Tuskegee Airman laid to rest

  • Published
  • By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
The Air Force paid its final respects to former 2nd Lt. Malvin G. Whitfield, an Army Air Forces and Air Force veteran, at Arlington National Cemetery, June 8. Whitfield distinguished himself as the first U.S. military member to win Olympic gold medals while serving his country. Whitfield joined the Army Air Corps in 1943 as a Tuskegee Airman, one of more than 1,000 African-American pilots who fought in World War II.

Whitfield later served as a youth and sports affairs officer for the U.S. Information Agency. He he traveled to more than 132 countries and played a key role in training and developing African athletes.

Whitfield established the Whitfield Foundation in 1989. The organization promoted athletics around the world with scholarships, training programs and equipment donations. According to the organization’s website, the late President Ronald Reagan wrote the following about Whitfield:

"Whether flying combat missions over Korea, or winning gold medal after gold medal at the Olympics, or serving as an ambassador of goodwill among the young athletes of Africa, you have given your all. This country is proud of you, and grateful to you."

Whitfield was 91 when he died on Nov. 19, 2015.