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Tuskegee Airman Herbert Carter dies at 95

TUSKEGEE, Ala. -- Retired Lt. Col. Herbert Eugene Carter, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen who broke color barriers during World War II, died Thursday. He was 95.

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black aviators in the U.S. military. During World War II, they trained as a segregated unit in central Alabama at Tuskegee Institute. Carter was in the first group that trained for the 99th Fighter Squadron.

After being admitted to the Army Air Corps, they were prohibited from fighting alongside white counterparts and faced severe prejudice, yet went on to become one of World War II's most respected fighter squadrons, successfully escorting countless bombers during the war.

Carter flew 77 missions and crash-landed only once.

After the war, Carter served as a professor of air science and Air Force ROTC commander at Tuskegee University from 1950-55 and as professor of aerospace studies from 1965 to 1969.

"He fought for freedom from tyranny internationally and for freedom from discrimination at home in America," university president Gilbert L. Rochon said Friday.

Last year, Carter helped producer George Lucas celebrate the opening of his movie about the pilots, "Red Tails."

"It's a wonderful feeling that finally there is some recognition that's being done in a manner that is credible to the Tuskegee Airmen," Carter said at the time. -- AP

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