Otha started out in the 82nd Airborne and loved jumping out of airplanes. He later decided that he wanted to fly them so he signed up and went to Fort Walters for Helicopter training and Fort Rucker for Airplanes training. Otha loved military life and made the best of every assignment that he went on.
I have been a Gold Star Wife and Gold Star Family since 1974. I lived close to Fort Bragg in hopes of his body being found but it has not as of today. Most of our family have visited the Wall in D.C. where his name is for all to see.
Otha started as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and later to the Special Forces Unit at Fort Bragg. After his first tour in Vietnam, he returned to Fort Bragg and decided to become an Aviator. He went to Rotary Wings (Helicopter) School at Fort Walters, Texas, and then to Fixed Wings (Airplane) at Fort Rucker, Alabama. The top 10 pilots in the class did the fly-by on graduation day, and Otha was one of the 10 and the only black pilot in the fly-by.
He returned to Fort Bragg and then a second tour in Vietnam.
He returned to Fort Bragg before his third tour, which he volunteered for because there was a shortage of pilots. Before he left for that third tour he rented a 4-seater airplane and took me on a tour of North Carolina with him as the pilot. How proud I was to sit next to Otha as we flew around for about 3 hours.
Otha left for his third tour in January 1971 and was killed December 14, 1971. The airplane exploded in mid-air over the South China Sea.