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Community Advocacy Organization

BREAKING NEWS!! PASSING OF LEGENDARY TUSKEGEE AIRMAN

Updated: Jul 3, 2022


Courtesy Photo-Tuskegee airman and Detroit Native, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Jefferson



Often when announcing someone's death, you'll see the phrase -- ".... has finally earned his/her wings." However, in this case, the newly deceased quite literally earned his wings about 80 years ago.

The legendary Tuskegee airman and native Detroiter, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Jefferson, died yesterday evening in a nursing home in the Detroit suburb of Warren.


He was 100 years old.

Courtesy Photo-Tuskegee airman and Detroit Native, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Jefferson



Jefferson was among a group of the first blacks to be trained and commissioned as military pilots after the start of World War II. They were known as the Tuskegee Airmen because they were schooled at the all-black Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.He flew 19 combat missions as a fighter pilot based with the famed 301st Fighter Squadron in Ramitelli, Italy. In August of 1944, he and his plane were shot down by Nazi gunfire over Southern France. He survived but was taken captive as a prisoner of war.


Courtesy Photo-Tuskegee airman and Detroit Native, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Jefferson


Jefferson spent 8 months in a German POW camp before being freed by General George Patton's 14th armored division in April of 1945 His heroic exploits were chronicled in the best-selling book, "Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free."Jefferson served for 25 years in the military.


Courtesy Photo-Tuskegee airman and Detroit Native, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Jefferson


He had a second career as a much-loved teacher and administrator in Detroit area public schools. For much of the last 3 decades, he traveled America and the world speaking about his experiences as a Tuskegee Airman. He was one of just a handful of World War II veterans and Tuskegee Airmen left at the time of his passing.


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