Tuskegee Airman Wilfred Defour Passes At 100 Years of Age

A New York City man who served as an aircraft technician with the famed all-black Tuskegee Airmen has died at 100 years of age. He was one of the first black aviators in the military who served with the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II.

One of the first black aviators in the military, who served with the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, DeFour was found unconscious and unresponsive after police responded to a 911 call at in Harlem. There were no obvious signs of trauma, the cause of death is believed to be related to natural causes. 

Last month, DeFour attended a ceremony in which a post office was renamed in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen. “I regret so many of my comrades are no longer here with us,” DeFour said, “It will mean there’s recognition for Tuskegee Airmen and that’s very important.”

The Tuskegee Airmen, who trained at the Tuskegee Army Airfield in Macon County, Alabama, were the first black military aviators in the US service corps. 

They were comprised of pilots, navigators, bombardiers, instructors, maintenance and support staff who underwent the “Tuskegee Experience”, in which they were trained to fly and maintain combat aircraft via the Army Air Corps program.

DeFour served as a postal employee for more than 30 years after his military service.


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