Family-Placed Death Notice
DRYDEN, Charles LT. COLONEL CHARLES W. DRYDEN Lieutenant Colonel Charles W. Dryden (USAF-Retired) passed away on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 after a brief illness. Funeral services celebrating the life of Lt. Col. Dryden will be held on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at Cascade United Methodist Church, 3144 Cascade Road, SW; Atlanta, GA 30311. He will lie in state from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.; services are scheduled from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. He will be eulogized by The Reverend Andrew Young, former Mayor of Atlanta and former Ambassador to the United Nations. There will be "fly-over" in celebration of his life immediately after the funeral services. Charles Walter Dryden was born on September 16, 1920, in New York City to Jamaican parents, Charles Levy Tucker Dryden and Violet Buckley Dryden. He lived out his dream of flying airplanes. And then he lived to write about it in his autobiography which was published by the University of Alabama Press "A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman." Dryden earned a BA in Political Science from Hofstra University (NY) and a MA in Public Law and Government from Columbia University. In 1996 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Hofstra University. In August 1941 Dryden was selected for Aviation Cadet training at the Tuskegee Army Flying School. He was commissioned in 1942 as Second Lieutenant, in the second class of black pilots to graduate in the history of the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was a member of the famed 99th Pursuit Squadron, later the 332 Fighter Group, which served during World War II. On June 9, 1943, then Lieutenant Charles Dryden, in his P-40 nicknamed "A-Train," led a flight of six pilots engaging enemy fighter aircraft in aerial combat over Pantelleria, Sicily. It was the first time in aviation history that Black American pilots of the U.S. Army Air Corps engaged aircraft in combat. Col. Dryden's 21-year military career included combat missions in Korea and duty assignments in Japan, Germany and other bases in the United States. He was a Professor of Air Science at Howard University and retired as a command pilot with 4,000 hours flying time. He is a member of the board of directors of the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame, Quality Living Services, and the Atlanta Chapter-Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. which he helped found in 1978 and served as president, vice president, and national convention committee chairman. Lt. Col. Dryden was designated an "Outstanding Georgia Citizen" by the Secretary of State and inducted into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame. President Bush conferred the Congressional Gold Medal on Lt. Col. Dryden, and all Tuskegee Airmen, in the Capitol Rotunda in March, 2007. He was a member of the First Congregational Church; and was often a speaker to youth and college students encouraging them to seek careers in military and civilian aviation. Colonel Dryden has three sons by a former marriage - Charles Walter Dryden, Jr. of Maui, Hawaii; Keith Cameron Dryden of Orlando; and Eric B. Dryden of Atlanta. He was father to his wife's four children - George Bingham, Anthony Bingham, Kenneth Bingham and Cornelia-Rose White, all of Atlanta. They have five grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Pauline Miles from Denver, CO and a host of relatives and friends. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions are sent to the Atlanta Chapter Tuskegee Airmen for the Charles "A-Train" Dryden Education Fund (Floyd Stanfield, at 404-217-6393) or Quality Living Services. Public Viewing Monday, June 30, 2008 9 AM - 9 PM at Murray Brothers Funeral Home, 1199 Utoy Springs, SW (Corner of Cascade Rd. near I-285) 404-349-3000 mbfh.com.
Published in Atlanta Journal-Constitution from Jun. 26 to Jun. 29, 2008.