Charles Monroe Preston, WW II hero, dies at 99

Charles Monroe Preston, a Tuskegee Airman and one of the last surviving members of the famed all-Black 332nd Fighter Group, has died at age 99..

Preston passed away on Oct. 3, 2023, at his home in Cincinnati, Ohio, according to his family..

Preston was born in Chicago on June 16, 1924. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1943 and was assigned to the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama for pilot training..

The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of African American pilots, navigators, bombardiers, and ground crew members who fought in World War II despite facing discrimination and segregation. They were known for their bravery and skill in the air, and they helped to pave the way for the integration of the U.S. military..

Preston flew 26 combat missions over Italy and North Africa as a P-51 Mustang pilot. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and the Purple Heart..

After the war, Preston returned to civilian life and worked as a commercial airline pilot for United Airlines. He also served as a flight instructor and was involved in several aviation organizations..

Preston was a highly decorated veteran and a respected member of the aviation community. He was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2019..

Preston’s death is a reminder of the contributions of the Tuskegee Airmen and the other African American soldiers who fought in World War II. Their bravery and sacrifice helped to change the course of history and make the United States a more just and equal society..

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