It's not very often you meet a real life American hero, but that's exactly what Dr. Dempsey Morgan is.
During an era when blacks still weren't readily encouraged to get an education, Morgan attended two universities along with the esteemed West Point Military Academy by age 20. It was his smarts, his ability to crunch numbers and comprehend physics and chemistry, that landed him a position with country's most elite African American airmen.
"We were pilots together, we learned to fly together and we learned formation, that was one of the things that kept us alive more less," says Morgan.
Lt. Morgan is one of the original Tuskegee Airmen. We caught up with him and his wife at the Veterans Care Center in Salem where he currently lives. It's here he talked about the new movie "Red Tails" which pays tribute to the men who played a large role in desegregating the US military.
Just like in the movie, death during combat was a reality for Morgan and his band of brothers who lost several men.
"We all cried, we all sat around and cried," says Morgan.
But along with the tears, there were also many triumphs.
"I destroyed six German fighter aircraft," says Morgan.
He flew 181 combat missions in World Word II with the 332nd Fighter Group.
And just like one of the characters in "Red Tails" he leaned on his faith, reciting the 23rd Psalms each time he got behind the controls.
"I wasn't afraid of anything and I prayed and I knew that would help me," says Morgan
As for the movie, he didn't think any one particular character was patterned after him, but he recognized something in each.
Morgan, a true American hero, says he is thankful Hollywood is retelling the courage that cut through racism, the courage that never counted the cost when it came to putting country first.
"They gave the pilots credit they should have had a long time ago," says Morgan.