Riverdale (Atlanta Daily World) -- The oldest remaining member of the 99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group of the U.S. Army, affectionately known as the "Red Tails," died on Thursday, months before his 99th birthday. Family representatives say Brew O. Graham of Riverdale, Ga., passed away in his home. His wife, Evelyn, had died just a month before, on Aug.12.
Born in Greenwood, Miss., on February 20, 1915, Graham served as a mechanic with the Red Tails in World War II, and, at 98 years and seven months old, was the eldest member of the brigade still living. Graham was honored last year by Clayton County, which declared Aug. 7, 2012 to be Brew O. Graham Day.
"Brew Graham is honored today in recognition of the significant and historic role he played as a dedicated and proud veteran," the proclamation said. "He bravely accomplished a distinct time in history, overcoming many obstacles and challenges. At the remarkable age of 97 years old, Brew Graham is the oldest-living Tuskegee Airman and is celebrated for his commitment, perseverance, and lifetime achievements."
He was lauded on that day for his service in the armed forces and for what Riverdale Mayor Evelyn Wynn-Dixon called his part in history.
"This is a real war veteran," Wynn-Dixon said to the Clayton News Daily. "It's such an honor to be in the presence of a real hero, and someone who is a part of history and living right here in Riverdale."
In addition to his acknowledgement from Clayton County and the city of Riverdale, a statement from his family includes a proclamation of his military record, which states:
"[He] was an inspector at an advanced air base close to the front lines. Examined the planes and made a detailed report as to the amount of damaged or worn parts. Was a qualified all round engine and plane mechanic and assigned other mechanics to repair all damages. He then supervised and inspected their work and tested the planes including taxing it around the field before it was o.k. for further flying."
The family is planning an open funeral for Graham at their church, Lakeland Christian Center, 6449 Church St., on Friday at 10 a.m. and is accepting donations. The family asks that any contributions be made payable to Watkins Funeral Home, 163 North Avenue, Jonesboro, GA 30326.