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November 9, 2019 at 9:33 am

OHIO Today Honors Harold Brown, One of the Last Living Tuskegee Airmen

Harold Brown, portrait

Harold Brown

Ohio Today honors Lt. Col. Harold Brown, an Ohio University alumnus who flew a P-51 Mustang fighter in World War II, spent time in a German POW camp, then returned home to begin a career that would eventually find him retiring as vice president of academic affairs at Columbus State Community College.

After WWII, Brown spent two decades in the military. It was while he was stationed at what is now known as Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base that he finished his degree at Ohio University, studying physics and earning a B.S. from the College of Arts & Sciences in 1965 just as he was retiring from the military as Lt. Col. Brown. He would go on to earn a Ph.D. and start a second career in higher education as Dr. Brown.

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American fighter group to serve in the Army Air Corps, and Brown was one of 355 of the American heroes who saw combat in the sky during World War II. They fought in an Army that was still segregated, battling the enemy abroad with prejudice awaiting them when they returned home, and paved the way for the desegregation of the U.S. military in 1948 and the civil rights movement.

Brown credited the chair of OHIO’s physics department with seeing in him the determination to succeed in the tough coursework.

“He said, ‘If you’re willing to drive all the way down here and go through all of that, then I’ll let you into the program,’” Brown recalled. “He understood my situation and said, ‘You’re a glutton for punishment. I’ll tell you right now you’re going to have to work hard.’”

Read “Tuskegee Airman, alumnus reflects on days spent at OHIO” at OHIO Today.

Read more about him and the book, Keep Your Airspeed Up.

Read more about Brown at Columbus State.


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