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Elwood T. Driver; Black WWII Fighter Pilot

April 04, 1992

Elwood T. Driver, 70, a pioneer black fighter pilot who later became vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. Driver joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 and became one of the "Tuskegee airmen," the nation's first black combat pilots. He shot down a German aircraft over the Anzio beachhead in 1944 while serving with the all-black 99th Fighter Squadron. After retiring from the Air Force in 1962 as a major, Driver worked for five years for North American Aviation in Anaheim. He became director of crashworthiness and crash avoidance at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter named him to the NTSB, where he served for a time as vice chairman before leaving in 1981 to become a private safety consultant. He joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1986 as director of the aircraft management office, retiring last November. On March 27 of cancer in Reston, Va.

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