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Tuskegee Airman William Wheeler at the American Airpower (Credit: Richard Slattery)

Tuskegee Airman William Wheeler at the American Airpower Museum on Feb. 14, 2003. Wheeler died July 19, 2011. He was 87. Newsday's obituary for William Wheeler

Tuskegee Airman William Wheeler

Photos of Tuskegee Airman William Wheeler.

Mourners watch during a graveside service for Tuskegee
(Credit: Ed Betz)

Mourners watch during a graveside service for Tuskegee Airman William Wheeler, a 47-year Hempstead resident, who was among black pilots who broke the color bar when they flew WWII combat missions over Europe, in Hempstead. (July 29, 2011)

A fellow Tuskegee Airman salutes during a graveside
(Credit: Ed Betz)

A fellow Tuskegee Airman salutes during a graveside service for Tuskegee Airman William Wheeler, a 47-year Hempstead resident, who was among black pilots who broke the color bar when they flew WWII combat missions over Europe, in Hempstead, NY. (July 29, 2011)

The coffin of Tuskegee Airman William Wheeler, a
(Credit: Ed Betz)

The coffin of Tuskegee Airman William Wheeler, a 47-year Hempstead resident, who was among black pilots who broke the color bar when they flew WWII combat missions over Europe, is carried out of Union Baptist Church in Hempstead, NY. (July 29, 2011)

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A military officer salutes after handing a flag
(Credit: Ed Betz)

A military officer salutes after handing a flag to Cameron Wheeler, during a graveside service for his father, Tuskegee Airman William Wheeler, a 47-year Hempstead resident, who was among black pilots who broke the color bar when they flew WWII combat missions over Europe, in Hempstead, NY. (July 29, 2011)

A fellow Tuskegee Airman salutes during a graveside
(Credit: Ed Betz)

A fellow Tuskegee Airman salutes during a graveside service for Tuskegee Airman William Wheeler, a 47-year Hempstead resident, who was among black pilots who broke the color bar when they flew WWII combat missions over Europe, in Hempstead, NY. (July 29, 2011)

Derek Wheeler, son of Tuskegee Airman William Wheeler,
(Credit: Ed Betz)

Derek Wheeler, son of Tuskegee Airman William Wheeler, a 47-year Hempstead resident, who was among black pilots who broke the color bar when they flew WWII combat missions over Europe, places a flower on his coffin at a graveside service in Hempstead, NY. (July 29, 2011)

A fellow Tuskegee Airman watches during a graveside
(Credit: Ed Betz)

A fellow Tuskegee Airman watches during a graveside service for Tuskegee Airman William Wheeler, a 47-year Hempstead resident, who was among black pilots who broke the color bar when they flew WWII combat missions over Europe, in Hempstead, NY. (July 29, 2011)

A military honor guard fires a ceremonial round
(Credit: Ed Betz)

A military honor guard fires a ceremonial round during a graveside service for Tuskegee Airman William Wheeler, a 47-year Hempstead resident, who was among black pilots who broke the color bar when they flew WWII combat missions over Europe, in Hempstead, NY. (July 29, 2011)

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Clayton Lawrence, a fellow Tuskegee Airman, from Queens,
(Credit: Ed Betz)

Clayton Lawrence, a fellow Tuskegee Airman, from Queens, NY, lays a flag on the coffin during a graveside service for Tuskegee Airman William Wheeler, a 47-year Hempstead resident, who was among black pilots who broke the color bar when they flew WWII combat missions over Europe, in Hempstead, NY. (July 29, 2011)

William M. Wheeler, 87 The longtime Hempstead resident
(Credit: Newsday, 2008 / Michael E. Ach)

William M. Wheeler, 87

The longtime Hempstead resident was one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. Wheeler was among the last of 994 pilot cadets who graduated from an experimental Army Air Corps program that began during World War II.

Tuskegee Airman William Wheeler in a 1942 photo.
(Credit: Handout)

Tuskegee Airman William Wheeler in a 1942 photo.

From left, Tuskegee Airmen Victor Terrelongue, Robert Olden,
(Credit: Howard Schnapp)

From left, Tuskegee Airmen Victor Terrelongue, Robert Olden, William Johnson, Spann Watson, Lee Archer Jr., Dr. Roscoe Brown Jr., Wilfred DeFour, William Wheeler, Fred Lawrence, and Ed Monroe are honored during the Veteran's Day celebration at the American Air Power Museum at Republic Airport in Farmingdale. (Nov. 11, 2006)

Tuskegee Airmen Julius T. Freeman, left, and William
(Credit: Charles Eckert)

Tuskegee Airmen Julius T. Freeman, left, and William Wheeler; Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray; Tuskegee Airman Victor Terrelonge; Councilwoman Dorothy L. Goosby; and Tuskegee Airmen Robert Olden and Eddie Monroe attend Hempstead Town's annual African-American History Month, where the airmen were honored with the Rosa Parks Award. (Feb. 8, 2011)

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Tuskegee Airmen William Wheeler, left, and Victor Terrelonge
(Credit: Charles Eckert)

Tuskegee Airmen William Wheeler, left, and Victor Terrelonge attend Hempstead Town's annual African-American History Month Celebration at the Nathan L. H. Bennett Pavilion. The men, World War II fighter pilots, received the Rosa Parks Award from the town. (Feb. 8, 2011)

From left, Tuskegee Airmen William Wheeler, Victor Terrelonge
(Credit: Charles Eckert)

From left, Tuskegee Airmen William Wheeler, Victor Terrelonge and Julius T. Freeman speak with Supervisor Kate Murray after the they received the Rosa Parks award during the annual African-American History Month Celebration at the Nathan L. H. Bennett Pavilion. (Feb. 8, 2011)

Retired Tuskegee Airman William Wheeler touches the coffin
(Credit: AP)

Retired Tuskegee Airman William Wheeler touches the coffin of Lt. Col. Spann Watson, who served during World War II as a P-51 Mustang pilot with the famed Tuskegee Airmen's 99th Fighter Squadron, during the funeral services at the Old Post Chapel at Fort Myer in Arlington, Va. (July 29, 2010)

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