Tuskegee Airman John Edward Allen is dead and what he died from is even worse

John Edward Allen, a New Mexico veteran, one of the original Tuskegee Airman during World War II and later earned honors for his service in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, has died after a long battle with cancer.

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The NAACP Albuquerque Chapter President Harold Bailey said Allen died from multiple myeloma. He was 84.

A long-time resident of New Mexico after retiring, Allen was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Forces right out of high school. 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.