Andrea Laird said her father died by her side in Walnut Creek, California, on August 10.
In June, according to his daughter, Laird took his final flight with the help of Dream Flights, a Nevada company that is “dedicated to honoring military veterans and seniors with the adventure of a lifetime,” according to the company website.
He was joined by fellow fighter pilot Clarence “Bud” Anderson, who is set to turn 101 in January.
“He and Bud got together, and we also had a bottle of champagne there for them. For them to each toast after their flights,” Andrea Laird told CNN.
Born February 7, 1921, in Loomis, California, Laird joined the US Navy in 1942 at the age of 20, days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, his daughter said.
“I think there was a love of flight, and he already had a pilot’s license,” she said.
“He remembered seeing film footage of biplanes landing on boat decks that had been turned into carriers […] and he thought that looks like a heck of a lot of fun. I’d like to do that.”
In total, Laird shot down six or seven planes, according to the museum, although his official total is 5.75 planes, because of the way shot-downs are shared among members of a squadron. The title of an “ace” is given to fighter pilots credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft.
After 29 years with the US Navy, Laird retired as a commander in 1971 at the age of 50.
During that time, he logged more than 8,200 hours in 3,662 jets, 4,623 propeller aircraft and 520 carrier landings, according to the San Diego Air & Space Museum.
“He truly embodied the spirit of aviation and space exploration which earned him an honored place in the prestigious International Air & Space Hall of Fame,” said Jim Kidrick, the president and CEO of the museum.
Laird has also received several honors, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Congressional Gold Medal.
When asked how she will remember her father, Andrea Laird said, “He had an extremely dry, funny sense of humor.”
“And he was a really generous guy,” she said, adding that he tried to help people out when he could.