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News > Tuskegee pilot to speak
Tuskegee pilot to speak

Posted 1/27/2012   Updated 1/27/2012 Email story   Print story


by Mary Lou Gorny
Hilltop Times editor

1/27/2012 - HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Lt. Col. (Ret.) James Harvey, Tuskegee Airman, winner of the first ever "William Tell" competition and retired distribution service manager for Oscar Meyer will speak at the Hill Aerospace Museum on Feb. 2.

The talk will help kick off events for the African American History Month at Hill Air Force Base and is a joint venture with the Hill Aerospace Museum.

Harvey grew up in a small Pennsylvania town with a two-room schoolhouse for middle school training, and according to his web site, he did not experience segregation personally until he was forced to the last train car on his way to serve in the U.S. Army after being drafted for service.

Originally he had applied to the U.S. Army Air Corps for pilot training but was refused.

His success can be measured through his accomplishments despite the many trials he faced and the higher wash-out rate applied to Tuskegee Airmen as they went through pilot training despite a higher grade of performance.

He enthusiastically applied himself in his endeavors at the Tuskegee Air Field and received various promotions until his last position as Battle Staff Training Officer for the commanding general at Headquarters 30th NORAD Region, Truax Field, Wis.

After his military retirement he was the first black to be hired at Oscar Meyer. When he retired he had risen through the ranks to become a plant manager.

Staff Sgt. Tchaikovsky Crosley, organizer for the event, said, "I think it's actually the perfect event to kick off the month, not only because of the history involved but because of the community interest (the event brings)," said Crosley.

"Everyone is invited," he said. "Schools, the off-base community, anyone interested."

Harvey speaks at various venues around the country as a Tuskegee Airman and recently spoke at the Pentagon about his experiences.

The retired Air Force colonel told Crosley he is looking forward to coming to Hill to share his experiences. Light refreshments will be served.

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