November 13, 2012 - Retired Lieutenant Colonel
Herbert Carter, 93, one of the original Tuskegee
Airmen, died Nov. 8 at East Alabama Medical
Center in Opelika, Alabama. Carter was a member
of the original cadre of the 99th Fighter
Squadron, the first Black aviators in the U.S.
Born on September 27, 1919, in Amory,
Mississippi, Carter enrolled at Tuskegee
Institute, Alabama, with plans to become a
"I wanted to be a pilot for a completely
different reason than the Air Corps," said
Carter in October. "At Tuskegee, I was majoring
in animal science. My plan was to finish and
take veterinary medicine. I would get my private
license, go out to Texas, and practice my
veterinary medicine, flying from ranch to ranch
tending the animals. I did not know that the Air
Corps was going to bite me."
In the 1940s, African-Americans were prohibited
to serve in combat areas of the Army Air Corps.
Solely based on their race, they were deemed
unfit both physically and mentally to fly. This,
however, intrigued Carter.
"That was not
only an insult, that was a dare," said Carter.
"It was the fact that we had been told that we
did not have the smarts or the ability to
operate something as complicated as an