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Robert Friend, one of the last original Tuskegee Airmen, died at the age of 99



Robert Friend, who completed 142 combat missions as a member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, died Friday. He was 99 years old.

Karen Friend Crumlich, the daughter of a friend, told Desert Sun newspaper that her father had died in a hospital in Long Beach, California. The cause of death was not disclosed.

"My dad was my hero, he was always there for me and in the end I wanted to be there for him," she told the outlet. "He passed away with love and affection with his family and dear friends around him, he is truly a national treasure that I will carry in my heart, I promise to keep his inheritance alive by telling his story to everyone, who wants to hear it. " 1

9659004] Lt. Col. Bob Friend, a Tuskegee aviator, is on stage with actress Pauley Perrette during a charity concert at the House of Blues in Los Angeles in 2013. (Photo by Paul A. Hebert / Invision / AP, File) "/>

Lt. Col. Bob Friend, a Tuskegee flier, stands with actress Pauley Perrette during a charity concert at the House of Blues in Los Angeles each year On stage in 2013 (Photo by Paul A. Hebert / Invision / AP, File)

WILFRED DEFOUR, TUSKEGEE AIRMAN DURING WORLD WAR II, dies at 100

A friend was born on February 29, 1920 in Columbia, SC. During his time with the Tuskegee "Red Tails" as the group was then called, he served as a wingman for the commander of the unit, Benjamin O. Davis, who later became the first African-American general of the Air Force.

The Tuskegee program, which trained pilots, navigators, and ground crew, was launched by the military after the NAACP began preventing black people from flying military aircraft.

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"Doing a job," a 2017 friend told The Desert Sun. He also worked on launchers and served as a director of foreign technology programs before retiring as a lieutenant colonel and founding his own aerospace company.

CLICK FOR MORE FROM THE DESERT SUN] The Associated Press has contributed to this report.


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