No one was injured, but Rogers reported that Terry and two other officers shoved him. In all, 162 black officers were arrested during the protest that came to be known as the Freeman Field Mutiny.
Only Terry and two others received general courts-martial. It was a high-profile case at the time. Future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall directed their defense.
The two other officers were acquitted. Terry was acquitted of disobeying an order but convicted of "jostling" an officer. He was fined $150, reduced in rank and dishonorably discharged in November 1945.
He never flew overseas.
Terry returned to Los Angeles, met a librarian, Anna, married and earned his law degree in 1949. But the UCLA graduate had trouble finding a job. "Your race determined where you were going to get a job," he said.
He went to work as an investigator with the Los Angeles County district attorney's office and, later, with the county Probation Department. The couple settled in Inglewood and had two sons, then two grandsons.
In 1972, Terry helped found Tuskegee Airmen Inc. to draw attention to their history. The group now claims 330 members and has a museum in Detroit.
On Aug. 2, 1995, more than half a century after he left the military, the Army finally pardoned Terry, restored his rank and refunded his $150 fine.
"That is the benefit of being a nation of laws," he said. "They sometimes catch up with you if you're right."
On March 29, 2007, Terry and several other airmen, as a group, received a Congressional Gold Medal from President Bush in Washington.
Standing in the living room of his home in Inglewood this month, Terry removed his replica of the medal from a blue velvet case and turned it over in his weathered hands.
On one side, young airmen in profile, on the other, the red-tailed B-25 they flew, and an inscription: "Outstanding combat record inspired revolutionary reform in the armed forces."
Although he's not sure he will be healthy enough to attend the inauguration, Terry requested tickets. His eyes gleam as he contemplates the event, determined as the young man who forced his way past an armed officer more than 60 years ago. It is the same look Searcy gets when he recalls his train ride to Tuskegee.
"Obama mentioned the fact that we were instrumental way before Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King in the civil rights deal," Terry said. "I'd just like people to know that."
Tuskegee Airmen Inc. -- www.tuskegeeairmen.org -- is still raising funds to send airmen to the inauguration.
See a video and photo gallery on The Times' website.