Harris receives pilot’s wings

Published 9:31 am Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lamar J. Harris received his pilot’s wings on Feb. 22 at the Naval Air Station in Meridian. Lamar is the son of LaVerne Pittman Harris and Leonard J. Harris who is a native of Natchez and a 1971 graduate of North Natchez High School as well as a 1979 graduate of Jackson State University.

Lamar Harris is the grandson of the late Willie Harris Sr. and Rosie Harris, both of Natchez.

Harris attended Sterling High School Aviation Sciences Magnet Program in Houston, Texas, where he was one of five seniors to fly a Cessna 172 solo. He graduated with honors from high school and in the top 5 percent of his graduating class.

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He was awarded the Frederick Douglass Academic Scholarship and went on to attend Texas Southern University where he majored in Airway Computer Science (Aviation Technology). He chose Texas Southern University because of its aviation program and the opportunity it provided him to continue to pursue his passion of flying. He graduated with a bachelor’s of science from Texas Southern University. During the second semester of his junior year Harris decided that he wanted to get as much experience as possible while pursuing his pilot’s license. He consulted with various recruiters from the different branches of the military.

After meeting with a Marine recruiter, Harris decided to join the United States Marine Corps upon graduating from college. The summer prior to his senior year he had to go to Officers Training Camp in Quantico, Va., where he trained to become an officer in the military. Immediately after graduating from college, Harris was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant into the United States Marine Corps and was stationed in Quantico, where he began his training to become a pilot. During his training Harris has been stationed in various areas and is also now a 1st Lieutenant. While training in the flight program, commanders determine based on test grades and success of flight exercises what type of aircraft the men and women will train on. In order to enter the jet pilot training, your grades and exercises have to be in the top percentile of your class.

Harris successfully completed his training and was pinned with his wings by his parents. He is a fighter jet pilot with the United States Marine Corps and has been assigned to train on FA-18 in California.