Alfred Thomas Farrar died Thursday (December 17) at the age of 99. The former Tuskegee Airman was set to be honored at a ceremony in just a few days.
Farrar was a part of the trailblazing group of Black men who were trained to fly planes during World War II.
Farrar would have turned 100 years old on December 26. He died at his home in Lynchburg, Virginia according to his son Roy Farrar who spoke with The Associated Press on Sunday (December 20).
Alfred, a native of Lynchburg, set out for Tuskegee, Alabama to begin aviation training after finishing his studies at Dunbar High School in 1941, according to a story by The News and Advance that ran last week.
When asked what made him go train, Farrar said one of his teachers, Mr. White, encouraged him to enter the program.
“It was the next best thing to do,” he said at the time.
While in training at Tuskegee, Alfred said he learned how to fly a plane, navigation, and meteorology, though he said he didn’t fly in any missions overseas. He was discharged in 1943 after earning the rank of Staff Sergeant.
He went on to study aerospace engineering in New York and had a 40-year career as an engineer with the Federal Aviation Administration.
The Lynchburg Area Veteran Council will still hold a ceremony in honor of Alfred’s life and service will take place on Christmas Day, according to WFXR-TV.
In a statement the council said, “In spite of tremendous discrimination, these young American men and women served their nation with distinction and opened the door of opportunity for many other Americans.”
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