One of the original Tuskegee Airmen in Arizona dies
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — One of the original Tuskegee Airmen who lived in Arizona died on Friday. Retired LTC. Asa D. Herring was surrounded by his family. He was 95 years old. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Herring was born in North Carolina in 1926 and was a student at Tuskegee Institute in their aircraft maintenance program. He passed the written exam but since he was still 17, he had to wait until he was 18 before he could be inducted. While serving during the last stages of WWII, he flew the Stearman PT-17 and the AT-6.
“This Memorial Day weekend will be one that my family will remember forever.” said Martina Blasingame, his granddaughter. “Just being able to accomplish so much, it just makes my family feel so proud of him.”
After accepting an honorable discharge, he graduated from several top-notch technical schools but couldn’t find a job with an airline or fixed-base operator. So he joined the military and stayed for 22 years. He served all over the world, including becoming the first Black squadron commander at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale.
“The interactions that I was with him, he’s just very open. And whenever there’s a conversation, he seems to step right in,” said Ragsdale Tuskegee Airmen Inc. Public Affairs Officer Joseph Olano.
Herring trained pilots from several European countries in the F-104G Jet Fighter Gunnery Program. Some of the awards he received include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star and more. Herring is survived by his two sons, six grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
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