courtesy photo The Journal
Madeline is shown here on the bottom step, left, at Fort Sheridan with her dad, Vincent, a class instructor, standing right behind her. The “class photo” was taken after completion by new soldiers who come from places such as Hawaii, California, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas and Boston. The “Superman” pose in the photo is to show the pride in completion of the training.

By Margaret Downing
Thirteen-year old Madeline Lara of Rockford has had the opportunity to spend some time this summer with her dad, Master Sergeant Vincent Lara, who is assigned with the 84th Training Division out of Fort Sheridan, Ill. Master Sergeant Lara explained, “We train these soldiers to help in their respective commands on assessing the climate of the unit to the commanders. It is our job to be the level headed staff to help the commanders and army missions to maintain a healthy climate in order to complete any mission while working together without biases or discrimination.” Madeline is considering joining the Air Force in a few years.
Master Sergeant Lara has become fast friends with Lawton Wilkerson, 93 years old of Markham, Illinois, who was a Tuskegee Airman during the Second World War. Lara said, “There are only a handful of the Tuskegee Airmen still living in the Chicago area. Lawton was a B25 Mitchell pilot with countless hours of flying experience during the war. After the war he was not able to get a job on the civilian side because the color of his skin. By the time bans were lifted he was too old. He actually became a bus driver for the City of Chicago and a DJ. We have attended a few military functions together, a White Sox game, and luncheons. Lawton is a dear friend of mine.”

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