City Views: Tuskegee Airman returned to family decades after final mission

October 10, 2018 - 5:00 am

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The remains of a Tuskegee Airman were found 73 years after he was lost in a flight over Austria.

Marla Andrews was just 29-months-old when her father Captain Lawrence Dickson went down. It was December 23, 1944, and Dickson, a Harlem resident, was on his 68th mission. Dickson was one of more than two dozen black fighter pilots who went missing during World War II.

On Friday, July 27, he became the first to be positively identified at the site where he crashed.

Andrews was stunned when she heard the news.

"It was a real shocker because they called me in August of 2017, and at first I thought it was a sham, someone trying to sell me something," she told City Views with Sharon Barnes Waters.

Michael Mee, the Identification Chief for the Army's Past Conflicts Reparations Branch brought Andrews artifacts and a formal report on how her father was accounted for.

"He had pictures, he had actual objects to show me, there were certain things he had to describe in terms of the process and procedure of the next stage of burying him at Arlington Cemetery," she said.

In total, more than 900 black pilots were trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field, a segregated base in Alabama, during World War II. 

The pilots came from across the country fighting racism at home, and the enemy overseas.

The Tuskegee Airmen took on combat roles flying patrols, strafing missions, and bomber escorts in North Africa and Italy -- they flew planes with tail sections painted red.

For the full story of Marla and her father check out the interview above. You can see a slideshow of the photos below.