Charles Dryden
Murray Brothers Funeral Home - SW Atlanta
1199 Utoy Springs Rd, SW 
Atlanta, GA

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
Published by Atlanta Journal-Constitution from Jun. 26 to Jun. 29, 2008.
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My thoughts and prayers are with your family this Christmas season. I know how you must miss Chuck. As my own family remembered those who had gone on this year from our family, my thoughts also included all of those closest to LTC Dryden. May each of you have a warm, safe and blessed Christmas.
Bill Gaskin Patriot Guard Riders
December 26, 2008
Dear Dryden Family,
My daughter, Marissa Gamboa, interviewed Colonel Dryden for a history project in April. He was very gracious and kind to her. His smile and words of wisdom meant a lot to her and our family. He was a true hero and pioneer and I will never forget the legacy that he left for his country and his people. I pray comfort and strength for your family.

Aaron and Hope Gamboa and family
Hope Gamboa
July 30, 2008
A true pioneer in all areas.
We Airmen salute you as you join the the LONELY EAGLES.
Jack Bryant
July 9, 2008

Deborah and I will certainly miss Chuck. The service in Atlanta was wonderful and it was good to see so much love there for you.

The Tuskegee Airmen motto is "Per Aspera Ad Astra". Chuck has truely made it... "to the stars through adversity."

Michael & Deborah Joseph
Michael Joseph
July 2, 2008
I had the unique pleasure of interviewing Col. Charles Dryden for research I conducted on “The Tuskegee Airmen and the Black Press and How They Proved That Blacks could be Successful Fighter Pilots During World War II" at Georgia State University. I spent 6 hours with him at his home in southwest Atlanta. I found him to be not only generous with his wealth of information, but also gracious and welcoming. He shared his stories and treasures as if I were a cherished friend, even though we had never met before. We laughed and cried together that day as he recalled his wonderful adventures. That interview led to me being published, an accomplishment which was only a dream before meeting Col. Dryden. I also presented this research at several significant conferences.

I saw him several times after that, the last time while attending a jazz gospel concert. When I told him how good it was to see him, he said, “It is good to be seen,” with a smile that was so bright, it lit the darkening sky. My experience with Col. Dryden was certainly the highlight of my academic experience.

God bless You Col. Dryden. You touched and changed my life. My best to Mrs. Dryden and all his family, as you celebrate his remarkable life.
Michael Oby
July 2, 2008
Words cannot explain how much I appreciate Lt Col Dryden's service to his country and the USAF. I am blessed to have known him.
Col (ret) Thomas Hutchings
July 1, 2008
Thanks sir, you are a legend in history.
Jeannie Perry
July 1, 2008
You are in my thoughts and prayers.
J Ferrell
July 1, 2008
Col Dryden, was truly an American hero. He was also a wonderful human being. I will miss seeing his smiling face at 1st Church.
Joan Carter
July 1, 2008
Chuck was not only a great fighter pilot -- he was also a great instructor. He and other returning members of the 99th taught combat tactics to many of us at Walterboro AAF, S. Carolina -- tactics and maneuvers which, no doubt, prepared us for combat and helped save some of OUR LIVES! He was the epitome of grace, patience and love, as well as being a ferocious combat pilot and prolific author. We will miss him immeasurably; however, he will remain indelibly etched in the hearts and minds of all who were fortunate enough to meet him, learn from him, and emulate him as a role model. I loved Charlie and hope that I, as a Lonely Eagle, will be able to kick top rudder and try to follow him as he flies, at red-line speed, through God's Firmament.

My love and prayers to dear Marymel and the family, who are very blessed to have shared in Chuck's life and can revisit him through a myriad of photos and other valuable and historical memorabilia.
William Wheeler
July 1, 2008
A true American hero! Thank you for leaving a legacy of honor, integrity and service to our nation.
stayce harris
July 1, 2008
Mrs. Dryden,

Please accept my condolences. Col. Dryden will surely be missed. I will always miss his warm smile and his way of making one feel special.
Eleanor C. Robinson
July 1, 2008
On behalf of the Major Carl P. Gigowski family, I would like to express our sympathy to the Charles Dryden Family for the loss of Lt. Col. Dryden. I had the pleasure of meeting Lt. Col. Dryden on February 27, 2006 as he participated in a Black History Month celebration at the Federal Aviation Administration’s Southern Region Headquarters in Atlanta, GA. My father was a B-24 bomber pilot in World War II stationed in Venosa, Italy. While growing up he told me the history of the Tuskegee Airman and the many missions during which they had flown fighter cover for him. During the Black History Month celebration, I took advantage of the opportunity to publicly thank Lt. Col. Dryden (as well as all the Tuskegee Airmen) for a job well done and that I am living proof of the job the Tuskegee Airmen did. I am confident that Lt. Col. Dryden was one of the Tuskegee Airmen that flew fighter cover for my father. He will be remembered by our family for a long time.
David Gigowski
June 30, 2008
Please accept my deepest sympathies.

