6/23/2019 0 Comments
Edward Johnson, a veteran Tuskegee Airman from WWII, who became Atlanta's first African-American Master Electrician, found a way to help the Georgia Trust provide affordable housing in his old neighborhood along the Beltline.
Read entire article 11Alive Atlanta GA
June 21st 2019
Lt. Col. Robert Friend flew 142 combat missions in World War II.
Friend was one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, an elite group of African-American military pilots who fought the Nazis abroad only to face racism once they returned to America.
“My sister arrived, some friends arrived, and once everybody got there, we called the chaplain and we did a prayer,” Karen Crumlich, Friend’s daughter, said. “And during the prayer, right when we said amen, he took his last breath.”
Crumlich said her father was working up until last year, signing autographs and speaking to school kids sharing his story.
That story included a 28-year-career in the military where, along with fighting in WWII, he flew missions in the Korea and Vietnam wars.
Friend died of sepsis. He was 99 years old.
Public services will likely be held the weekend of July 4.
CBS Los Angeles
6/19/2019 0 Comments
By Deb Hurley Brobst
Tuesday, May 28, 2019
A fighter pilot with the Tuskegee Airmen asked his audience on May 13 to connect the dots regarding the racial discrimination that all-African-American fighter squadron faced during World War II.
“Who were the Tuskegee Airmen?” retired Lt. Col. James H. Harvey III of Denver asked at a gathering of the Mountain Rendezvous chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. “We were highly educated college graduates who wanted to fight for their country, but we were told we didn’t have the ability, and we were nothing.”
Harvey, 95, said reports from the Army War College during World War II considered African-Americans incapable of flying planes because they were mentally inferior and didn’t have the initiative and resourcefulness of white men.
“They thought it was a waste of money to try to teach us to fly aircraft,” Harvey said. “They gave us a separate training field (in Tuskegee, Ala.), and for us, everything had to be exact.”
He said the Army chose Tuskegee because of its deep racism in the 1940s, and the Army hoped that racism would drive some of the recruits from the program.
White pilots weren’t held to the same standards that African-American were, he said, and in fact, the Army washed out many African-American pilots for things that had nothing to do with flying.
He remembered one pilot who was kicked out because he had a stain on his slacks, and only 996 pilots graduated from the program.
“They made sure we had a washout rate of 73 percent or higher,” Harvey said. “We lost a lot of good pilots.”
He said the Airmen had great success in escorting bombers during the war with one of the lowest loss records, yet much of the information about the squadron was classified by the American government and not available until decades later.
“If we as a race of people did something positive,” Harvey said, “no one heard about it. If we did something bad, it was on the front page.”
In 2007, the Tuskegee Airmen were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
After being asked how he found the courage and fortitude to continue in the program, Harvey simply said: “I didn’t have a problem. They had the problem. I did what I had to do to accomplish the mission.”
After retiring from the Army, Harvey worked for Oscar Meyer, retiring in 1980.
The room was silent as Harvey detailed missions and planes he flew, providing intimate details and stories about his time in both World War II and the Korean War.
“He is a hero,” said DAR member Joy Poirot. “This was hidden for so many years. They were so successful, and we need to bring that to the forefront.”
DAR member Vina Lloyd added that it made her sad how the Tuskegee Airmen were treated.
“Hopefully we have come a long way,” Lloyd said. “His experiences made him better, not bitter. He went above the bigotry.”
Sherry Predana, the DAR program chair, said it was important to bring Harvey to speak to the chapter because of the organization’s patriotic emphasis.
“We were thrilled to have him here,” Predana said. “He’s a lovely man.”
Contact Deb Hurley Brobst at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-350-1041.
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