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Lt. Col. Herbert Carter, One Of The Last Tuskegee Airmen, Dies

Former Tuskegee Airman Herbert Carter, in January at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Alabama. Behind him: A PT-17 trainer aircraft.

Tuskegee Airman Col. Herbert Carter, listens as Gov. Robert Bentley reads a proclamation honoring the fliers during a ceremony at the Capitol in Montgomery, Ala., on Jan. 20.

Retired Lt. Col. Herbert Carter, who flew 77 missions in Europe during World War II with the famed Tuskegee Airmen, died Thursday at the East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, Stan Ingold of Alabama Public Radio reports.

Carter was 95, a family friend tells Alabama Public Radio and according to Tuskegee University, where he earned undergraduate and graduate degrees, taught and later was an assistant dean for student services.

(Note at noon ET: As we said earlier, some news outlets have reported he was 93, others have said 94. We now have two independent sources saying he was 95.)

In January, Carter told the Montgomery Advertiser that just four of the original 33 airmen remained alive.

As Stan reminds us, the Tuskegee Airmen were the first black fighter pilots in U.S. history. Once asked about his legacy, Carter said he hoped that his love of flying would be "perpetuated by every generation" that follows him.

In 2008, AL.com writes, Carter talked with The Associated Press about "the constant adjustment of being respected as a soldier on base, then having that dignity snatched away once off-base, where they were 'just another Negro in Alabama in the eyes of the civilian population.' "

After the war, Carter served in the Air Force for 25 years.

Back in March, University of Alabama News posted video of Carter talking about his experiences.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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