Famous Black Engineers Throughout History

Hugh G. Robinson
The Bronze Star -- just one of many honors that Hugh G. Robinson would earn during his lifetime. RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Another military man, Hugh G. Robinson, became a high-ranking general as an engineer in the Army. He graduated in 1954 from West Point and went on to receive his master's degree in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In Vietnam, he commanded a combat engineering battalion and was the executive officer of an Engineer Group.

After his Vietnam tour, Johnson headed for the Pentagon as a deputy chief of staff, becoming the first black soldier to serve as a military aide to a president, under Lyndon Johnson in 1965. In 1978, he was promoted to brigadier general -- the first African-American to serve as a general officer in the Corps of Engineers. As if his accomplishments as an engineer weren't enough, he also received an Air Medal, a Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit and an Army Commendation Medal for his service in Vietnam [source: ASCE].