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One of three last surviving Tuskegee Airmen in Arizona dies

Lt Col Robert Ashby2.jpg
Posted at 1:47 PM, Mar 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-09 17:03:34-05

Lt. Col. Robert Ashby, one of the three last surviving Tuskegee Airmen in Arizona, died on Friday.

Lt. Col. Ashby, who served for the United States Air Force and was a retired captain for Frontier Airlines, passed away at his home in Sun City at the age of 95.

Ashby was also the first African American pilot hired by Frontier Airlines, according to Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

Born in Yemassee, SC on July 17, 1926, Ashby enlisted in the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet program after learning about the experiences of Black pilots in the 99th Pursuit Squadron of the U.S. Army Air Corps at Tuskegee, AL.

He was called to active duty in August 1944 after graduating high school.

After serving for 21 years in the Air Force, Ashby retired and attended the University of Maryland and UCLA.

He began his commercial aviation career in 1965 and eventually became employed by Frontier Airlines.

Lt Col Robert Ashby1.jpg

Ashby also became the first African American pilot to reach mandatory retirement age 60 with a major airline.

He retired in July of 1986.

Ashby is survived by his wife, Dorina, and three sons.