Lieutenant Colonel James H. Harvey III, a retired United States Army Air Corps and Air Force officer, was bestowed with a remarkable birthday celebration aboard the Discovery Princess cruise ship Monday as he marked his 100th birthday. As one of the revered surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen, Lt. Col. Harvey’s journey serves as a testament to his tenacity and valor, having defied racial segregation while serving alongside the country’s pioneering African American Army Air Corps pilots during World War II.

In a moment of profound respect, the McChord Field Honor Guard warmly welcomed Lt. Col. Harvey and his family on board, presenting the colors in a traditional USAF display. The crew of the Discovery Princess joined the festivities, presenting Lt. Col. Harvey with a beautifully adorned birthday cake, extending their heartfelt wishes for his special day. Lt. Col. Harvey will embark on a celebratory cruise to Alaska, an extraordinary journey aboard the Discovery Princess.

Photo Credit: Princess Cruises

John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises, expressed the deep honor felt by the company in commemorating Lt. Col. Harvey’s centenary. “We pay tribute to Lt. Col. Harvey III, a trailblazer, hero, and a true ‘Top Gun’,” he stated. “His life and legacy are a powerful reminder of the virtues of courage, determination, resilience, and the indomitable American spirit. On behalf of all of us at Princess Cruises, we salute Lt. Col. Harvey and wish him a joyous 100th birthday!”

Lt. Col. James H. Harvey III, originally from Montclair, New Jersey, was born on July 13, 1923. As a former fighter pilot, he served with distinction in the renowned 332nd Fighter Group 99th Squadron, known as the illustrious Tuskegee Airmen. Additionally, Lt. Col. Harvey made history as the first African American fighter pilot to participate in the Korean War, where he courageously flew 140 missions between 1949 and 1950. In 2006, he and his fellow Tuskegee Airmen were awarded the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal, a fitting recognition of their exceptional service.

After dedicating a combined 22 years to the Army Air Corps and Air Force, Lt. Col. Harvey retired from active duty and embarked on a career as a corporate salesman for Oscar Mayer. He settled with his family in Denver, Colorado, where he resides to this day. During the voyage on the Discovery Princess, Lt. Col. Harvey will engage in enlightening discussions with guests, sharing his profound insights and experiences from his remarkable military service.

The Discovery Princess will be embarking on its journey from Seattle to Alaska every Sunday through September, providing an ideal setting for passengers to not only revel in the region’s natural splendor but also engage with an extraordinary individual whose heroic actions have left an indelible mark on American history.