PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia man who was a member of the famed all-black Tuskegee Airmen has died. He was 96.
The Murphy Ruffenach Funeral Home says John L. Harrison Jr. died March 22 at a Philadelphia hospice. Harrison's funeral was held Friday with military honors at the Chapel of the Four Chaplains.
Harrison was 22 when he became one of America's first black military airmen. He was among nearly 1,000 pilots who trained as a segregated unit with the Army Air Corps at an airfield near Tuskegee, Alabama. He saw combat in Italy during World War II and remained in the service until his retirement as an Air Force major after two decades.
In 2007, the Tuskegee Airmen were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian honor.