Heroic Tuskegee Airman dies at 94

Photo Credit: Facebook, Roscoe Brown, Jr.
Photo Credit: Facebook, Roscoe Brown, Jr.

Roscoe Brown, a longtime New York City educator who flew with the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, died Saturday. He was 94.

Born in Washington on March 9, 1922, Brown discovered his passion for aviation at an early age when he saw Charles Lindberg’s donation of the Spirit of St. Louis to the Smithsonian Institution. Prior to his wartime service, he graduated from Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he was valedictorian of his class of 1943. Brown graduated from the Tuskegee Flight School in 1944 and was assigned to the Army’s 332nd fighter group.

He flew 68 combat missions for the Tuskegee Airmen and shot down two German fighter planes.

With his father, Dr. Roscoe C. Brown, Sr., being a dentist and an official in the United States Public Health Service, Captain Brown naturally resumed his education after the war. Upon completion of his doctoral dissertation on exercise physiology and earning a doctorate in education, he became a professor at New York University and was President of Bronx Community College for 17 years. In 1992, Brown received an honorary doctor of humanics degree from alma mater Springfield College.

Photo Credit: Facebook, Roscoe Brown, Jr.
Photo Credit: Facebook, Roscoe Brown, Jr.

An avid runner, Brown ran the New York City Marathon nine times.

On March 29, 2007, Brown attended a ceremony in the U.S. Capitol rotunda, where he and the other Tuskegee Airmen were collectively awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of their service.

His family confirmed his passing in a brief statement.

“Our beloved father, grandfather and great- grandfather passed away on July 2, 2016. We thank you all for your love and support during this time,” they said.

Brown resided in Riverdale, New York, and was a member, and past president, of the 100 Black Men of America New York Chapter. He was also a professor of Urban Education at the CUNY Graduate Center.

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