Born in Roanoke, Virginia in 1921, Philip E. "Casey" Colman graduated from Jefferson Senior High School in 1940. He enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Corps the next year, and was accepted for flight training. Completing basic flight training at Bush Field in Augusta, Georgia, Colman graduated as a "Flying Sergeant" at Spence Field in Moultrie, Georgia. His first assignment was towing targets for the gunnery school at Eglin Field, Florida. Later he was sent to the Fighter Section of the Proving Ground Command where, as a test pilot, he flew American built fighters, the German ME-109, the British Spitfire, and the Japanese Oscar. While enroute to this first combat assignment aboard the British ship HMT ROHNA, it received a direct hit by a German air-launched guided bomb in the Mediterranean Sea and suffered the loss of 1,149 out of 2,000 on board. Colman was rescued the next day by the U. S. Destroyer Pioneer. Colman's next World War II combat assignment was as a pilot with the Chinese-American Composite Wing where he flew 86 combat missions in the P-40, escorting B-25s and providing air-ground support for the Chinese Army. He shot down five Japanese Zero fighters with two probables and five damaged. After the war ended, he joined the 158th Fighter Squadron, 116th Fighter Group of the Georgia Air National Guard. With the onset of the Korean War, his unit was ordered to active duty and transferred to Misawa, Japan. In 1952, Colman was assigned to the 335th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, at Kimpo. He again became a Georgia Air National Guard pilot in 1953, and served as commander of the 158th Fighter Squadron, equipping and training the unit in the F-84F, and as operations officer of the 116th Fighter Wing. In 1983, he retired as a lieutenant colonel with a command pilot rating. He has earned numerous decorations for his service in two wars, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal. As a civilian in Augusta, Georgia, he has been active in business, community affairs, and aviation. He is a charter member of Chapter 172 of the Experimental Aircraft Association and a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The Augusta, Georgia chapter of the Air Force Association is named in his honor.
Lieutenant Colonel Philip E. "Casey" Colman, who has performed outstanding service to his country and community as a military aviator and civilian was enshrined on April 20, 2002.