A World War II bombardier who flew 52 missions defending China has died at the age of 96.

Maj. Richard Sherman died Wednesday at a nursing home in Monroe, Louisiana, said Marquita Mihaliak, administrator at the Northeast Louisiana War Veterans Home.

Sherman was in the 11th Bomb Squadron of the Army’s 14th Air Force, commanded by Maj. Gen. Claire Chennault.

The group was nicknamed the Flying Tigers after the famed volunteer fighter group that Chennault created to defend nationalist China before the U.S. entered the war.

Chennault's granddaughter, Nell Calloway, says Sherman also was a founder of the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum in Monroe.

Calloway says only one volunteer Flying Tiger is still alive.

Sherman’s funeral is planned for 1 p.m. Friday at First Methodist Church in Monroe, Calloway said..

An exhibit at the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum in Monroe, La., displays artifacts from Maj. Richard Sherman (Nell Calloway/Chennault Aviation and Military Museum via AP)
An exhibit at the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum in Monroe, La., displays artifacts from Maj. Richard Sherman (Nell Calloway/Chennault Aviation and Military Museum via AP)