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tv   World War II Fighter Pilots  CSPAN  December 30, 2019 10:33pm-11:43pm EST

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and joseph joseph peterburs, he has a special designation with his name as well, call i mace, he did 49 missions before becoming a p.o.w., then he became, somehow escaped
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animated and flew with the russian army's, incredible stuff, so with that let's give them all around the applause and again (applause) as. he so we will start on the end, colonel james harvey, has a special hat on i like to see it because a lot of people think of tom cruz when they see the hat, the unfortunate part though was tom cruz was not the first, shot colonel harvey is part of a top gun squadron and, a group though analysts field, took their airplanes soak their maintenance group and became top gun, the first top gun pay
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for the u.s. air force law. colonel harvey if he wanted to also little bit about yourself, what do you want people to know about your service in about your time flying combat airplanes and then becoming a top gun? >> oh boy, >> i know it's a long list. >> i never made any model aircraft or anything like that, never did anything as far as aircraft goes, i lived in a small town in northeastern pennsylvania. anyway i was standing in my front yard monday and i saw this flight of p forties flying over information, i said i would like to do that, and that was it. so i got into the military,
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i was drafted, i tried to enlist in the army air corps in january 43, they said they weren't taking enlistments at that time, that was the head of the war. the reason they said that it is they didn't want me in the army air corps, so i was drafted in march of 43, so i went to four main maryland, took my written exam, my physical, and the uniform mission and went to jefferson missouri for basic training. finished my basic training, based on my score that i had on my test they put me in the army air corps, the army air corps engineers and they sent me to for bell for meads virginia.
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they are my mission was to go into the job goal, build an airfield, i was part of the engineer battalion and we used to go out and practice every day and i said no, this isn't for me, so i applied for cadet training and there were ten of us, nine whites and myself, two of us passed and from there went to mississippi for 30 days of basic training, more basic training. and finished there and went to tuskegee and the rest is history. >> that's pretty good stuff. >> a lot of times you do things any start off any don't realize how far you're gonna go, colonel alexander, icy colonel alexander is another one of those that did some things that
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a lot of people wouldn't expect i know when he started he didn't think he would read his own book and i see the book sitting here and the title red tail captured, red tail free. so to go to the red detail free part i want to ask you first, where did you come from? what squadron into do you fly on? and then can you tell us the day you remember that you said i am a p.o.w. but i'm going to be okay. >> okay, all right, guys and gals i've got five minutes to talk about something that takes me two hours. let's start off, alexander jefferson in detroit
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michigan, went to clarke all adrenaline to georgia, the wars going on, i graduated 1942. japanese bombed pearl harbor on what date, anybody? >> the united states congress made, congress developed the 99th squadron, they allowed blacks to fly and they said we started in 1941, i graduated in 42, and the wars going on. the draft is about to get me, so rather than get drafted i went down and volunteered for this
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new air force that was just developed, i graduated in january 42 and i flew combat with the -- group made of of blacks all self-contained and i flew combat with the first squadron commanded by general colonel davies i had 19 missions escorting the b 17's from italy up into germany. we had one mission -- go in and
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try to knock our radar stations on the coast of southern france i got hit and i had to bail out. i bailed out in southern france, occupied by the germans at that time, spent nine months as a p.o.w. and half a time in poland and then in germany. liberated in 1945, liberated and came back to the united states spent the rest of the time in the air force. so you can tell i put all my thoughts on paper and it's all written down and i try to make a quick i could shove stuff in there but we don't have time, so i was nine and a half months in
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germany as a p.o.w., it's pretty significant that there were 32 of us blacks who were p.o.w.'s in germany by the end of the war. 32 and we go from there. >> that's incredible. >> that's. it >> credible, colonel peterburs, listening to the other two tuskegee airman, a question came to my mind, first of all were going to do the same thing and i'll go back to colonel harvey, but first thing is where you from, where did you go through training? and tell us a little bit about your time as a p.o.w.? >> well my time as a p.o.w. wasn't very long but anyway i was born in st. paul minnesota,
