Family of Arizona Tuskegee airman asks public to honor his legacy through aviation, math, science scholarships
Famed Tuskegee Airmen veteran Asa D. Herring Jr., who died Friday at 95, is recalled as "a wonderful man" with "the greatest legacy to leave behind."
Famed Tuskegee Airmen member Asa D. Herring Jr., who died Friday at his home in Phoenix, Arizona, is recalled by his granddaughter as “a wonderful man” with “the greatest legacy to leave behind, not only for American history but for our family.” He was 95 years old.
“He just lived a life of honor,” Jenna Herring told AZCentral. “We always looked up to him. He was just the greatest grandfather.”
The Herring family is asking the public to honor the former fighter pilot’s legacy through donations to the Tuskegee Airmen Archer-Ragsdale Arizona’s Chapter’s various scholarship funds that help further the education of high school students pursuing STEM careers and aviation.
The ARAC/TAI is a nonprofit that honors the accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen and develops initiatives aimed to motivate and inspire youth to seek success in a chosen career field, according to its website.
Herring, who is survived by two sons, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, would not often talk about his life in military service.
One of his granddaughters, Martina Blasingame, told AZCentral, “When we hung out, if you wanted to know stories about his past and his life and his Tuskegee career, you had to ask him questions to pry it out of him. Otherwise, he was grandpa mode and we played puzzles and ate ice cream together. “
Herring was the first Black squadron commander at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona with the skills to train pilots from European countries in the F-104G Jet Fighter Gunnery Program. He was a part of the U.S. Air Force from June 1949, when he volunteered, to June 1970, when he retired as a lieutenant colonel. As a student at Tuskegee Institute’s Aircraft Maintenance program, he became an aviation cadet in December 1944.
The proud vet went on to receive credentials from the Civil Aeronautics Administration as a certified aircraft and engine mechanic and aircraft ground instructor, he but was unable to find work in the aviation field. Instead, per Fox 10 Phoenix, he worked for many years at AT&T.
Herring also was the recipient of the Bronze Medal and the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor for his decades of service.
“My grandpa was a true American hero and an inspiration to many,” Blasingame told Fox 10. “We do know he is very proud of what he accomplished in this life.”
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