Simmons Media

Tom Simmons featured in South Mississippi Living

South Mississippi Living

Thomas E. Simmons book signing at the Gulf Coast Art Association  Christmas event/sale in conjunction with the Mississippi Historical Photo Museum.  He will signing all of my current books: The Man Called Brown Condor (Skyhorse) Forgotten Heroes of World War II: Personal Accounts of Ordinary Soldiers Land, Sea and Air (Taylor Trade), Escape From Archangel (University of Mississippi Press) and his new release, By Accident of Birth (TouchPoint Press) Friday, December 11th from 5-7 pm.


WlOX TV, Gulf Coast scheduled to interview Thomas E. Simmons on the 4 PM news program Friday, December 18th to announce the book signing on Saturday @ B&N Gulfport for By Accident of Birth by Thomas E. Simmons, Saturday, December 19th @ 2 PM  Gulfport – B&N Store & Event Locator  stores.     GulfportGulfport Shopping Center 15246 Crossroads Parkway Gulfport, MS 39503 228-832-8906.

Represented by Loiacono Literary Agency  Thomas E. Simmons  Published by TouchPoint Press

Tom Simmons event schedule for Forgotten Heroes of World War II: Personal Accounts of Ordinary Soldiers Land, Sea and Air:

November 16- Book signing at Lyn Meadows Discovery Center

November 20 –Interview on WLOX TV

November 22 – Book signing at Barnes & Nobel

November 25- book signing at USM Gulf Coast library

November 29 – Book signing at Bay Books

November 30 – Book signing at Ohr-O’Keefe Art Museum

December 13 – The Battle of the Bulge reenactment at Bouvoir, Jefferson Davis’ Historic Site – Keynote speaker along with Harry Bell of “Present and Accounted For,” story #9 Forgotten Heroes of World War II: Personal Accounts of Ordinary Soldiers Land, Sea and Air  in who fought at the Battle of the Bulge.  He was taken prisoner by the Germans and marched 60 miles without food in freezing weather to a rail junction. Men who fell out were shot.  When he was liberated by U. S. troops he weighed just 90 pounds, but had nursed his prison squad through the ordeal making sure meager rations were shared and blankets loaned to the sick.  Too weak to walk, Harry crawled out to the U.S. tank commander who knocked down the prison gate, was helped to his feet, saluted and proudly reported his entire prison squad, “All present and accounted for.”


Tom Simmons was called to the Jackson, Mississippi State Capital Building, directed to the Senate chambers in full session and given the following honor.

Simmons was deeply honored and humbled by the following award, and by the fact that after an acceptance talk, in which he got a little emotional over John Robinson, he received a standing ovation by the entire Senate.



2013 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Senator(s) Horhn, Butler (38th), Butler (36th), Simmons (13th), Turner, Jones, Jordan, Jackson (11th), Jackson (32nd), Dawkins, Frazier, Simmons (12th), Burton, Fillingane

Senate Concurrent Resolution 573

(As Adopted by Senate and House)


WHEREAS, THE MAN CALLED BROWN CONDOR:  THE FORGOTTEN HISTORY OF AN AFRICAN AMERICAN FIGHTER PILOT is an unlikely story about a Mississippi aviator, told well by Author Thomas E. Simmons, who researched his subject for 3 decades, and now he has put it all together in a narrative that reads like a novel; and

WHEREAS, John Charles Robinson was born in 1903 in Florida and grew up in a very segregated South.  His father died in an accident shortly after he was born.  His mother moved with him and his sister to Gulfport, Mississippi.  In 1910, when John was 7, he saw his first aircraft, a float plane that taxied to the beach.  John Robinson knew that he wanted one day to fly an airplane, and he set out to overcome the obstacle of segregation.  He did this by learning to excel at school and later at work, to never let disappointments overcome his determination and to wear his successes with modesty.  A loving family buttressed his good nature and self-confidence; and

WHEREAS, for college, he enrolled in the Tuskegee Institute and learned to become an automobile mechanic.  He decided there would be better job opportunities in the North, so he moved to Detroit.  He earned a reputation as an exceptionally good mechanic.  Moving to Chicago, he wanted to enroll in the Curtiss-Wright Aviation School, but black students were not welcome.  Although he had a full-time job in an auto garage, he signed on as a nighttime janitor in a Curtiss-Wright classroom, absorbing the instructor’s ground-school lectures.  The instructor realized how determined John was and persuaded the school to let him enroll; and