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the 25th of november and we moved to wisconsin and i did my formative years going up in the milwaukee area. i had the vocation to be a priest and i went to the seminary after a grade school and by my third year for a 12-year track and i was coming down the stairs to the gym to play pool on a sunday morning and i heard, 1941, japanese bombed pearl harbor and i knew at that time i will join the service and fight for my country. so i left the seminary on my 18th birthday of 1942 i was accepted in the aviation cadet program and i did my training for the
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southeast air command in alabama and georgia in that area. i graduated as a second lieutenant fighter pilot, 19 years old and went through combat training, after that did my p forties and, accumulated about 150 so hours and then was assigned to europe as the 55th fighter squadron and they had just converted the pea 30 aides to pee 50 wants, i only had p forties and checked the pea 51 and got about 20 hours inserted flying combat. first my flew combat mission on the 12th of december 1944. then flew 49 subsequent missions, the last were very exciting, most to them, and the last one was the
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most interesting, you want me to continue. >> go ahead -- >> then on the 49th mission, the eighth air force was putting about 1500 bombers at the berlin -- area, my squadron was escorting some 450 be 17's with a fighter escort to -- we entered the area, an eventful until the bombers dropped the bombs and we got hit by a swarm of turbo jets, i was flying high cover and i observed one of them blew up a be 17, i
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rolled around and pulled full throttle and came into a 6:00 position just about the time he blew up the second be 17. he rolled over and started mounting the deck, i chased and many disappeared into some plow, i got some hits on his left and john. i did follow him into the clouds and i saw an airfield full of german aircraft and i started straightening it, anyone whose pilots know units to do many, i was by myself, 20 years old, and what the heck. so anyway i made too many passes and i destroyed at least five on the ground and i said a
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hanger on fire and then i felt a thud after an enemy issue hundred condor, part of hitler's fleet, anyway blue that thing up and then i felt a thud, got oil on my windscreen made it to 10,000 feet and then i started losing altitude. then was captured immediately, interrogated and went to a p.o.w. camp after a five-day march at which time it was pandemonium thousands going easton refugees going west,
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germany are many going up and down on motorcycles trying to put some sense to the pandemonium. but anyway, the captain, which was mostly russian or prisons of war, brett outside of berlin prison camp and the russians are fighting in berlin and the security at the camp was very relaxed so i escaped, walked away, a started it down the road and after about five or six miles i heard a rumbling and i hid in addition and here comes the tank unit and i came out fortunately the russian
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tank unit, the lieutenant could speak english so i communicated with him. he gave me a rifle and said hop on. so i've fought with the russian tank unit with berlin through wouldn't burke where i was repatriated by an army montreal that came across to meet the russians. eventually got back to paris and got stamp done all that sorts of stuff and started my way home on the last convoy. got home and then anxiously waiting to get to my fiancée
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joseph ian who i named my aircraft after, joseph ian, and in the process of doing the paperwork i had to get my mom's permission to get married because i hadn't turns 21 yet. that's it. >> very nice. >> you are in the northern part of germany, i was in the southern part i was with close to 10,000 p.o.w.,'s there were a heck of a lot of them and didn't have any chance to escape because we were heavily guarded and it was heck.
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>> colonel harvey. >> i heard that germany's leading ace was in the states in 2013 looking for the power that shut him down, did you make contact by chance? >> what did he say? >> germany's leading ace was in the states in 2013 looking for the pilot that shot him down, did you make contact by chance? >> oh yes, sea i never claimed this, by the time i got liberated in everything the war was over and the tank and he didn't worry about that sort of stuff, i didn't you got old got married, so 60 years went by and finally through various many european researchers,
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swedish and norwegian, came to the conclusion that i was so on that shot down the top german ace, he had 206 confirmed aerial victories, he had 198 victories on the north sea area with russia most of his victories there were against the russians and he transferred his position to the turbo jet and on his first mission he shot down three aircrafts and this was the first time he was in the two six two and he shot down three aircrafts and he was the one that in fact he had. on the 5th of may, 2005 we met in california and became close friends, he was a gentleman and
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we spent the rest of his life doing very -- various shows and stuff. he told me that when he went into the clouds he made a left turn hoping to avoid me if i try to follow him and he said as soon as he started his turn his left engine disintegrated and he bailed out at around 2000 meters so he head out of the war because he had busted his legs and ankles so he would say my friend joey saved my life because if he would've got up again and flown he felt certainly he would have been killed because that's the way it was during the days of war.
