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James Harvey III

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) James Harvey III was one of the original members of the world famous “Tuskegee Airmen.” Born in Montclair, N.J., in 1923, he was drafted into the Army in April 1943. He was initially assigned to the Army Air Corps engineers but always dreamed of flying. Harvey was later accepted for flight training and graduated from Flying School at Tuskegee Army Air Field as a second lieutenant in 1944. On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981, officially ending segregation in the U.S. military. This meant the 99th Fighter Squadron would be disbanded and its members integrated into operational squadrons. During the Korean War, Harvey was the military’s first black (jet) fighter pilot to fly in Korean airspace. Harvey was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and 11 Air Meals in his career, due to his many engagements with adversary forces. After the Korean War, he was assigned to various stations as a flight commander, test pilot and battle staff training officer for the commanding general of North American Aerospace Defense Command. Colonel Harvey retired in 1965 after 22 years of service and is active in Tuskegee Airmen International.