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Volume 1, Number 1 ----- Spring/Summer 1998


In the Spotlight -- Jim Harrison


Photograph of Jim Harrison

Jim Harrison is a University of Colorado PLCO participant who has lived in the Denver area for the past 33 years. He and his wife have 3 children. Jim's story is one of service to his country that continues to this day. His distinguished military career began shortly after being inducted into the army during World War II when he was selected to be in an elite and history-making group, the Tuskeegee Airmen.

The Tuskeegee Airmen were African-American fighter pilots who were trained by the Army Air Corps in Tuskeegee, Alabama. 445 men from the corps served in North Africa and Italy where their mission was to defend U.S. bombers against enemy fighters on sorties to targets deep in enemy territory. Their flying and fighting skills are legendary. Some historians credit their military accomplishments and determination to overcome prejudice and discrimination with providing the impetus for the desegregation of the Army, opening the door for future generations of African-Americans.

Following the war, Jim became a flight instructor and later flew many different airplanes for the Air Force, including secret cold war missions in the B-52 bomber. After retiring from the Air Force, Jim and his family moved to Denver so he could begin his second career as a flight instructor for United Airlines. Jim is now retired from United Airlines and spends much of his time doing volunteer work.

When asked why he chose to participate in the PLCO trial, Jim responded, "For humanity, for my brother, and for fellow men. I understood that the PLCO is something that will do good for future generations. And I felt that it was very worthwhile."

A version of this article was previously published in the University of Colorado's local PLCO newsletter.