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talking about how fortunate you were to bail out, i thought about a while you were talking about, out of all i years of training, never had one minute unquote how to bail out, you bailed out at 51. i bailed out on the left side. our jobs are to knock out radar stations on the coast of southern france, later on i found these raiders controlled the guns around southern france up to the harbor of southern france, that
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came in about 50,000 and harry came in attorney of emails an hour and why right across the top of these radars could be huge towers with a lot of buildings underneath where the machinery is going on and at about 200 feet someone says boom and as i went along fire came up out of the floor -- and i said to myself, how do i get off this --? finally decided real quickly full power, pole up and i think they may have gotten to about 1000 feet, at the same time on the left side you have a wheel and a control the flaps back and forth for
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the red a lever with the canopy popped off showing up last unless and i got about 1000 feet i think about 1000 feet and turn the stick loose and naturally the nose dropped abruptly when it dropped being a hit that big buckle and threw me out. i remember the tail going by nice and slow uneasy but they told you if you bailout you count won, two, three the new poll the ring and the parachute will deploy, that came out and i saw the tale go by and i looked down and i think i saw trees and i said oh.
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but you poll the ring and bang the parachute open and slowing down and hit a tree. i said wow all of a sudden i heard a voice they said oh hell my nine months in germany started right there in southern france for about a week and two or three german soldiers escorting me out of germany on the same mission we lost one guy gordon was killed nathan was a prisoner, daniels was a prisoner, i was a prisoner and one other guy we lost five men
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on that one mission but we later find out that it controlled the guns firing off the coast and maybe it was worth it. one down as a p.o.w.. samantha and i spent the rest of the time hungry but as a p.o.w. we existed, all leave it there later on go into the book. >> colonel harvey i was going back to you in u.s. the question on the panel but i'm gonna give you a chance first of all we want to know where you're from first i don't do that on the original outside and then to i'm curious flying so long with the military, web airplanes where you actually qualified into fly? throughout
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those years what airplanes so where you from and what airplanes? >> like i said before i'm from a small town in northeastern pennsylvania and we were the only black family out there and so they're awards in any presidents whatsoever. i got along fine with everyone who is the only one in high school the only sports we had were tumbling in basketball i was the anchorman on the tumbling team captain of the basketball team and my senior year i was class president valedictorian and i was treated just like any other person and like i said i didn't -- when i noticed or was subjected to segregation is when i took the train from pennsylvania to maryland and we
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stopped in washington d.c. and we had a two hour layover on the way to four main so i got off the train went and had breakfast came back one back in the car that i was in and i said, he read in the car where a knee grows ride, welcome to the south. dear introduction was was that. i had a inflation to segregation i don't let it bother me though. the way i looked at it i don't have a problem they had a problem so i had to do what i needed to do to accomplish what i had to accomplish. like i said before i went to engineering school at fort ball more and didn't care for that i did cadet training
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and got accepted. give us a list of airplane so you're qualified in. >> aircraft i am qualified and well in primary we flew the b 19. it's fair child aircraft and then in basic we flew the standard be 13 also known as the multi vibrator and then the advanced 86 when we finished our training we had done the pea 40 and whisky i got my ten hours there and then south carolina for combat training and there we were flying the pea 40 and leaders switch to the 47 and when i finished combat training that was in
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april 45 and my bags were packed and we catch the train to go to norfolk to get on a ship and dry in the three 32nd and then we got a message saying to hold us. the war in italy was over hitler gave up so i would've been in the high seas so i don't make it overseas to join the group. during that time the germans had very good intelligence excellent intelligence so hitler knew i was coming that's why he gave up. then like i said we got here 40 sevens and then since i don't go over i joined the 99th gunman field kentucky and they had p 47 so i flew those up until the time of
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integration and that was in june of 49 and broke the three 32nd up in scatters all over the world and eddie and i were assigned to a fighter group in japan. now before we departed our command had been forwarded to the commander and there was our picture so one commander called all the pilots in the theater and said we have these toonie grow pilots coming in and they will be assigned to one of the squadrons while the pilots told us this themselves and they said no where are we gratify with them. no way. anyway eddie and i reported and we were talking in his office and he said what do you want us to call you? i said well i'm a
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first lieutenant eddie is the second lieutenant -- he said okay with any made a mistake pretty said we have three fire squadrons -- to pee 50 wants in an f 80 squadron -- which one do you want to go to? so i go backwards and i say the f-80. so they put us both in that, they didn't have any tea 30 threes which is the trainer version but they hadn't 86 and that is what they flew in advance and the backseat there is a hostage you can pull up and you can't see out so what they had a stew they had we get in the back seat and the pilot out front they have extra options for a taxi to take off and they line the aircraft on the runway and they say okay you have it so i'm in the back
