Despite the traumatic incident which ruined his family financially, Toliver overcame a host of obstacles via a combination of faith, patriotism and personal intestinal fortitude. A 26-year veteran of the United States Air Force, he was trained and mentored by original Tuskegee Airmen. He is a “Top Gun” fighter pilot who flew 446 combat missions in Southeast Asia. Later he directed the testing and evaluation of several major weapon systems for the Department of Defense and allied military programs. Toliver also held key roles in advanced research, development, and testing of tactical fighter aircraft. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, and Air Medal with 27 Oak Leaf Clusters.
Since moving to Arizona in 2003, Toliver has served on the Board of Directors for the West Valley Hospital in Goodyear and held a key role in securing the Congressional Gold Medal for the Tuskegee Airmen. His extensive professional writing experience in the military and private sector has resulted in many articles for newspapers, magazines, and periodicals. He is the author of the book, “An Uncaged Eagle,” an inspirational memoir of victory over adversity as the path to true freedom.
Watch Col. Richard “Dick” Toliver’s inspiring speech below.