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Tuskegee Airman radio technician from Texas dies at 101

Mazie Williams celebrates his 100th birthday in 2019.

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By JOSEPH BROWN | The Huntsville Item | Published: May 27, 2020

(Tribune News Service) — Tributes have been paid to Sgt. Mazie Warren, one of the last remaining Tuskegee Airmen, whose heroic acts helped change the course of World War II.

The veteran, who spent four years with the U.S. Army Air Corps as a corporal radio technician at the Tuskegee Army Flying School, died on Memorial Day. He was 101.

On Jan. 16, 1941, it was announced that an all-black fighter pilot unit would be trained at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, a historically black college founded by Booker T. Washington.

The war department officially established the 99th Pursuit Squadron on March 19, 1941, and it was activated three days later. Before the first cadets even arrived, the program got a publicity boost when First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was taken up in a plane by C. Alfred “Chief” Anderson, a black aviator pioneer who served as the Tuskegee Institute chief flight instructor.

Overall, 992 pilots completed the Tuskegee training program, nearly half of whom were then shipped overseas, where they gained fame for their success at escorting bombers on long-range raids deep into Nazi-controlled territory and never losing a bomber. They flew over 1,600 missions and destroyed over 260 enemy aircraft.

Warren contributed to the success of the Tuskegee Airmen through the security that he and his team helped to provide for their operations. According to his friends and family, he was so proud to have witnessed the visit of Mrs. Roosevelt to Tuskegee and the plane ride that she took with Chief Anderson.

Last year, the state of Texas recognized Warren with Senate Resolution 448, which read in part: "The Senate of the State of Texas is pleased to recognize Mazie Warren of Huntsville for his exceptional service during World War II as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen."

Richard Watkins contributed to this report.

©2020 The Huntsville Item (Huntsville, Texas)
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