I had the honor of meeting Colonel Dryden as a fellow author at two book signings. I will always remember his humor, honesty, and courage. He was ever vigilant to encourage others.
Patricia Collier
June 30, 2008
We love and will miss you dearly. It is an honor and a privilege to call you Granddaddy!
Cameron Dryden
June 30, 2008
To the Dryden and Bingham Families,
Col. Dryden was an inspirational and more than a remarkable man. You have our thoughts and prayers.

Rogers & Naomi Ward
Naomi T Ward
June 29, 2008
Marymal, John and I were devasted to hear that Chuck had passed away. He was such a wonderful person and we are blessed to have had him in our lives while we were in Atlanta. You are in our thoughts and prayers.


John and Sandy Bryant
Sandy Bryant
June 29, 2008
Col. Dryden was a remarkable man. It was an honor to know him. God bless you, Ms. Marymal. You are strong, and a dedicated angel sent from God.
sherry blackshear
June 29, 2008
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family in your time of grief. Lt.Col. Dryden was a wonderful person and co-worker. (Marvin O. Grigsby) Ret. Aircraft Design Engineer-Lockheed Aircraft Co.Marietta, Ga.
Marvin O. Grigsby
June 29, 2008
Fair winds, and following well, my brother...we will sure miss you!!! Ron Brewington, National Public Relations Officer, Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. (TAI)
Ron Brewington
June 29, 2008
To The Dryden Family,

We want extend our condolences to you and your family upon the homeward bound of Lt. Col. Dryden. For he is a Lonely Eagle now and he surely will be missed.

Clifford L. Hubly
Tuskgegee Airmen, Inc.
Los Angeles Chapter (Member)
Clifford Hubly
June 28, 2008
Colonel Dryden led a great life and wrote a great book. He was a kind, warm, unassuming man, utterly genuine and without pretense -- yet he had much to tell us about integrity, courage, sacrifice, loyalty, and dedication to his loved ones, his church, and his country. We were extraordinarily well served by this giant -- one of the greatest of The Greatest Generation.
John and Vivian Ingersoll
June 28, 2008
May the Dryden family be blessed. I do not remember his expoits being expressed when he was my Professor of Aerospace Science at Howard Univsersity. Our regards and respect for him are great. May God bless you all richly.
Edward Carter
June 28, 2008
I was very impressed with Lt. Col dryden's character at the work place. (Lockheed)
Robert Barton
June 28, 2008
Dear Mrs. Dryden, recently I had the opportunity to talk with Col Dryden at the Medal of Honor Luncheon held in Atlanta. We had the opportunity to sit and talk and he conducted an interview on me, I learned later in our conversation why he was asking me certain questions regarding my career and my road to Chief Master Sergeant. At the end of our talk, he looked at me and said, "You have a story to tell." I tried to convince the Colonel I really did not have a story to tell but he said, "You do and you must tell it." "Promise me you will write your story" and I found myself without hesitation saying, Sir I promise, I will write my story and I shall. What a faithful servant he was to our country and the military. It never mattered the age of the individual, he was always telling us (the young folks in the military), you have to carry it on, we started the work, but continue to work because God has a plan and he is the author of all good things.
Mrs. Dryden, may God bless and keep you and the rest of the family during your bereavement. Our hearts are saddend by the lost of a giant among men, but our heavenly Father has called his faithful son home to rest. As, I feel a gentle breeze passing by, I can hear Lt Col Charles Dryden saying to our Military, "Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise, but as wise. Understand what the Lord's will is." Ephesians 5:15, 17
CMSgt Joyce J. Scott
June 28, 2008
Dear Marymal,
We have lost a true and loyal friend.
Our deepest Sympathy to you and family.
Lt Col Robert & Dorina Ashby
June 27, 2008
Marymal I remember when you and Colonel Dryden married. Both of you were so fortunate to have found one another, and to have shared many years together, along with your children. May God give strength to all of you, as your cherish the memories, the companionship, and all of the togetherness which was meant to be. May God bless all of you as you support one another at this time.
Claire and Ira Harrison
June 27, 2008
Dear Marymal and extended family, I write with deepest sympathy. I wish for you peace in the days and weeks ahead as you remember and celebrate Col. Dryden's very rich life, a life that you enriched.
Peace be with you.
Jennifer Lund
June 27, 2008
Our prayers are with you. We extend our condolences and support in any manner. Col. Dryden will be missed by many.

