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Soft spoken Lee Hayes sits in his easy (Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Soft spoken Lee Hayes sits in his easy chair in a home he built on the outskirts of East Hampton. (March 2, 2011)

A young man with a dream

Lee Hayes trained as a Tuskegee airman and was considered highly skilled after World War II. But once in civilian clothing, he never flew or worked for a civilian airline.

Bomber pilot, Lee Hayes, second from the left
(Credit: Handout)

Bomber pilot, Lee Hayes, second from the left on the top row, stands with others who trained at the Tuskegee Army Air Field and became known as the Tuskegee Airmen. The photo was taken around 1945.

Bomber pilot, Lee Hayes, in a photo taken
(Credit: Handout)

Bomber pilot, Lee Hayes, in a photo taken around 1945. Hayes is one of the highly skilled Tuskegee Airmen, but he was never able to land a civilian job in the aviation industry.

Bomber pilot Lee Hayes, with a fellow airman,
(Credit: Handout)

Bomber pilot Lee Hayes, with a fellow airman, trained at the Tuskegee Army Air Field. The group of the first black military aviators are known as the Tuskegee Airmen. The picture was taken about 1945.

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The small house Tuskegee airman Lee Hayes built
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

The small house Tuskegee airman Lee Hayes built on the outskirts of East Hampton. When banks wouldn't lend to him to build the house on a lot he purchased, he worked out his own deal with a lumber company and then paid it off. (March 2, 2011)

After World War II, when banks wouldn't lend
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

After World War II, when banks wouldn't lend to Lee Hayes so he could build a home on a lot he bought outside East Hampton, he deeded the house to a lumber company for materials and then paid it off. (March 2, 2011)

Soft spoken Lee Hayes sits in his easy
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Soft spoken Lee Hayes sits in his easy chair in a home he built on the outskirts of East Hampton. (March 2, 2011)

Tuskegee airman Lee Hayes in the home he
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Tuskegee airman Lee Hayes in the home he built in East Hampton. (March 2, 2011)

Lee Hayes, who was once a highly skilled
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Lee Hayes, who was once a highly skilled aviator, is now retired and living in the house he built in East Hampton. His quiet property has wild turkeys that cross the yard. (March 2, 2011)

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Lee Hayes, who was once a highly skilled
(Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.)

Lee Hayes, who was once a highly skilled military aviator, is now retired and living in the home he built in East Hampton. Although he looked for work he was never able to get a job using his skills in civilian aviation. (March 2, 2011)

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