WATCH: Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Bob Harvey Seeks To Be Next Mayor of Cocoa
By Space Coast Daily // June 17, 2020
announced his run for Cocoa Mayor in April and has big ideas for the City of Cocoa
ABOVE VIDEO: Meet Retired Col. Robert ‘Bob’ Harvey, Port Canaveral Commissioner (District 4) talks about his background and his run for Mayor of Cocoa this year.
BREVARD COUNTY • PORT CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – Port Canaveral Commissioner, a successful published book author, airline pilot and a retired Air Force Colonel, Robert “Bob” Harvey is looking for a new title this year, Mayor of Cocoa.
Harvey, elected to the Port Canaveral Commission (District 4) in November 2016, and served in the United States Army and Air Force as a fighter pilot and combat veteran.
Harvey announced his run for Cocoa Mayor in April and has big ideas for the City of Cocoa.
“Today, I am a partner in The Villas of Cocoa Village (and The Cottages) townhouse project in historic Cocoa Village. I have the experience to get the job done effectively, efficiently, and with the best interest of the community at heart,” said Harvey.
After all that he has accomplished so far in his life, “why does he want to become the Mayor of Cocoa?”
“I am running for Mayor because my heart is in serving my city,” said Harvey.
“My wife, Connie and I love Cocoa. (You may have seen us often walking around our city picking up trash!) I live here and want Cocoa to be the best city in all of Florida.
“I want Cocoa to be the place others look at and says “hey, that looks nice. We should try to be like Cocoa! I want you to be happy living in Cocoa and I promise to work toward that goal for all of you.”
When asked, “what can Cocoa residents expect out of their next mayor?”
“My record is one of integrity, honesty, and service. I strongly support transparency and responsiveness to the citizens of our city.”
GET TO KNOW BOB HARVEY
As a retired Air Force Colonel, Robert “Bob” Harvey, is the epitome of grace under fire, he was once ejected over the South Carolina skies from an F-16 fighter jet after a design flaw.
Even though badly bruised, Harvey just took a couple of days over a holiday weekend to recuperate from the ordeal before heading back to work.
That’s not the half of it, either, since while piloting another F-16, this time over Turkey, the engine completely conked out on Harvey, for all intents immediately making the beefy aircraft into one unwieldy glider.
Harvey is one of only a handful of pilots in the world to successfully maneuver an engine-less F-16 back to earth.
“It was akin to seven miracles rolled into one,” said Harvey, who now has a much safer gig as a pilot of an Airbus 320 for Allegiant Air.
Harvey may attribute the safe landing to divine intervention, but his clear thinking and judicious actions were critical components, too.
As a District 4 Port Commissioner, a position which he won over Bruce Deardoff in August 2016, Harvey thrived at navigating and guiding the development of one of America’s busiest and fastest growing ports.
Born in California and raised in rural Oregon, Harvey enlisted in the Army at 18.
“I worked my way up to helicopter pilot,” he said.
His Army duty done, Harvey continued flying UH-1 helicopters, this time to fight forest fires, while he attended night school. He went back into military service, choosing the Air Force in this go-round.
“I started at the bottom,” he said.
He worked his way up quickly, going through the USAF Fighter Weapons School and becoming a fighter pilot of F-16s, with 3,100 hours, including 160 combat hours, on those aircraft.
Harvey was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for valor, a Bronze Star, five Air Force medals, two Legion of Merit decorations, the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Air Force Koren Kolligian Trophy for the most outstanding achievement in U.S. Air Force aviation safety (his amazing landing of the engine-out F-16 over Turkey earned him that distinction).
By the time he retired with a colonel’s rank, Harvey had logged more than 5,700 flight hours.
During his Air Force service, Harvey was responsible for airfield operations in Phoenix and Arizona, and overseas in Korea and Japan.
His duties included full responsibility for all aspects of airfield operations, including safety, quality assurance, crew scheduling, maintenance and budgeting.
U.S. Air Force pilot Bob Harvey, second from left, in night combat gear with three flight members during a southern Iraq night combat sortie in 1999. (Image for Space Coast Daily)
This National Defense Fellow served as analyst on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon and as senior air advisor to the Army commander during the war in Iraq. His last active duty assignment, as chief of standardization and evaluation for the U.S. Central Command Air Forces and 9th. Air Force, carried the responsibility of assessment of 38 flying units at ten bases throughout the Southwest Asian Central Command Area.
Retirement from military service arrived in 2009, and Harvey addressed the civilian chapter of his career by joining Atom Airways in Melbourne as director of business development and safety. He was also vice president of plans and development for AAR Airlift Group in Palm Bay.
His current day job, based out of Orlando Sanford Airport, allows him the luxury of coming home to his Cocoa Village condo every evening, a fact Connie highly appreciates.
After 33 years of military service, and the migratory lifestyle that accompanies it, the Harveys embraced Brevard with open arms when they moved here in 2011. As has been their modus operandi throughout the marriage, the couple became immersed in the community.
“As soon as Connie and I touch down somewhere, we get active,” said Harvey, who has served on the board of directors of the Melbourne Regional Chamber of Commerce of Commerce, PREVENT! Of Brevard and on the City of Cocoa’s Brownfield’s Advisory Council.
Connie also works with the American Red Cross on a national level to raise awareness of water and swimming safety.
“We love our Brevard community and have made it our forever home,” said Harvey.
In fact, Harvey has written the book about his beloved Cocoa. “Cocoa, Florida, A History,” is his well-researched celebration of this singular town.
“I drove all over town for my research and talked with many of the older residents to get a sense of the city,” said Harvey.
“I love history. You don’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you’ve been.”
He is also the author of “The Whole Truth: The Tainted Prosecution of an American Fighter Pilot,” the story of his friend’s wrongful military court martial conviction. Harvey played a pivotal role in the case, successfully lobbying the Air Force to overturn the case.
“I knew for a fact that he was wrongfully accused and convicted,” he said.
ABOVE VIDEO: Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Bob Harvey is set to took over the Canaveral Port Authority District 4 Seat. Col. Harvey has devoted his life to serving his country. (Video aired in 2016)
Although he is way too young to be a member of the Greatest Generation, he shares the philosophy of service of that era. When several community leaders encouraged him to run for port commissioner, he decided to throw his pilot’s visor into the ring.
“We need to address the issue of transparency and the lack of trust between the community and the Port,” Harvey said in 2016, after being nominated as District Port Commissioner.
“I believe the Port Authority should embrace and work with local communities. I will do my utmost to ensure the Port Authority abides by its charter and truly serves our community. I love where I live and this is another opportunity to serve.”
After serving as Port Commissioner for four years, Harvey believes it is time to lead Cocoa by utilizing his experience and a desire for serving the great citizens of Cocoa with fairness and dedication.
“I have a lifetime of service and am proud to continue to serve as Mayor,” said Harvey.
“As a career military officer, business executive, airline pilot, published author, developer, and Port Commissioner, I have the experience, abilities and commitment to work with a diverse team in support of and to focus on our community. I have a strong reputation for fairness and doing the right thing and I am running to dedicate my service to our city.”
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