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Robert Holts, former Tuskegee Airman, passes away at 96

Robert Holts
Posted at 1:41 PM, Feb 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-13 15:19:06-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The last known surviving Tuskegee Airman from Nebraska has passed away.

Cpl. Robert Holts was 96 years old.

The Central High School grad enlisted in the Army in 1942. He told 3 News Now in 2019 that serving his country was personal.

"My dad was in World War I and I thought it was a normal experience for me to follow in his steps and join the service," Holts said.

Holts was assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group and 447th Bombardment Group in Tuskegee, Alabama, the first African American fighting air squadrons.

From 2016: Robert Holts visits local school

Holts passed an initial exam and was admitted into aviation training. Holts said he "washed out" of that program but stayed with the Tuskegee Airmen in a supporting role as a draftsman under Comd. Benjamin O. Davis, drawing up crucial documents during the war.

When Holts enlisted in 1942, the Army was still segregated. But the bravery of the Tuskegee Airmen would lead to the full integration of all U.S. armed services.

After World War II ended, Holts worked as a postal worker in Detroit before retiring in Omaha.

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