With a patriotic salute and special celebration, Princess Cruises today welcomed one of the few surviving Tuskegee Airmen onboard Discovery Princess in Seattle as he arrived for his celebratory cruise to Alaska, marking an early commemoration for his 100th birthday. Lieutenant Colonel James H. Harvey III, retired United States Army Air Corps and Air Force officer (USAF), shattered racial barriers in the military as a part of a group of African American pilots who served their country with legendary distinction during World War II.
To honor Harvey, the McChord Field Honor Guard welcomed him and his family aboard Discovery Princess with a USAF traditional display of presenting colors. Topping out the festivities, the Discovery Princess crew presented Lt Col Harvey with a birthday cake while hundreds of the ship’s company joined in wishing him a happy birthday.
“It’s our sincere honor to celebrate the 100th birthday of Lieutenant Colonel Harvey III, a trailblazer, hero, and real ‘Top Gun,'” said John Padgett, Princess Cruises president. “His life and legacy should remind everyone the power of courage, determination, resilience and the American spirit. From all of us at Princess Cruises, we salute Lt. Col. Harvey and wish him a very happy 100th birthday!”
Born in Montclair, New Jersey on July 13, 1923, Harvey is a former fighter pilot with the 332nd Fighter Groups 99th Squadron, best known as the Tuskegee Airmen, “Red Tails,” one of 1,007 documented pilots trained for aerial combat during World War II. He is best known as the first African American USAF jet fighter combat pilot to fight in the Korean War and flew 140 missions from 1949 to 1950. Harvey, along with every member of the Tuskegee Airmen, received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2006.