as part of the Tuskegee Airmen program during World War II from 1941 to 1944.
Clem graduated from flight training on May 28, 1943, under the Air Force Specialty Code M 1055-Pilot, Single-Engine Fighter and deployed to Italy in December 1943. He was a member of the 332nd Fighter Group, 100th Fighter Squadron. The squadron flew its first combat mission on February 5, 1944.
According to Capt. Samuel Curtis, in an article (Veterans Magazine 2007), “We were going into battle and we were really going to show them. Then we had our first casualty.” On March 18, 1944, while flying a P-39 Airacobra on a routine mission, Clem’s plane experienced mechanical failure forcing him to eject from the cockpit, over Naples Harbor. Unfortunately, he became tangled in his parachute causing him to drown. His body was recovered by an Italian fisherman.
Per Capt. Curtis, “He was a lively kind of guy and he was the first one lost. One day we came back and they said ‘Clem got killed,’ and it came as a real shock. It was then we realized we were really in a war zone.”
Clemenceau M. Givings is buried at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial in Italy. He received the following: the Purple Heart (1944), the World War II Victory Medal (2003), the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (2003), the American Defense Service Medal (2003), the Army Good Conduct Medal (2003), and the American Campaign Medal (2003).
“The privileges of being an American belong to those brave enough to fight for them.” – Benjamin O. Davis Jr.