A Tribute To My Dad
LT. COLONEL
GLENN JOHN HARRIS
June 1, 1910 - May 6, 1965

Retired Veteran
          U.S. Army Ordinance

 

We go through life walking along our own path and when we finally get to our destination we look back along the road and realize that there were a lot of people we met, lived with, or just passed by and we often wish that maybe we had stopped and talked for awhile. Sometimes we see these people again further along and sometimes they are gone. This was the case with my dad. He passed away when I was in my early 20's and I never got to know him as one man gets to know another he loves very much. I never got to tell him how proud I was to be his son, how proud I was of him and what he did with his life. So I made up this little web page to tell the world these things. It's not much, for after all I never got to ask the questions I would like to ask now, but it reflects my love for him and it is my shout to the world " See---this is my father ! "

Glenn Harris was born in Sioux Falls South Dakota but moved from there, via various intermediate stops, to Coral Gables Florida where his father worked. His father was heavily involved in the construction of Coral Gables Florida and in 1926 Glenn joined the military ranks of Staunton Military Academy in Staunton Virginia. Glenn was promoted to Corporal in his sophomore year, Sergeant in his junior year and Lieutenant in his senior year. His senior class yearbook describes Glenn "Bunky" "Pops" Harris as Rat Private Co. "D" 1926-1927; Corporal Co. "D" 1927-1928; Sergeant Co. 'D" 1928-1929; Lieutenant Co. "D" 1929-1930; Swimming Team 1926-1927; Fencing Tournament 1926-1927; wrestling Team 1927-1927; Motion Picture Committee 1927-1930; Annex Dirty Dozen 1928-1929; Chairman Motion Picture Committee 1929-1930; Camp Mean Honor Student 1928-1929. Just what bearing the exit of "Bunkey" had upon the climatic and economic conditions that brought about Florida's disastrous tumble of recent years, we are unprepared to say. It is, however, quite understandable how, in the absence of such a silver tongued orator, the people would lose faith in the situation and, then too, a sudden cooling of the atmosphere would undoubtedly bring about extreme conditions. The reason for our not going further into the matter is due to the fact that one afternoon we asked " Little Napoleon" to tell us of the hearts he had broken, and we never did get to bed that night. ( Being very young, we must have our sleep. ) If we have given the impression that Harris is other than a conscientious and likeable fellow, it was unintended, for he has a deservedly excellent record ( outside of leaving communion with T. G. Downstairs ), being second in command of " D " company and a hard worker in the projection room. His photo collection has done much to assist in the propagation of the idea that all of the bathing girls of his native Florida are beautiful.

Glenn graduated and from Staunton Military Academy in June 1930 as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves and then from Alexander Hamilton Institute. From 1931 to 1941 he held positions as a salesman for Remington Rand in New York ( 1931), Assistant Collection Manager for J.E. Strause in New York (1932-1934), as a salesman for Socony Vacuum Company in New York (1934-1935) Glenn, taking advantage of his commission in the U.S. Army reserves, became a company officer and construction officer in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in California during the period 1935 through 1937. Subsequent to that he moved to New York as an Industrial Engineer for George May Company in New York during 1937 to 1939, where he married Mary Catherine Van Buren on July 2 1938. He then went to work as an Industrial Engineer for Superior Metal Products Company in Minneapolis in (1939-1941). Glenn was in Minneapolis when the WW II broke out and he felt it was important to serve and to help the war effort with the training he had. He left Minneapolis to go on active duty with the US ARMY on February 3, 1942.






His Military record is as follows:

            1935 - 1937      2ND Lt. In the Army Reserves
            1937 - 1942      Industrial Engineer
            1942                Promoted to 1 st Lt in Army Reserves
            1942                Property Manager, Badger Ordinance Works, California
            1943                Promoted to Captain In Reserves
            1943                Commanding Officer 610 Ordinance Ammuntion Company Santa Anita, California
            1943 - 1944      Commanding Officer 610 Ordinance Ammuntion Company Chabua India
            1944                Promoted to Major in Reserves
            Aug-Dec 1944  351 st Ordinance Battalion
            1945                Operations/Supply officer 76th Ordinance Base Depot Burma/India
            Aug-Nov 1945 199 th Ordinance Battalion
            1946                Executive Officer/Commanding Officer, Stockton Ordinance Depot, California
            1947                Promoted to Captain in Regular Army
            1948                Promoted to Major in Regular Army
            1949                Director Maintenance, Benecia Arsenal California
            1949 - 1950      Command and General Staff School
            1950 - 1951      Ft. Sam Houston Texas
            1951 - 1953      Military Advisor Ankara Turkey
            1954                Promoted to Lt. Colnel in Regular Army
            1954 - 1957      Advisor to Surgeon General Office, Ft Lee Virginia.
                                   He was on detached service to the Surgeon Generals office and assisted in drafting
                                   and negotiating the Dependent Medical Care Act
            1957 - 1960      Ordinance Department Pentagon, Washington DC
            1960 - 1962      Military Advisor, Taiwan Army, Taipei Taiwan
            1962                Retired

Captain Harris in WWII was stationed primarily in the Assam India area of operations and at times was in the villages of Chabua, Panitola and Makum and was responsible for the command and control of various types of munitions.

