Members of the Osan Air Base community gathered Tuesday to say farewell to a longtime resident and former Tuskegee airman.
James T. Price died July 20 from injuries suffered in an accidental fall several weeks ago, according to base officials.
"All who knew Master Sgt. Price were changed forever by his zeal for life and passion for making the world a better place than he found it," Lt. Gen. Stephen G. Wood, commander, 7th Air Force (Air Forces Korea), said during a speech at the ceremony.
Wood noted Price’s dedicated service to others and the great respect he earned as an airman, and added that he left a legacy for others to emulate.
About 100 Osan community members were on hand at the base chapel to see Price’s wife, Sok Kyun, and son Steven presented with folded flags from members of the base honor guard. The memorial service concluded with a rifle salute by the Osan Honor Guard and an A-10 flyover.
Price joined the Army on Dec. 7, 1942. After serving in Tennessee, Texas, France, Germany and Belgium, he became one of the youngest members of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen in 1945. He served with the all-black unit as a B-25 aerial gunman until the military became fully integrated in 1949.
Laurence Lyons, Veterans of Foreign Wars commander in the Pacific Area and a close friend to Price, called Price a great historian and storyteller. He said Price would tell his stories to anyone who wanted to listen.
"Even at 86 years old, he had a head on him like a 21-year-old. He wouldn’t forget anything," Lyons said.
Lyons said the wall dedicated earlier this year to the Tuskegee Airmen meant a lot to Price, while the hardships Price faced over his lifetime were never far removed from his memory.
"He joked about it but I really felt that he was serious about it, too," Lyons said.
"He struggled so long in his life as a black man, but I felt in talking to him that he wanted to prove himself and he wanted to be an equal.
"I think [the wall dedication] was closure for him and he finally felt like an equal."