Obituaries

Tuskegee Airman dies

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Wilfred Defour, an aircraft technician for the famed Tuskegee Airmen during World War 2, was recently found dead in his Harlem, New York, home. A  home health care worker found Mr. Defour’s body in the bathroom. He was 100 years old. Foul play was not involved.

While in the service, Mr. Defour painted the tails of the aircraft from which the squadron got its name “Red Tails.”

The Tuskegee Airmen trained at Tuskegee Institute, in Tuskegee, Alabama, which operated the only airfield in the U.S. for Negro, now black, pilots  before they were shipped overseas.

The pilots were members of the 99th Pursuit Squadron P47 Thunder Bolts and P51 Mustangs. They flew more than 1, 500 sorties over North Africa and Europe. The 99th was later joined by 100th,  301st and 302nd Pursuit Squadrons.

The pilots risked their lives for this country, but when they returned to Alabama they were prohibited from voting.

Last month, Defour was honored at a post office on Macomb’s Place in Harlem, which was renamed in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen. Defour was employed by the Post Office for 33 years after leaving what was then the Army Airforce.

 

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