Profile of Captain Eric L Palmer
President, Detroit RedTail, Inc
Eric L Palmer was born April 13, 1965. He attended and graduated from Cass Technical High School in 1983 in which his curriculum was Aerospace Technology. He had a desire to be a commercial airline pilot, but unfortunately gave up the dream in middle school when his counselor told him that he was too tall because there were height restrictions at the time. He still had desires to fly.
Going into college, he attended and graduated from Oakland Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts and, while there, had a desire to learn how to fly at their Highland Lakes campus. Unfortunately he did not have the resources needed to afford the fees associated with it. When he started the transfer process to Eastern Michigan University (EMU), he decided to get involved in the Army R.O.T.C. program there.
To cover the first two (2) years of college R.O.T.C., they sent him to Army R.O.T.C. Basic Camp at Ft. Knox, Kentucky in the Summer of 1984 where he won an Army R.O.T.C. scholarship that covered the 2.5 years needed to complete his Bachelors Degree at EMU. In the Summer of 1985 he then attended the Army R.O.T.C. Advance Camp at Ft. Lewis, Washington during which he had a chance to attend a Branch Selection Day rally to assess the various branches of the Army being offered to newly minted officers in the Army. He immediatedly headed to the Army Aviation display. Unfortunately, bad luck put a hand up for a third time when a 2LT manning the display pointed at his glasses and told him he needed to be 20/20. Dejected, he then ventured to the Corp of Engineers display.
He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in May 1986 and graduated from EMU in May 1987 with a major in Industrial Computer Technology and a minor in Military Sciences. Despite applying for and being awarded an opportunity to go active duty in the Corp of Engineers, considering he was commissioned a year earlier than his scheduled college graduation date, that award was vacated. Unfortunately, once he was close to graduation he was awarded an opportunity in the U.S. Army Reserves and the Adjutants General (AG) Corp because there was a force reduction on the number of officers being brought into active duty at the time.
Eric attended AG Officer Basic Course at Fort Benjamin Harrison starting 27 September 1987 and graduated 15 January 1988. Eric then joined the 123rd U.S. Army Reserve Command at Fort Benjamin Harrison as the units Records and Postal Management Officer in April 1988 and started his civilian career in the civil engineering space. Eric then transferred to the 5064th U.S. Army Garrison in Southfield, Michigan as the units Personnel Services and then PISM Officer in November 1992 and continued his civilian employment in the civil engineering space.
Eric eventually gained employment at General Motors in May 1993 and started a career in the Industrial Engineering space, in which he is still currently employed with General Motors.
In March 1999, Eric transferred to the 300th Military Police Command in Inkster, Michigan as the Administrative Services Officer. Eric honorably separated in November 2000 at the final rank of Captain. During his time in the U.S. Army Reserves, he also served in additional roles as Weight Control Officer, Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Officer and Personnel Action Center (PAC) Commander.
Eric joined the Detroit Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc in 2004 and was immediatedly made the Editor and Publisher of the chapter's newsletter called The Hawk's Cry II, named after the original newsletter at Tuskegee Army Air Field, The Hawk's Cry. Since then, Eric has also assumed the roles of Public Relations Officer and Historian for the chapter.
In 2017, Eric was blessed with an opportunity to purchase a red convertible 2011 Ford Mustang of which he had a plan for. His desire was to turn that vehicle into a very unique vehicle to use during parades that the Detroit Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc were invited to. He also wanted to take the opportunity to personally honor two (2) of the chapter's Red Tail legends; LTC Alexander Jefferson and LTC Harry T Stewart, Jr. while they were still living in a manner in which he could afford. What came about was RedTail, the multi-award winning centerpiece of the 501c3 non-profit organization, Detroit RedTail, Inc, of which Eric is President, Head Docent and Driver.
Since Detroit RedTail, Inc's inception in 2017, RedTail has made close to 200 appearances at various car shows, air shows, car cruises, parades as well as other activities and events in which access for an actual airplane was not possible and during these events and activities, we have had face to face contact with, at least, 5000 thousand people and indirect contact with many thousand more.