Minnesota's last Tuskegee Airman dies

Joe Gomer
World War II veteran Joe Gomer, pictured here in a 2012 file photo, was the only living Tuskegee Airman in Minnesota. The celebrated group of African-American fighter pilots helped pave the way for integration of the U.S. military.
MPR Photo/Dan Kraker

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota's last surviving Tuskegee Airman, Joseph Philip Gomer, has died. He was 93.

His daughter, Phyllis Douglass, of Claremont, Calif., tells The Associated Press he died of cancer Thursday at a Duluth nursing home.

2012 profile of Gomer

During World War II, Gomer was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, America's first black fighter pilots. He flew 68 combat missions in P-47s and P-51s, and survived a crash landing and having his plane shot up by a German fighter. The success of the Tuskegee Airmen is credited with helping prompt the integration of the military.

The Duluth News Tribune reports a bronze statue of a young Gomer in his flight suit stands at the Duluth airport terminal. Another statue of Gomer was unveiled earlier this year in his hometown of Iowa Falls, Iowa.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.