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Friday, November 9, 2012 - 6:30am

Lt. Col Herbert Carter, One Of The Last Tuskegee Airmen, Dies

Updated: 2 years ago.
Former Tuskegee Airman Herbert Carter, in January at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Alabama. Behind him: A PT-17 trainer aircraft.

Retired Lt. Col. Herbert Carter, who flew 77 missions in Europe during World War II with the famed Tuskegee Airmen, died Thursday at the East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, Stan Ingold of Alabama Public Radio reports. News outlets are reporting he was either 93 or 94 we've made calls to see if we can determine which is correct. (Update at 10:25 a.m. ET: A family friend tells Alabama Public Radio that Carter turned 95 in September.)

In January, Carter told the Montgomery Advertiser that just four of the original 33 airmen remained alive.

As Stan reminds us, the Tuskegee Airmen were the first black fighter pilots in U.S. history. Once asked about his legacy, Carter said he hoped that his love of flying would be "perpetuated by every generation" that follows him.

In 2008, AL.com writes, Carter talked with The Associated Press about "the constant adjustment of being respected as a soldier on base, then having that dignity snatched away once off-base, where they were 'just another Negro in Alabama in the eyes of the civilian population.' "

After the war, Carter served in the Air Force for 25 years.

Back in March, University of Alabama News posted video of Carter talking about his experiences.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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