LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — Lt. Col. Robert Friend flew 142 combat missions in World War II.
Friend was one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, an elite group of African-American military pilots who fought the Nazis abroad only to face racism once they returned to America.READ MORE: Bobcat Kitten Spotted Roaming UCR Botanic Gardens
“My sister arrived, some friends arrived, and once everybody got there, we called the chaplain and we did a prayer,” Karen Crumlich, Friend’s daughter, said. “And during the prayer, right when we said amen, he took his last breath.”
Crumlich said her father was working up until last year, signing autographs and speaking to school kids sharing his story.READ MORE: LA City Sites To Vaccinate Children 12 And Up Beginning Friday
That story included a 28-year-career in the military where, along with fighting in WWII, he flew missions in the Korea and Vietnam wars.
Friend died of sepsis. He was 99 years old.MORE NEWS: School Board Votes To Rebuild Wedgeworth Elementary In Hacienda Heights As K-5 School
Public services will likely be held the weekend of July 4.