2007-03-08 08:24:01 UTC
Edgar L. Bolden, who served with the elite Tuskegee Airmen in World
War II as one of the United States' first African American military
pilots, died in his Portland home on Sunday, March 4, 2007. He was
Tuskegee Airmen was the popular name of the 332nd Fighter Group, an
all-black U.S. Army Air Corps unit that flew with distinction. There
are currently about 400 known surviving Tuskegee Airmen of the
original 994 pilot graduates, according to a spokesman for Tuskegee
In 2006, the Tuskegee Airmen were collectively awarded the
Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of their service and sacrifice
to the United States during World War II. The official ceremony will
be held later this month in Washington, D.C.
Bolden was born June 1, 1921, in Arlington, Va. After graduating from
Armstrong High School in Washington, D.C., he joined the U.S. Army,
and was accepted and completed flight training in the U.S. Army Air
Corps at Tuskegee Air Field in Tuskegee, Ala. He flew a single-engine
After leaving the Army Air Corps, he entered the Howard University
College of Engineering, earned his Bachelor of Science in electrical
engineering and taught at Howard University.
He worked at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, the Bureau of
Standards in Washington, D.C., and RCA in New Jersey where he
specialized in space and defense communications systems.
In 1969, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he eventually retired
from the Federal Aviation Administration. He moved to Portland in
In 1977, he married Mae C. Bolden. He enjoyed bridge, golf, painting
and watching the planes take off and land at Portland International
Airport. He attended both the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church and the Cherry
Park United Methodist Church.
He is survived by his wife; sons, Edgar, Michael, Paul, Peter,
Christopher and Francis; daughters, Bonita Bolden, Maria Turner, Clara
Guyton and Lucy Bolden; sister, Mignon Johnson; 15 grandchildren; and
Donations to East Coast Chapter, Tuskegee Airmen Inc. Scholarship
Fund, P.O. Box 62404, Washington, DC 20029.
There will be no service. Arrangements by Caldwell's.