Princess Cruises honored war hero Lieutenant Colonel James H. Harvey III as he boarded Discovery Princess in Seattle on May 21, 2023.
Lieutenant Colonel James H. Harvey III is a surviving Tuskegee Airman and set sail to Alaska for his 100th birthday celebration. As he boarded Discovery Princess, he and his family were greeted by the McChord Field Honor Guard and a traditional United States Air Force color presentation. The ship’s crew were on hand with a birthday cake, while hundreds others joined to sing Happy Birthday.
Princess Cruises president John Padgett said, “It’s our sincere honor to celebrate the 100th birthday of Lieutenant Colonel Harvey III, a trailblazer, hero, and real ‘Top Gun.’ His life and legacy should remind everyone about 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!”
Harvey is one of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, the first black military aviators in the US military, who worked to overcome the existing racial barriers. These gentlemen served their country as pilots, support staff and instructors in the US Army Air Corps during World War II. Despite intense racism, the Tuskegee Airmen’s reputation and accomplishments furthered the Civil Rights Movement and desegregation in the military.
Lieutenant Colonel James H. Harvey III served his country from 1944-1965 as one of the Tuskegee Airmen’s 99th Squadron, known as the “Red Tails.”
He is best known as the first African American USAF jet fighter combat pilot to fight in the Korean War. In 1949, Harvey and his 332nd Fighter Group Weapons pilot team won the first ever USAF “Top Gun” team competition. In 2006, Harvey and his fellow Tuskegee Airmen were presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor. Harvey is one of four surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen.
During his celebratory Alaskan cruise, Harvey is sharing stories from his time in the service and life experiences as part of scheduled discussions.
Happy birthday Lieutenant Colonel James H. Harvey III and thank you for your service.