WHEREAS, John went on to form a small flying school, encouraging young black men to enroll.  This fact came to the attention of Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, who was working to modernize his country.  He invited Robinson to come to Africa to head his Air Force.  Much of the book is devoted to this personal adventure.  As the threat of an invasion by Mussolini’s Fascist Italy grew, Robinson built a cadre of black pilots and ground crews.  Unarmed, the small fleet of airplanes could perform one essential task in a country with primitive lines of communication:  ferry messages back and forth between the front lines and the Emperor’s general staff in the Capital, Addis Ababa.  The author gives us a “you-are-there” feeling as Robinson and his pilots navigate the difficult terrain of Ethiopia, dive into clouds to elude Italian pursuit aircraft, and take off and land under hazardous conditions.  Then-Colonel Robinson also witnessed Italian aircraft spraying mustard gas on thousands of Ethiopian ground troops; and

WHEREAS, word of Robinson’s exploits came back to America, first to black communities and newspapers, then to the general press.  His dream of making it possible for many young black men to become flyers came true.  Briefly, he was nationally famous.  Ultimately, the Italians conquered Ethiopia, but only temporarily.  Selassie escaped to England and John Robinson to America.  Back home, his aviation school thrived.  Tuskegee, to which had he proposed an aircraft school in the 1930s, finally had one and turned out hundreds of the famous Tuskegee Airmen, who gained fame in World War II; and

WHEREAS, after the war, Selassie invited Robinson back to Ethiopia, first to rebuild his Air Force, then to create Ethiopian Airlines.  As with everything else this remarkable man did in his short life (he died at age 51), he performed these jobs with determination and thoroughness.  His lifelong triumph over adversity belongs to the greatest of American success stories; and

WHEREAS, Thomas E. Simmons is the author of four books to date:  The Brown CondorEscape from ArchangelForgotten Heroes of World War II and his latest, The Man Called Brown Condor.  He grew up in Mississippi, attended Marion Military Institute, the U.S. Naval Academy, the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Alabama.  He served as commercial Captain of a 70-foot sailing vessel, has been a pilot since the age of 16, has flown professionally, and participated in airshows flying aerobatics in open-cockpit biplanes.  In 1960, he served as an Artillery Officer in Korea.  He has traveled the world; and

WHEREAS, thanks to the United States and brave pilots like Colonel Robinson, colonialism was defeated in Ethiopia; and it is with great pride that we bring attention to this Mississippi Author and the subject of his excellent book:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING THEREIN, That we do hereby recognize Mississippi Author Thomas E. Simmons and the legacy of Colonel John Charles Robinson of Gulfport, Mississippi, who is the subject of his book The Man Called Brown Condor:  The Forgotten History of an African American Fighter Pilot, and extend our best wishes to Mr. Simmons for his continuing literary contributions.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to Thomas Simmons, forwarded to the Mississippi Arts Commission, and be made available to the Capitol Press Corps.

The resolution was signed by the following:

Tate Reeves, Lt. Governor, President of the Senate

Philip Gunn, Speaker of the House of Representatives

Senator(s) John Horhn, District 26 and Deborah Dawkins, District 48

THE MAN CALLED BROWN CONDOR by Tom Simmons being presented to the president of Ethiopia, His Excellence Girma Wolde-Giorgis  by Yaw Frederick L. Davis.


The Forgotten History of an African American Fighter Pilot

The forgotten true story of American war hero John Charles Robinson, a.k.a. The Brown Condor of Ethiopia.

Robinson’s struggles to overcome the racial prejudice that all but closed the field of aviation to Blacks. His outstanding success in accomplishing his dream of flying, his influence toward the establishment of a school of aviation at Tuskegee Institute (there would have been no Tuskegee Airmen without him) and his courageous wartime service in Ethiopia during the Italian invasion in 1935 are brought to life.

It was during Robinson’s service to Ethiopia that he took to the air in opposition to the first Fascist invasion of what would become World War II. This remarkable American Hero may have been the first American to oppose Fascism in combat.