Charles W. Dryden (born September 16, 1920 in New York, New York - died June 24, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia) was one of the Tuskegee Airmen which trained in Alabama and flew missions in North Africa and Italy during World War II.
Dryden was born in New York to Charles Levi Tucker Dryden and Violet Buckley Dryden, both natives of Jamaica. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School and went on to earn a bachelor's degree in political science at Hofstra University and a master's in public law and government at Columbia.
In 1941 Dryden, known as "A-Train", was selected for training with a group of African-American army pilots at the Tuskegee Army Flying School in Alabama. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant on April 29, 1942 and joined the 99th Pursuit Squadron and later the 332nd Fighter Group. He took part in the first mission flown by Tuskegee Airmen. Later he led a patrol of six P-40s that engaged a German bombing group near the island of Pantelleria, forcing it to drop its payloads into the sea and retreat. He returned to the United States in 1943 to work as a trainer.
Dryden remained in the Air Force after the war and served in the Korean War. He also taught air science at Howard University. He retired in 1962 as a Lieutenant Colonel and went to work for Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems in Marietta, Georgia. He moved to Atlanta in 1996.
Dryden died of natural causes in June, 2008. He was survived by his wife, Marymal Morgan Dryden, and by three sons.
- Dryden, Charles (1997) A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press. ISBN 9780817308568
- "Tuskegee Airman Dryden dies in Atlanta at 87." (June 26, 2008) Birmingham News
- Thompson, Jeff (June 26, 2008) "Tuskegee Airman 'A-Train' passes." Tuskegee News