One of the last original Tuskegee Airmen flight instructors dies; Milton Pitts Crenchaw was 96

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Milton Pitts Crenchaw, a flight instructor who trained many of the U.S. military's Tuskegee Airmen, has died in Georgia. He was 96.

Crenchaw's daughter, Dolores Singleton, said he died Tuesday at Piedmont Henry Hospital near Atlanta after battling cardiovascular disease and pneumonia.

Singleton said her father, a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, was among the last surviving instructors of the Tuskegee Airmen. They were the first African-Americans to fly combat airplanes in World War II.

A biography by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies says Crenchaw trained hundreds of pilots at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama in the 1940s, and later was instrumental in creating an aviation program at Philander Smith College in Little Rock.

Singleton said her father loved his country, and was always humble about the accolades he received.