Happy birthday, Second Lt. Irma "Pete" Cameron Dryden! Irma, who is the only living Tuskegee Airmen nurse, celebrated her 100th birthday on Thursday, May 29, 2020. The centenarian marked the milestone with a socially distant gathering on her front lawn, complete with signs, American flags, balloons, flowers and a cake, the outlet reported.
"She has had a monumental impact on people and not even know that she did," a spokesperson for the National Association of Black Military Women (NABMW) Atlanta Chapter, of which Irma is a member. Born in New York City to a dental technician father and a teacher mother, Irma graduated from Harlem Hospital School of Nursing in 1942 before moving to Alabama to join the military service a year later, according to the NABMW. There, she worked as a medical nurse and cared for the airmen who were
training to serve in the war.
In a tweet from the Tuskegee Army Nurses, the group explained how Irma was "stationed at Tuskegee Army Airfield
station hospital in the 1940s when the pilot cadets were in training during World War II. "She remained in the service until 1944, according to the NABMW. However, prior to her exit, Irma met and fell in love with Tuskegee airman Charles Dryden. In the 1994 HBO film, "The Tuskegee Airmen", Cuba Gooding Jr.'s character was loosely based on Charles "A-Train" Dryden.
The pair married on November 16, 1943, with their love story eventually being detailed in Tom Brokaw's book, An Album of Memories: Personal Histories from the Greatest Generation, as well as Charles' memoir, A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman. In 2014, Irma was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for her service.