Foil: 12 Panel: Tuskegee Airmen Column: 1 Line: 26
Wall of Honor Level: Air and Space Friend
Graduated at Tuskegee Army Air Field on 16 October 1944 (Class 44-4) as a Second Lieutenant. Became a Command Pilot with a Green Card Instrument Rating. Flew the F-80 Shooting Star in Korea on 126 missions.
Awards and Decorations include: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 10 Oak Leaf Clusters, Distinguished Unit Citation with 10 Oak Leaf Clusters, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Army Occupation Medal (Japan), National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal with 2 Bronze Stars, Air Force Longevity Service Award ribbon with 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Reserve Medal, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation and United Nations Service Medal.
Retired on 31 May 1965 as a Lieutenant Colonel. I spent 22 years in the Army Air Corps and the United States Air Force and during that time I participated in several events that shaped fighter aircraft training. The aircraft I flew during my military career were: P-40, P-47, P-51, F-80, F-86A-E-F &D, F-89, F-94, T-33 and the F-102. However, the highlight of my career was the Fighter Gunnery Meet of 1949.
In May of 1949, the United States Air Force held the "FIRST EVER" Weapons Meet at Las Vegas AFB, Las Vegas, Nevada. The 332nd Fighter Group was invited to participate.
Our competing Groups were flying P-51 and P-82 aircraft and we were flying the P-47 Thunderbolt. The competing events were Aerial Gunnery, Dive Bombing, Skip Bombing, Rocket Firing and Panel Strafing.
The 332nd Fighter Group Team consisted of Captain Alva Temple, 1st Lieutenant Harry Stewart and me, 1st Lieutenant James H. Harvey III and an alternate pilot, 1st Lieutenant Halbert L Alexander. We were stationed at Lockbourne AFB, Columbus, Ohio at the time. Benjamin O. Davis Jr. was our Wing Commander and his departing remark to us was, "If you don't win, don't come home". He was joking of course. Our competing pilots laughed at us when we landed at Las Vegas Air Force Base, because we were Black and we were flying the P-47. We were the only Active Unit in the United States Air Force flying P-47 Aircraft
Temple, Stewart and I (Harvey) flew every mission in the same three aircraft for two weeks. That is a tribute to our maintenance personnel who were the Best in the United States Air Force. Thanks to the combined effort of everyone, we "Won" the Weapons Meet. However!! Yes there is a "However." The Air Force Association publishes a monthly magazine and once a year they publish an Almanac and one of the items in the Almanac is a list of the winners of Weapons Meets from 1949 until Present Day. The Meet has had many names since 1949 and I think today it is called "William Tell." When the Almanac was printed each year, the Winner of the 1949 Weapons Meet was listed as "Unknown." Finally in April 1993, our Commander of the 332nd Fighter Group, Colonel William A. "Wild Bill" Campbell, researched and got all of the data together and presented it to the United States Air Force. Finally, in April 1995 the Almanac shows the Winner of the 1949 Weapons Meet as the 332nd Fighter Group, 46 years late. They knew who won, but did not want to recognize us.
Wall of Honor profiles are provided by the honoree or the donor who added their name to the Wall of Honor. The Museum cannot validate all facts contained in the profiles.