State Representative to speak at American Helicopter Museum & Education Center

State Representative to speak at American Helicopter Museum & Education Center

16-Feb-2023 Source: American Helicopter Museum & Education Center

State Representative Chris Pielli (D-Chester) will speak at the American Helicopter Museum & Education Center (AHMEC) on Saturday, February 25, at 2:30 p.m. for the unveiling of a banner honoring Captain Joseph H. Hairston, who is believed to be the U.S. Army’s first Black helicopter pilot.

Rep. Pielli will join AHMEC volunteer James Palmer, who will open the hour-long event, and Victoria M. Hairston, one of Hairston’s daughters, who will talk about her father.

“It is truly an honor and privilege to celebrate the accomplishments of a great soldier, Captain Joseph H. Hairston,” said Pielli. “Captain Hairston’s love and dedication to this great nation is demonstrated by his long and illustrious military service to include serving during two major wars. He was a pioneer breaking racial barriers as the U.S. Army’s first Black helicopter pilot at a time when much of this country was still segregated.”

Hairston was born in 1922 in Virginia and grew up in Connellsville, Pennsylvania. He joined the Army in 1940 in which he served as an officer with the 92nd Infantry Division in the Italian Campaign of World War II. He later trained as an Army helicopter pilot and served in the Korean conflict where he flew an H-13 (Bell 47) for medical evacuation missions. His military designations and awards included Army Aviator, the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, the National Defense Service Medal, the European–African–Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Korean Service Medal with three service stars.

“It is clear that Captain Hairston was a true patriot who loved his country so much that he continually put himself in harm’s way, even at a time when some of this country did not love him back,” Pielli continued. “What greater Patriot can there be? Let us remember and recognize his service to this great nation knowing that his efforts and dedication have helped our Country to remain the free and the unconquerable United States of America.”

The ceremony honoring Hairston’s fascinating life is included with the cost of admission. Contact AHMEC at 610-436-9600 or see the website at for more information.

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