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.

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