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One Of The Last Arizona Tuskegee Airmen Robert Ashby Dies At 95

One of the three surviving Tuskegee Airmen in Arizona has died. Lt. Col. (retired) Robert Ashby was 95 years old when he passed away on Friday, March 5, in his Sun City home. 

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first Black pilots who flew combat missions during World War II. Ashby was also the first African American hired by Frontier Airlines.

First assigned to Japan as part of the U.S. occupying force, he was rejected by two white flying units because of the color of his skin.

Ashby went on to have a 21-year-long career with the Air Force, which ended in 1965. He moved onto commercial flying, until reaching the mandatory retirement age for a major airline at 60.

Ashby is survived by his wife and three sons. Funeral services will be private due to the pandemic.

Senior field correspondent Bridget Dowd has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.