Dr. Roscoe C. Brown Jr., the New York City veteran who flew with the legendary Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, has died at the age of 94.
Brown died Saturday at a hospital in the Bornx after breaking his hip in a recent fall, his granddaughter Lisa Bodine said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has ordered all flags to fly at half-staff until Saturday in Brown’s honor.
Brown flew 68 combat missions for the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American pilots in U.S. history. A nine-time New York City Marathon runner and lifelong Jets and Mets fan, he told NBC 4 New York in May: “Fighter pilots are like athletes. And I was a pretty good pilot.”
In 2007, Brown and five other airmen accepted the Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of the Tuskegee Airmen. President George W. Bush and Congress awarded the airmen with one of the nation’s highest honors for fighting to defend their country even as they faced bigotry at home.
Brown, who held a Ph.D. in education, also served 17 years as president of Bronx Community College. Brown later joined the CUNY Graduate Center as professor and director of the Center for Urban Education Policy. He also hosted “African American Legends,” a public affairs show on CUNY TV.
Brown fell critically ill over the winter and had a pacemaker installed at Montefiore Medical Center. His physician, Dr. Daniel Sims, told NBC 4 New York in May, “If he wasn’t as healthy and in such great shape, he probably wouldn’t have made it through this.”
“Most 94-year-olds are not this active, but Dr. Brown is just remarkable,” he said.
Brown was trying to ease back into exercise when NBC 4 New York caught up with him in May.
“As I got older, I tried to do a lot more than my body would accept,” he admitted.
Source: NBC New York