John Edward Allen, a New Mexico veteran who served as a Tuskegee Airman during World War II and later served during Vietnam, has died. The NAACP Albuquerque Chapter president Harold Bailey confirmed Thursday that Allen died Tuesday of multiple myeloma. He was 84.
Allen was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Forces right out of high school in Live Oak, Fla., in 1945. At 17, he was assigned to the 332nd Fighter Wing of the Tuskegee Airmen - a group that broke racial barriers in World War II by becoming the first black aviators in the U.S. military.
He did not see combat in World War II but he earned the Air Force Commendation Medal for his service in Vietnam.
The Rio Rancho resident and about 300 original Tuskegee Airmen were awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in 2007.
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