One of the famous Tuskegee Airmen has died from COVID-19.
What We Know:
- According to the Daily Mail, Tuskegee Airman Theodore Lumpkin Jr. passed away at his home on December 26 following complications with COVID-19. The Los Angeles native was just days away from his 101st birthday.
- In 1942, Lumpkin was drafted and assigned to the 100th Fighter Squadron in Tuskegee, Alabama. The Tuskegee Airmen escorted bombers in Europe during World War II. They were the first black pilots in the segregated U.S. military.
- According to the LA Times, Lumpkin did not become a pilot because his eyesight wasn’t good enough. Instead, he became a 2nd lieutenant with the U.S. Army Air Force as an intelligence officer who briefed pilots on Italy’s missions.
- During his time in the military, Lumpkin obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Southern California. While in school, he met his wife Georgina and married her before he retired from the Air Force to become a social worker and later a real estate broker.
- In 2007, the Tuskegee Airmen were collectively awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest medal a civilian can receive. In 2009, Lumpkin was among the surviving airmen invited to attend the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama. Now, only eight of the original Tuskegee combat pilots are still alive.
Lumpkin is survived by his wife, two sons, a daughter, several grandchildren, and a great-grandchild. May he rest in peace.