JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Missouri man who was unable to finish high school but went on to serve as crew chief for the famed Tuskegee Airmen has received an honorary diploma nearly 80 years after leaving high school.
The Jefferson City News-Tribune reports that James Shipley got the diploma in a Sunday ceremony.
World War II pilot Robert Friend, one of the last original members of the famed all-black Tuskegee Airmen, has died at the age of 99.
Military historian Jeremy Amick says Shipley didn't have a chance to earn his diploma years ago. He attended an all-black high school that wasn't credentialed through 12th grade. Shipley would have had to travel to Sedalia for his final year, and he didn't have the resources to do so.
The Tuskegee Airmen were black military pilots and crew who made up the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Forces.