Charles W. “A-Train” Dryden

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Charles W. “A-Train” Dryden in the cockpit of his P-40 with Benjamin O. Davis Jr. on the wing. Dryden graduated with class 42-D and was assigned to the 99th FS. He deployed with the unit to North Africa. Dryden was leading a flight of six P-40s on 9 June 1943 when they encountered a formation of Nazi bombers and escorting fighters over the island of Pantelleria. This was the 99th first encounter with the Luftwaffe. Though outnumbered Dryden drove into the enemy formation, breaking it up and forcing the bombers to jettison their payloads harmlessly into the sea. Dryden returned to the States in October and served as an instructor to the Tuskegee Airmen who would make up the 332nd Fighter Group. He remained in the Air Force after the end of hostilities and during the Korean War he was forward observation pilot, flying an unarmed plane behind enemy lines relaying reporting on the location and movement of enemy forces. By the time he retired in 1962 he had logged over 4,000 hours. He wrote an autobiography “A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman” which was published in 2002. He passed away in 2008 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Learn more about Charles Dryden in Tuskegee Airman Profiles.