Farewell Tuskegee Airman, John Harrison

John L. Harrison Jr., of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, dies

  • By ERRIN HAINES WHACK Associated Press


PHILADELPHIA (AP) — John L. Harrison Jr., who served as a World War II pilot with the famed all-black Tuskegee Airmen, has died. He was 96.

Harrison died March 22 at a hospice in Philadelphia, according to the Murphy Ruffenach Funeral Home. A funeral with military honors was held Friday.

Harrison was 22 when he became one of America's first black military airmen, one of nearly 1,000 pilots who trained as a segregated unit with the Army Air Forces at an airfield near Tuskegee, Alabama.

"We were Americans, we were young, and we wanted to defend our country, just like everyone else," Harrison said in a 2009 oral history.

Fellow Tuskegee airman Eugene Robinson said that becoming a pilot was a childhood dream of Harrison's after seeing airplanes in Omaha, Nebraska, where he grew up, and reading in a magazine about black men being trained as pilots.

Robinson said it was a big dream for a black child during segregation"He wanted to fly an airplane, like so many young people," Robinson said.

Harrison saw combat in Italy during World War II and remained in the service until his retirement as an Air Force major after two decades.

He flew all types of planes, including prop fighters, jet fighters, twin-engines, four engines and sea planes. His family said Harrison crossed the Pacific Ocean more than 50 times, and the Atlantic Ocean 35 times as a pilot for the Military Air Transport Service. Harrison was stationed and traveled in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Arctic.

He also served as an officer and a director for the Peace Corps, based in East Africa. He worked in the administrations of President Richard Nixon and Pennsylvania Gov. Dick Thornburgh, and as director of affirmative action for the Boeing Aircraft Company.

In 2007, the Tuskegee Airmen were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian honor. President George W. Bush saluted the then-300 surviving airmen at a ceremony in the Capitol, and apologized for "all the unreturned salutes and unforgivable indignities" they had endured.


Image result for pictures tuskegee airman



Rest in peace Mr. Harrison and thank you for your service to our country.





Very interesting. What a great thing these guys did for their country and (perhaps more importantly) for their race. Talk about breaking ceilings. 

Rest in peace, sir!


Maj Todd O. USMC, Retired
Grandson of LTC John O'Brien

I'm so pleased to have included a "fictitious" Tuskegee Airmen in The Story of Q. I can't remember if I posted this fact elsewhere on the forum, but one of the characters in the book, is a WWII veteran who happens to be Rachael's neighbor, across the street. One day she discovers his history, as he walks her through his office, filled with planes and men in uniform. She is enthralled as she hears his personal story and finds out more about Mr H and the role he played so long ago.


Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"

Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Farewell Capt John Fallon 36th Engineer PDP2020 2 5,326 10-25-2021, 10:09 PM
Last Post: CaptO
  Farewell - John McAuliffe - 87th Inf Div Walt's Daughter 1 3,754 12-11-2019, 10:25 AM
Last Post: CaptO
  Farewell to John Zappitello (36th Eng) and his wife Marguerite Walt's Daughter 6 8,143 07-26-2016, 02:09 PM
Last Post: CaptO
  Farewell John Sefko - 36th Engineer Walt's Daughter 0 3,588 02-23-2016, 09:35 AM
Last Post: Walt's Daughter
  Farewell John Markell - 36th Combat Engineer Walt's Daughter 0 3,017 01-30-2013, 08:10 AM
Last Post: Walt's Daughter
  Farewell John P. "Jack" Keating Jr. - 235th Engineer Walt's Daughter 0 3,144 01-04-2011, 08:23 AM
Last Post: Walt's Daughter
  Col John Smith 3_7_I_Recon 1 3,828 03-27-2010, 06:56 PM
Last Post: Walt's Daughter
  Farewell John Ivancik - 36th Combat Engineer Walt's Daughter 3 5,709 03-08-2009, 09:10 AM
Last Post: Walt's Daughter

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)