Home>Feature>James Cotten, New Jerseyan who served with Tuskegee Airmen, dies at 93

Master Sergeant (ret.) James A. Cotten, a longtime Willingboro resident, was a member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. (Photo: U.S. Air Force.)

James Cotten, New Jerseyan who served with Tuskegee Airmen, dies at 93

Willingboro veteran spent 21 years in the Air Force, 45 more as a civilian employee at Joint Base McGuire-Dix

By David Wildstein, August 22 2020 3:43 pm

James A. Cotten, a member of the fabled Tuskegee Airmen, 332nd Fighter Group, died on August 14.  He was 93.

Cotten spent 21 years in the U.S. Air Force before beginning a 45-year career as a contract administrator for the U.S. Department of Defense at Joint Base McGuire-Dix.  He retired in 2012 at age 85.

“We were really doing something in the interest of the nation,” Cotton said in 2017 interview “We were considered to be elite personnel. We were taught every day that this was another day to excel.”

In 2012, Cotten was presented the Congressional Gold Medal for his service with the Tuskegee Airmen.  The following year, he was one of six veterans present when President Barack Obama paid tribute to the famed unit.

Cotten joined the elite, all Black Air Force unit in 1945, after he turned 18.  In 1949, he was assigned to the 334th Fighter Interceptor Squadron 4th Fighter Group as the Air Operations non-commissioned officer.

He spent more than 20 years on the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Credit Union League Board of Directors and served on the Veteran’s Advisory Committee. Cotten was a Willingboro resident.

Cotten is survived by his wife of 73 years, Oteria, 10 children, 15 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren.

A private family service was held on Friday.

Click here for statements on the passing of James A. Cotten.

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