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seat and i apply the throttle down the runway, go up their gear, all that good stuff fly around doing what they want me to do and then contact ground control and vector and for a landing touched on the runway and then filed up front and took over now what is that i have to do with flying the f-80, nothing, i think they wanted to see if we could fly period and we proved he could, so i checked, out and after leaving massager pan in between leaving there and going to california i flew missions in korea at 126 at the f-80, went to california and they had the 56 so i checked that out and flew it,
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so i was combat ready that aircraft so if 86, then i checked out in the effigy nine and i got to missions in that and then i checked out in the f 94 and i got one on a mission in that and then i ended up as operations officer of a squad in the air force in michigan, and that is the big delta weighing, very fast, no supersonic on the deck people ask me which is my favorite aircraft and i say the f-one or two because fighter pilots like speed going supersonic like i said so those were the
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aircrafts i flew, each of the fighters that i flew on the combat radio and i had a good life, excellent life, i enjoyed every minute of it. >> that's good. the list of londonderry airplanes a lot of them have to now go back and look at the tape and list and pull those tapes of those airplanes and we'll see not all of them perform the same way, you have to have certain skills, he likes to go faster than how are you gonna slow down, so the one question i'm going to ask and then were going to separate, we are going to split this, and when you get about one or two questions from the audience for those that have a prepared, speak loud so we can hear you down here but while we are getting ready for the young
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people to ask a question i want to give you the opportunity to address the young people and let them know what do you think they are as where you left it, so do you think you are leaving this legacy of your aviation career and good hands with the young people in the audience? i'm sure there is a lot of perspective, pilots in the audience maybe, there's a lot of uniform so they have some interest in military and their future so, i will allow you to give them a little bit and get one or two from the audience that have a question that will addressing come back to you, so we'll start with colonel peter pierced. well, i think we have
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set a standard for a different theory. you guys are completely new universe then we have lived in and i realized that it is very difficult to associate. i went to the hundred adversity anniversary of my union and they're flying and 30 twos. i went into the -- just up the fight. you are flying by the pants are generations and you are entirely the flight so i would say the one thing, whatever endeavor is you do your best. you can't do more than you're best. you do your best drive to do your best and if you do you're best the rest of it with the promotions will
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come in, but i would be my best. get an objective into you're best to achieve it. become self actualized. >> colonel alexander. >> you guys and girls. we flew f 86 is now above 22. and the f 35. a completely new world but there's been a transition stepping through. it is a
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reserve officer and i accompanied for people to the air force academy advisers and their training today with so much advance, but it's so productive, very productive. we also ask you the best you can. be unaired. seriously. sit on the front seat in class. you ever saw that walks in and the first thing they do is go to the back of the room,, being arrested at the front seat. the teacher is trying to give you his knowledge, transfer his knowledge to you and if you sit too far back he can hear. life
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is so exciting today from what i was 70 years ago. take advantage of it. be unaired. that is my advice. outstanding. >> colonel harvey. >> i'll let you in on a secret as to why they were so good. each one of us wanted to be the best, so you get all of those best together you have quite an organization which we hadn't. now, who was the best of all of those pilots? in all depends on who is telling the story. right now i am. (laughs) that's perfect. >> i see standing either
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microphone. if you could give us your name under school and then ask your question. >> mitchell from miami university. good morning gentlemen. other than trying to be as excellent as possible and doing the best job you can, what are some specific qualities or traits that is essential to have for a combat pilot? >> specific qualities. qualities are traits factual needed to be a fighter combat fighter pilot? who wants to take it first? >> be a battle yes. >> exactly. it's true. your
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answer may be a short one but we have a consensus. >> no, seriously. >> name and school. >> good morning gentleman. first class of vanderbilt university. i was wondering if you could speak and how you were able to overcome the segregation in the military and overcome the main challenge that were put in place in front of you. being african american it's aggravated military in the 1940s. >> you do the best you can. period. under all circumstances. segregation it was an obstacle. literally you had a feeling trying to join the system. trying to join the economic political system. you felt as though when you walked into a baseball game you had
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two strikes against you. many times there are too many things that happened that made you feel as though you are not worthy in the application you filled in, you felt as though the instructor was putting things in your obstacle. you do the best you can under the circumstance.. this, our pause who went to the west point in four years and during those four years nobody spoke to him officially, trying to get him to quit. but he made it. he was our leader. we had a slogan.
