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Family remembers Tuskegee Airman

Posted at 10:16 PM, May 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-29 01:16:09-04

To many, Lieutenant Colonel Asa D. Herring, Jr. was a pilot and a leader. But to others, he was a grandfather.

"One of my fondest memories is him bringing my sisters and I ice cream," said Martina Blasingame, Herring's granddaughter.

Herring passed away Friday surrounded by loved ones at his home in Phoenix.

"You know, he would tell us stories and it was just unbelievable what he had to endure," she said.

Before the Tuskegee Airmen, Black people were not allowed to be pilots in the military.

However, after serving, Herring and the other airmen were given the Congressional Medal for inspiring revolutionary reform in the military.

It's unclear how many other Tuskegee are still alive. At least one, Howard Williams, lives in Flagstaff.

"It just speaks to the walls he had to break down," said Blasingame.

"It's really impactful and the fact I don't have to live with that — it means a lot."

In addition to fighting overseas, Herring was the first Black squadron commander at Luke Air Force Base.

The family told ABC15 they plan on holding a celebration of life in the near future.