Oldest Remaining Tuskegee Airman Dies

Willie Rogers 'lived by the greatest commandment—to love one another'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2016 8:37 AM CST

(Newser) – The oldest remaining member of the Tuskegee Airmen has died. Willie Rogers of St. Petersburg, Fla., died Friday from complications of a stroke. He was 101. Rogers served in logistics and administration as part of the US Armed Forces' first all-black aviation squadron during World War II, but only revealed that fact to family members in 2012, reports the Tampa Bay Times. He received a Congressional Gold Medal a year later, some six years after the Tuskegee Airmen were initially honored at the White House. Though Rogers was shot by German soldiers during a military mission in 1943, "he would always say there were many who deserved attention more, but were not here to receive it," says daughter Veronica Williams.

Drafted in 1942, per BayNews9, Rogers "didn't like to give specifics about what occurred to him. He saw things that were bad," including the Dachau concentration camp after Germany’s surrender, Williams says. "And he experienced treatment because he was African-American that wasn't fair." After the war, Rogers started a business repairing radios and "lived by the greatest commandment—to love one another," Williams says. His motto was "treat everyone with dignity, pride and integrity," she adds. "He recognized that we as people and he as a black man have come a long way but that there is still more to go. But in God's eyes there is no color, he'd say." (Two Tuskegee Airmen and lifelong friends died on the same day.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.