Greene County News Report
XENIA — A Greene County resident and one of the few remaining Tuskegee Airmen left in the United States has died. The Greene County Coroner’s Office confirmed the death of Charles Feaster, 94, of Xenia, Tuesday.
Feaster was a Tuskegee Airman, among the first African-Americans to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II.
Feaster was a student at Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in 1940, when he had the opportunity to join the 99th Pursuit Squadron, later called the 99th Fighter Squadron. He qualified as a technician and flight engineer in the 99th Fighter Squadron, one of only six people who passed the exam to hold that position.
The 99th Fighter Squadron distinguished itself during World War II in the campaigns in North Africa, Italy, northern and southern France, the Rhineland and the Balkins. Feaster’s planes were responsible for tactical fighting — wiping out enemy aircraft to get his men safely to their next location.
“I think about those who didn’t come back with me,” Feaster said in an August interview with Greene County News about his military service. “And I still miss them.”
He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 for his role in the war, and he also received the presidential gold coin from President Barack Obama at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base near Columbus in 2013.
According to a CNN article published Tuesday, two other Tuskegee Airmen – Clarence Huntley Jr. and Joseph Shambrey – died last week. In that article, a historian estimated that there are 200 known survivors left from the “Tuskegee Experience.”
Greene County News Report compiled by Nathan Pilling and Scott Halasz.