Wynelle Scott and Alice Holmes Washington
Wynelle Scott
June 27, 2008
Mrs. Dryden, I wish to let you know this is a sad day and I wish I could help comfort you. Col. Dryden fought for freedom in the air and so brave as he was. I don't know youall, but I know about Col. Dryden because his ww2 expeirence should be remembered by all who walf free in the U.S.A. God bless you mam
Nancy Taylor
June 27, 2008
After the premier of the "Tuskegee" movie in Atlanta, Col Dryden and the 99th gave me a mission in life to preserve and keep their stories alive for future generations. I will continue this dedication. Eternal peace Col. Dryden
Marie Richardson
June 27, 2008
Col. Dryden was indeed a giant in our midst. He made us all realize how far we have come and the debt we owe to those, like him, who blazed the trail before us. He will be remembered not only through his memoirs in his book, but also by the vivid impressions he made in his presentations. I will surely miss his kind and astute presence. May God bless and comfort you in your loss.
Mac Hunter
June 27, 2008
Dear Marymal and family,
I remember Chuck was one of the most impressive guest speakers we have ever had. He was such a delightful person.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this challenging time.
We will miss him.

Lindsey and Kai Day
June 26, 2008
A-Train was such an inspiration to our company Bryton Entertainment. We had just interviewed him in November and he was full of life. He left us with a renewed sense of patriotism and such a better look on life. God Bless you Lt. Col. Maybe God will let you lead the Angels in a few fly-bys
Bryan Williams
June 26, 2008
Colonel Charles Dryden Sr. was an inspirational and motivational individual. He graced many with his honorable presence and will truly be missed. Thank you for representing something great.
Orlando Chance
June 26, 2008
Marymal, Col. Dryden told us all about himself in his book, A-TRAIN: MEMOIRS OF A TUSKEGEE AIRMAN. He was a remarkable man, and his presence will be missed.
Odessa Hooker
June 26, 2008
My deepest sympathy goes to the family of Col. Dryden. He left his mark for all of us to emulate; he will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Regards, Mary M. Jessie
Mary Jessie
June 26, 2008
Anyone who has ever met Colonel Dryden will agree that he is not just a national hero: his down-to-earth personality and sense of humor makes him a one-of-a-kind treasure. He touched many lives, positively, and will surely be missed.

My condolences to Mrs. Dryden and family. May the Lord be with you always.
Louise Clarke
June 26, 2008
Colonel Dryden was a blessing in our lives and in the lives of so many at First Church. I remember with fondness how helpful he was as he shared his life and his faith with the children of the church.
Please accept our condolences,
Bill, Barbara, Ennis, Alex and David Coble
Barbara Coble
June 26, 2008
My sincere sympathy during this time of sorrow for his wife and family. My condolence also to Eric Dryden who has been a great father to my nephew Tyler. I cannot find the words to calm your pain, but you all will be in my prayers. My sympathy to my sister Lorena, hoping that you get all the strengh to comfort Tyler who will miss grandpa very much. I am sorry again. Mr. Dryden history shows the commitment he had not only to himself and family but also to his community and country. God will take care of him and will comfort you during this time.
Ingrid Mena
June 26, 2008
Colonel Dryden was an honest, levelheaded, humble and kind gentleman. He cared about his community and visited and spoke at my church just this past Black History month 2/2/2008.
Terry Archer
June 26, 2008
In Sympathy
God knows your loss. Lay your burdens in His hands, for he is strong. Rest your head in His shoulders, for he is compassionate. Give to Him your pain and sorrow, for He is love.
Rev. Solomon A. Williams, TAI Eastern Region, V.P
Rev. & Mrs. Solomon A. Williams
June 26, 2008

We were thinking of you and Chuck just last week and the thought brought a big smile to our faces. You and your dear husband made a tremendous impression on our lives. We will never forget and always Love the both of you.

We are praying for you and your family.

With much Love,
Marv and Gaytra Jackson
(Ben Hill UMC-Couples in Christ Sunday School)
Gaytra Jackson
June 26, 2008
My sincere prayers and sympathy to Mrs. Dryden and family.
May God give you strength, comfort and peace.
Colonel Dryden will always be remembered as an inspiration to me and others who were blessed with his presence.
I feel very fortunate to have met such a distinguishable, humble, intellectual, well-spirited, kind-hearted hero and a gentleman of integrity.
Thank you for touching our lives in such a special way.
Rosalyn Harvey
June 26, 2008
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