Known as the oldest living Tuskegee Airman from Georgia, Brew Graham, has finally received recognition for his exemplary service as a "Red Tail" fighter pilot during WWII. It was a long wait for the soldier, but according to Mrs. Dubois of Congressman Scott's office Graham was indeed a member of the the Red Tails and happens to be the one of the oldest living members of that squadron. (Note: In a previous version of this article, we stated that Graham was the oldest living member. It is unclear how many of the roughly 19,000 Tuskegee Airmen are still living and their current ages.)
Graham, now 97 years old, had never been recognized for his service as a Red Tail member before, but that is no more. Congressman David Scott from the 13th District personally delivered Graham a replica of the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor along with a letter from President Obama, thanking him for his courage and service.
Residing quietly in Riverdale, Graham somehow was overlooked for decades, and omitted from various recognitions including the 2007 Gold Medal honoring ceremony of the Tuskegee Airmen by then President George Bush.
He remained under the radar until the release of the popular “Redtails” movie in January, which compelled his wife to appeal to producers for recognition of the ailing Airman’s combat service:
“My Husband BREW GRAHAM is a Tuskegee Airman with the 99th fighter squadron and is believed to be the oldest living one, He is 97 years old. No one has bothered to get in touch with him. We live in Riverdale Ga. WHY IS HE BEING IGNORED?” - Mrs. Graham wrote to Lucas Films.
Lucas Films forwarding the email to military officials and members of the Atlanta chapter of Tuskegee Airmen Inc., who verified that Graham was a documented original Tuskegee Airman, in active service during the daring period of the 99th deployment for overseas duty in April 1943.
With more than six decades elapsed now since his World War II mission, Graham received from Congressman Scott the same replica presented to some 300 surviving Tuskegee Airmen who were present at the ceremony in 2007 at the White House. The original medal remains permanently housed at the Smithsonian in D.C.
Brew Graham sat quietly in his living room as all the cameras and TV crews circled around him. The 97 year-old simply smiled and said, "Thank you. I just wish more of us were still here."
In remarks to the Mr. Graham, Congressman Scott recalled his time as a young adult in a segregated school and how he and his classmates, "took special pride in these heros and what they accomplished in spite."
Graham is truly one of the Greatest Persons we have in the South Fulton / Riverdale area, and his accomplishments do not stop there. He is also an Olympian and won Bronze in the Hammer Throw during the 1948 Olympics held in London. [Note: A Previous version of this article incorrectly said that Graham won the bronze medal in the javelin throw.]
Camp Creek Parkway was honorarily named Tuskegee Airmen Parkway in 2007.