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"They didn't want you to succeed, and they did everything they could to keep you from succeeding." (Audio Interview, 37:59)

   Harry W. Leavell
Image of Harry W. Leavell
Harry Leavell, 2002
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army Air Forces/Corps
Unit: 1170th CLD, Tuskegee Army Airmen, 1868th Aviation Engineer Battalion
Service Location: Keesler Field, Biloxi, Mississippi; Tuskegee Institute, Alabama; Tampa, Florida; Greenville Army Air Base, South Carolina; Guam (Mariana Islands); Pacific Theater
Rank: First Sergeant
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Harry Leavell's aspirations to become a fighter pilot in World War II were dashed by personal setbacks. He trained at Tuskegee, the legendary school that produced the famed eponymous airmen, noting how important Colonel Benjamin O. Davis and his West-Point bred code of honor were for the men's morale. Leavell lost both of his parents to natural causes early in his military career, and he admits he also lost his zeal for flying. But he became an engineer and served an important support role in the Pacific Theater. He also saw first-hand many incidents of subtle and overt racism designed to hold back his colleagues.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (6 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (54 min.)
»Transcript
  Photos
»Photo Album (10 photos)
 Official Documents
»Diploma from the Tuskegee Institute, Division of Aeronautics [May 22, 1944]
 Other Materials
»Article on the Tuskegee Airmen
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 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (6 items)
His first experiences at Tuskegee. (02:03) B.O. Davis, a West Point Graduate, was a driving force behind the Tuskegee Airmen. (00:20) As mess sergeant, visiting native families living on the other side of Guam; he demurred when offered octopus for dinner. (00:42)
Bodies of Japanese soldiers discovered while U.S. soldiers were laying a pipeline. (00:26) Loss of men in training and combat; the combat success of the Tuskegee Airmen. (02:45) His time in the military marked by racism that hurt blacks, and even whites, on occasion. (03:39)
  
 

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  October 26, 2011
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