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One of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen has died.

Lt. Col. Robert Friend, who flew 142 combat missions in World War II passed away on Saturday from sepsis. He was 99 years old.

Friend was a member of the Airmen, an elite group of African-American military pilots who fought the Nazis during the Second World War, only to return to America and endure racism and Jim Crow.

But Friend’s days as a fighter pilot didn’t stop with World War II. During a decorated 28-year-career, he flew missions in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. Up until last year, he still worked, signed autographs and spoke to children sharing his story from when he was part of the prestigious Airmen.

“My sister arrived, some friends arrived, and once everybody got there, we called the chaplain and we did a prayer,” Friend’s daughter, Karen Crumlich said. “And during the prayer, right when we said amen, he took his last breath.”

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Robert Friend, One Of The Last Surviving Tuskegee Airmen, Dead At 99  was originally published on