Tuskegee Airman Joseph Gomer passes away

By KBJR News 1

October 11, 2013 Updated Oct 11, 2013 at 10:43 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Northland hero, and Minnesota's last surviving member of the Tuskegee airmen, Joseph Gomer, has died at the age of 93.

Gomer's daughter Phyllis Douglass posted on her Facebook today: "RIP Joseph Phillip Gomer. Father and one of the last remaining Tuskegee Airmen. I love you!"

Duluth Mayor Don Ness sent out the following statement on the passing of Joe Gomer:
"Duluth lost a national hero with the passing of Joe Gomer, one of the few remaining Tuskegee Airmen who served in WWII. Joe and his family moved to Duluth in 1963 and have been an integral part of our community ever since. While we mourn, we can also take comfort in knowing that he received the recognition he rightly deserved. Joe was able to witness the unveiling of a life-sized statue at the Duluth International Airport. The Joe Gomer Monument will forever serve as a reminder of Joe’s vast contributions to our community and country."

U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) released the following statement:

“We lost a true hero in Joe Gomer,” said Sen. Franken. “He enlisted at a time when racial segregation plagued the armed forces and, after becoming a member of the Tuskegee Airman, continued to serve his country in the Air Force for two decades. He truly made a mark on this country. He was a great American, and Minnesota is proud to have called him one of our own.”

Gomer was born in Iowa Falls, Iowa June 20th, 1920. In 1942, he became a member of the first ever group of black military airmen that would become known as the Tuskegee Airmen.

The WWII veteran flew 68 combat missions with the Tuskegee Airmen. The success of the unit is credited with helping prompt the integration of U.S. armed forces in 1948.

Gomer retired from the military as a Major after 22 years of service.

We'll have a look back on Gomer's life coming up tonight at the KBJR 6 and Range 11 news at 5 and 6.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns