The history of ICF International goes a lot farther back than 1969 when it was founded as the Inner City Fund. Our first president was Clarence D. Lester, a former Tuskegee Airman. Our consulting business proved more successful than our investments, so in 1972 the firm was reorganized as a consulting firm and renamed ICF Incorporated. Today, under the name ICF International, a global professional services company, we continue to honor our founder, "Lucky" Lester, and build on our aviation heritage.
As a member of 332nd Fighter Group, "Lucky" piloted a P-51 Mustang as the group escorted bombers on raids throughout Europe. Flying escort for heavy bombers, the 332nd earned an impressive combat record, and bomber crews often requested escorts from the "Red Tail Angels"—a nickname the Tuskegee air crews earned because of the red paint applied to the aircraft's tail section and because of the crews' strong reputation throughout the bomber community. This article, published in the Journal of Air Traffic Control, highlights "Lucky" Lester's combat service as well as his public service when he returned home.