"My dad was my hero. He was always there for me and at the end, I wanted to be there for him," Crumlich told The Desert Sun. "He passed with family and dear friends surrounding him with love and affection. He is truly a national treasure who I will carry in my heart. I promise to keep his legacy alive by telling his story to anyone who wants to hear it."
Friend was one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, a group of fighter pilots trained at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University, in a program created after the NAACP led advocacy efforts for African Americans to enlist and train as U.S. military pilots.