Veterans History Project: Paul Harvey - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

11/03/08

Veterans History Project: Paul Harvey

By Jennifer Martin - email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Paul Harvey began three decades of military service in 1959 when he joined the Air Force. He would serve in Vietnam for a year.

"Primarily reconnaissance and I can't say a whole lot about it. We did some special things with insertions and getting into areas with a very specialized airplane. I flew about 160 missions, working airstrikes and what have you," said Harvey.

He feels it was a war we could have won, if it weren't for political interference.  

"It was a war brought on for years and years. I think it was like in many wars, it was started for the right reasons. It got politically conflicted. You had politicians trying to run military operations which doesn't work very well."

Harvey would hold a variety of positions over the next several years, from the Air Command Staff College to the Pentagon and the National War College. He served as the Inspector General at Scott Air Force Base before settling in with the White House during the Ronald Reagan Administration. He was in charge of Air Force One.

"The security was phenomenal, but actually the security was Secret Service. I had operational control, the press was very active in that arena, contrary to protocol, we'd always put the President on the press side.  He was very savvy about dealing with people and the public affairs side of it. Many times he'd go over to the fence and break away from Secret Service. He was a great president, a great person to work for," Harvey explained.

After leaving the White House, Harvey went back to Scott Air Force base as Chief of Staff and worked in Europe. He ended up at Keesler Air Force Base, where he served as the Tech Training Commander.

"We'd train about 40,000 students a year, most of them at Keesler, but we'd have various places where we'd conduct training. It's the largest tech training in the whole world," Harvey added.

He retired in 1991, but is still closely connected to the military by his son, who is serving in Iraq. He supports what our military is doing there and in Afghanistan. 

"I'd rather fight them and kill them over there than have them come over here and kill us. I think we have great troops that are magnificantly trained by the generosity of the American people. We do a wonderful job. We have wonderful people doing very great things," Harvey said.

He is proud to have served the American people.

"I look at the military as a true profession, not a vocation. You're doing it for reasons other than money. You're doing it for a higher calling. Just serving people, that's great," Harvey said.

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