Airman Stephen E. Roomes (left) of Providence, RI, was the first and only Black American to serve in the Air Force’s first “Prime BEEF” unit (Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force). This highly rapid deployment, special civil engineering unit was created to establish and maintain bases and airfields, as well as respond to chemical, biological, and radiological emergencies.
Stephen served in the Korean War as well as Vietnam War. He and his son, Jason, are direct descendants of Caesar Roomes who had been freed from enslavement to serve in the 1st Rhode Island “Black” Regiment during the American Revolutionary War.
A collection of Stephen’s things will go on display soon at the Varnum Memorial Armory Museum in a new Cold War exhibit.
BOOK A TOUR AT THE VARNUM MEMORIAL ARMORY MUSEUM!
Join the Varnum Continentals for $50!
At only $50 per person annually, membership keeps you in the Varnum loop and supports our efforts to preserve U.S. history and educate the public. Members get a monthly newsletter and can also attend our monthly dinner programs that feature authoritative and engaging speakers on historic and military topics. CLICK HERE TO JOIN NOW!
Make a Donation!
We’re a private nonprofit organization receiving no state or federal funding. We depend on your donations to support out valuable work to preserve U.S. history and support our two museums. MAKE A DONATION TODAY!