MOUNTAIN TOP, Pa. -- A Mountain Top native is sharing his story in our nation's history as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen.
Lieutenant Colonel James Harvey III was a part of the first all African American military pilot team to fight in World War II.
As Lieutenant Colonel James Harvey III returned to where he grew up, the honor is much deserved for the Mountain Top native who played an important role in American history. Harvey is one of the last remaining members of the Tuskegee Airmen.
“Then, we were just flying, that's all. We were just flying and that was it, just doing our job. But, little did we know that we would be a part of history,” said Harvey.
Harvey was a part of the first all African American squadron and the first African American to fly a combat mission over Korea. But the recognition to his unit would take decades to be acknowledged.
“The Army Air Corps, when the group came back from overseas, they put a classification of top secret on the Tuskegee Airmen. It was on there for 50 years. Came off in '95. The program was too successful,” said Harvey. “If we weren't white, we didn't have any brains.”
Harvey was already making accomplishments even before he joined the military.
When he graduated from the then Fairview High School in 1942, he was president and valedictorian of his class.
Harvey took time to visit his childhood community, speaking to students at Crestwood High School here in Mountain Top, where he continued to share his story.
A story of success that almost wasn't told.
“We were the best at escorting overseas. We were the best, but we weren't supposed to be. It's a good feeling knowing you were the best,” said Harvey.
Before Harvey flies home to Colorado on Wednesday, he plans to have dinner with veterans at the American Legion in Mountain Top tomorrow night.