Military Wiki
Lieutenant Colonel
Robert Friend
File:File:Robert Friend Photo of Tuskegee Airman.gif
Birth name Robert Jones Friend
Born (1920-02-29)February 29, 1920
Died June 21, 2019(2019-06-21) (aged 99)[1]
Place of birth Columbia, South Carolina
Place of death Long Beach, California[2]
Service/branch United States Army Air Force
Years of service 1943-1971
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Unit 332nd Fighter Group
  • 1st Doris “Bunny” Goodwin *2nd Kathryn Ann Holland *3rdAnna Rice
Relations 7 children

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Jones Friend (1920–2019) was a Tuskegee airman in WW2 and led the USAF's Project Blue Book from 1958 to 1963.[3][4] He also served during the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He had a 28-year military career.

Military career[]

During World War II, Friend had 142 combat missions.[5] After WWII began the army began a segregated program for black pilots in Tuskegee, Alabama. Friend immediately signed up and completed training. The U.S. Army Air Corp commissioned him as an officer in the 332nd Fighter Group. He was sent to Africa and later Europe.[1]

When WWII ended Friend stayed in the service and eventually served in The Korean War and The Vietnam War. He was in the military for a total of 28 years. He was a graduate of the Air Force Institute of Technology.[2]


Air Force study on UFOs[]

Friend said he believed in the possibility of life in Extraterrestrial life in the universe. Friend led the Air Force study on UFOs. In 1952 the U.S. Air Force started a classified study called Project Blue Book. The project was shut down in 1969 even though 701 documented incidents remain a mystery.[7]


Born is Columbia, South Carolina February 29, 1920. From an early age Friend loved airplanes. Friend wanted to sign up to fly for the army but he was turned away because he was black. He attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and studied aviation.[1] Friend was married three times. Friend's first marriage to Doris “Bunny” Goodwin ended in divorce; together they had two children, one boy and one girl. His second marriage to Kathryn Ann Holland also ended in divorce. The marriage to Kathryn Ann Holland produced four children: three boys and one girl. His third marriage to Anna Rice lasted more than 50 years. Together Robert friend and Anna had one biological daughter and one adopted daughter.[7]

Tuskegee Airmen Congressional Gold Medal front


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Robert Friend". CAF Red Tail Squadron. Retrieved 25 July 2019. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hahn, Jason Duaine. "Tuskegee Airman Robert Friend, Who Flew 142 Combat Missions in World War II, Dead at 99". Meredith Corporation. Retrieved 25 July 2019. 
  3. "Robert J. Friend, Tuskegee Pilot Who Led U.F.O. Project, Is Dead at 99". 26 June 2019. 
  4. Meilan Solly (26 June 2019). "Robert Friend, Tuskegee Airman Who Flew in 142 Combat Missions, Dies at 99". 
  5. Jackson, Amanda (23 June 2019). "Robert Friend, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, dies at 99". Cable News Network. Retrieved 25 July 2019. 
  6. Kruzel, John J.. "President, Congress Honor Tuskegee Airmen". U.S. Army. Retrieved 25 July 2019. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Smith, Harrison (23 June 2019). "Robert Friend, Tuskegee fighter pilot who led Air Force study on UFOs, dies at 99". The Washington Post. Retrieved 25 July 2019. 

External links[]

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