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failure is not an option. gentleman, failure is not an option. we need taken exam flying by, flying period. failure is not an option. still today. failure is not an option. >> we'll go to the michael bigger name in school please. >> morning gentleman. -- under bill university, a my question is for you i was wondering if you could share as someone who served in world war two korea and vietnam, if you catch or by your experience of coming home, specifically after vietnam. >> experience of coming home and you were directing to
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colonel the case. >> and flew combat in korea. and korea was a forgotten were war. coming home was nothing pro or con. it was just a natural job. came home and didn't experience any problems there. in vietnam there was a tremendous, the troops were treated badly it's a historical fact. i was at the senior rank
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and so although i was around that was a korean military so i really cannot relate to that particular question. but in korea i had some very interesting experiences there. i'd like to go into a little mission i had. (inaudible) claim around into the rocket run. we didn't have the electronic controlled so we have to keep our aircraft. i have the swell through the
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canopy yet into it with the explosion inside the canopy. i don't know what's happening, i reach out with a handful of blood. i make it back to base, my wingman had a radio failure so we went back to base. we call back to, base he broke off at first and he landed in all the heat wagons followed him. i came in nonchalantly to my landing spot. i get up and he was startled. he springs his leg falling off, what happened
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is to bullet went through the canopy and plexiglass won all over my face. i had needles so those four career. >> thank you sir. >> corner harvey you have a separate experience as far as the integration of the non integration of the military during your initial word or two time, mostly are in the states so are there any stories you can tell as far as being -- where you part of any of the integration activities of desegregation activities that went on in ohio or indiana, or kentucky?
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>> i think i covered them before. the start in may 49, in june 1949. that was to sort of integration. all over the world and like i said before -- (inaudible) during my home military career i did not whatsoever. one thing, i was good. i was the best to put it bluntly, you don't come any better. >> you are the best. >> that's right. integration is
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something we had to meet and conquer. you have the attitude, in civilian life there's an attitude i am the best. in class, wherever you are. back to the war, integration took over and during my life in the military and my life in civilian life, still i am the best. everybody says how did you feel? what do you mean how did i feel? i am fighting this system. trying to join this country as a human being and there was tough certain times,
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even under military segregation, but still in my experience i am the best. somebody said, they try? heck no. i cannot costs like i used to to express myself. i had a good time doing it too. >> so in a few minutes we have left, i'd like to give you the opportunity to give us once you left the military, what was your profession? what did you do as far as we doctors, lawyers? >> i take care of mamas dear
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snotty nosed brats for 35 years. a schoolteacher. best thing in the world. i highball. i taught elementary science, in other words why doesn't airplane stay in the air? what do you mean stall? what happens? and how to clouds form? to explain these things to a fifth grader, and all of a sudden you look at him and say oh yeah, bingo! best feeling in the world. what happens, white as an airplane star? quickly i can do this in about two or three minutes. the shape of the wing is round and
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comes up like a hump as it goes through the air. they're going up the top of the wing has to go up, and he comes down. the air on the bottom of the wing, the and goes straight through. it's not affected, but are going up and going down a little bit produces a lift. you have to go a certain speed going through the air to make that air go up and come down. a lyft, takeoff speed is about ordinary. 19, 95. if it was below that. 70. you don't get
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that left. well the airplane stalls. he would be surprised. you do experiments in a classroom. we had fun producing left, understanding why did airplane have to go 90 miles an hour or 100 to produce that air going across the top left. part of my life was teaching science and he proved these youngsters to make them with this attitude, i am the best in the world. because life is great. life is great but. you better enjoy it, because nobody else can make you feel the way i feel. finally harvey what was your
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chosen profession once he left the military? >> i stayed in the military and then i retired at 65 that i had for daughters, i had my wife of course, so i needed my job, so united was in time -- in town, interviewing, so i applied for united and he said you have made all of our qualifications except one, we have a cut off a 35. i said okay. so i retired in madison wisconsin and at that time now is the home office for oscar meyer and i interview to his oscar meyer and this was in may of 65 when i interviewed and i interviewed for about a week with everyone just shy of oscar himself and
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they said you are higher, when do you want to go to work? i said i retired the 31st of maine i'd like a week off. he said okay report the 7th of june. so i reported in the 7th of june, at that facility they had slaughter through the completion of all -- so my training was slaughter through the end it was a three month program and one month into the program i met a salesman in new jersey so they sent me there so i was a salesman for three years and northeast new jersey and then i was transferred to detroit michigan as a district manager and then i was transferred to philadelphia as an assistant sales manager and
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then during this time at the philadelphia plant oscar meyer held a marketing calm friends and in my position at the plant i was eligible to attend these conferences so in 71 we had a marketing conference at disney world and disney world hadn't completely opened yet so the last day of the conference i'm sitting in the dining hall by myself, in a booth, and the president of oscar meyer comes in and says may i join you? i said yes and we started talking and he said, we started talking about promotions and he said we sent a guy to seattle who was previously in the region and he
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knew our operation very well so that's why we sent him up there the opening in salt lake city we didn't send to you there because of the mormons and the fox it just doesn't work, he said where would you like to go? >> i said i'd like to go to denver but i know the manager in denver doesn't want to leave, that was it so in april of 72 i got a call from headquarters in madison wisconsin and they said go to los angeles for an interview for a job in denver so i went to los angeles past the interview and was assigned to denver, the center manager in denver was transferred to st. louis missouri, it was a
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larger distribution center, anyway my crew in denver for ten salesman, to district managers and two secretaries and three -- i feel in my cooler and we'd fill in everything out of the cooler so i was in that job for 70 years and then i retired from oscar meyer after 14 years, retired in may of 1970, i had been there for 14 years so i went from flying airplanes to selling winners. but it was a good job though. >> but what were you, saying it was the best.
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>> that's right. (applause) all right colonel peterburs, if he could give us -- >> what my profession was a military, when i retired a spent time active duty and now i'm 40 years retired. >> wow. >> so i was able to retire, i got my masters after when i got out but i don't want much to interfere with my retirement. >> there you go. >> that's music to my ears by the way. >> yes sir colonel harvey. >> during my whole life a youngster all the way through until i got married i was a perfectionist and there is nothing a perfectionist cannot do and marching out flying
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school was never in my mind, perfectionists can do everything and then i got married and -- i had to put that on hold and my wife passed away and went back to my seniors, i did have a worry going through flying school. and today, like i said i went back to my old ways, i can do anything up to a point. >> very nice. >> this bothers me. >> so again we appreciate everyone coming in and taking their time and learning, i encourage you to take the programs back with the names of the generals here, joseph
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peterburs, alexander jefferson, james harvey take those names back, we will, then look them up and learn a lot more than we have time to learn today, but we want to show our appreciation for their coming in and participating in the program. (applause) >> thank you, thank you. (applause) >> colonel harvey before you leave a on to tell you you are the first one to get out of the army and work for oscar meyer, as did i, in fact frequently when i talked to kids i tell them i probably meet a guy
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who's actually driven the wienermobile, i also worked at the philadelphia plant and pennsylvania but i was down here in washington d.c. for oscar meyer back in the sixties, so we crossed paths and i remember the meeting in florida and disney world which hadn't been finished when you are down there. >> small. world >> yes it. is >> thank you all very, much history on two feet. (applause)
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>> good evening. i am lauren rosenberg with the smithsonian associates. i would like to welcome you to this program. it's your support that makes events like this possible. if you are joining for the first time, an equally warm welcome and invitation to explore the wide range of programs we offer. now is your perfect time to turn off your cell phone or


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