His first Bronze Star was awarded for actions on December 30 1943 and a second accident on January 2 1944 when he organized two rescue parties for these plane crashes in Burma. These actions resulted in the saving of nineteen lives.

As Commanding Officer of the 610 th ordinance ammunition company in the China/Burma/India campaign in 1944and 1945 he was responsible for invention, design and production of colored flares needed by Merrill's Maurauders in the Burma Jungles. These flares were used for spotting enemy soldiers infiltrating through American lines and his action had a direct impact on the conclusion of the Burma Campaign. For these actions he received his second Bronze Star.


In addition he was was authorized to wear the following medals and service ribbons.

           


            4 0/S BARS - Authorized to wear 4 Overseas service Bars.
           
            ARMED FORCES RESERVE MEDAL - The Armed Forces Reserve Medal was awarded for
            honorable and satisfactory service as a member of one or more of the Reserve Components
            of the Armed Forces of the United States for a period of 10 years within a 12-year period. .            

            WW II VICTORY MEDAL - The WW II Victory Medal was awarded to all military
            personnel for service between 7 December 1941 and 31 December 1946.            

            APC Medal - The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal was awarded to personnel for service within
            the Asiatic-Pacific Theater between 7 December 1941 and 2 March 1946 and was in active combat
            against the enemy and was awarded a combat decoration.            

            AMERICAN DEFENSE MEDAL - The American Defense Service Medal was awarded to personnel
            for active duty service outside the Continental United States from 8 September 1939 to
            7 December 1941 for a period of twelve months or longer.

            NATIONAL DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL

            AMERICAN CAMPAIGN MEDAL The American Campaign Medal was awarded to personnel for
            service within the American Theater between 7 December 1941 and 2 March 1946 and was in
            active combat against the enemy and was awarded a combat decoration.

When Captain Harris was trying to return home from the war on January 2 1944, he was at the airfield trying to get a seat on a C-46 transport and was given a seat. He got on the airplane, not knowing that he had a high priority and that he was bumping someone off the plane. The soldier that was in his seat was told to get off and he stood up, saluted, and started to get off. My dad told him to sit back down and go home, that there would be another airplane that he could get on. They closed the door, and as the plane took off, it crashed. My dad quickly organized a rescue party and they were able to rescue many of the passengers. He was awarded a bronze star for his actions.

Glenn graduated from the Command and General Staff College in Ft. Leavenworth Kansas in 1949.

When we were in Turkey and my dad was serving as a military advisor to the Turkish Army at the Military Aid Mission in Anakara, I was lucky enough to go off to camp in Istanbul. My Dad was on some secret assignment at the time and was unable to see me off on the train to Istanbul. However he would meet me, and did, at the train station at a small village on the coast near Istanbul. We had about ten minutes during the stop. I later found out that he and four or five Turkish Army Ordinance people were working on a cargo ship that had been sabotaged while in port. The ship was carrying munitions and someone had gotten on board and put dynamite blasting caps throughout the cargo hold. They spent four or five days onboard picking up each cap, one at a time.

My last memory of my dad's career was in the summer of 1960 when I went to see my parents in Taiwan during the summer. He had been stationed at the Military Mission in Taipei. One evening during supper he told us about his day. It seems when he got to the office his Commanding Officer wanted to see him. He went to his office and found out that he was to report to Chiang Kai- Sheck's office at 11:00 a.m. and he advised his Commanding Officer that he had no idea what it could be about. When he arrived he was greeted by a Chinese General whom he realized was the Chinese Captain that he had worked with in the CBI theater in WW II in India !





So those are the facts. I don't really know how to describe the man. There are all kinds of adjectives that apply but for some reason I do not think I can word it so that someone could understand what he was about. You know I think the only way that might work is for me to tell you he was another John Wayne. He may have been 18 inches shorter but he was very much the same man. He had all the love in him you could want, all the honor and integrity you could ask for and he would drop what ever he was doing to go help his fellow man. So that is my father. That is our father, for my brother and I.
We love you Dad.





                               Captain Harris enjoying the bug free environment of his tent
                                                                          India during WW II







                   Captain Harris and friends crossing the river with their jeep.
                               Notice the beer they enjoy on their cruise.
                                                       India during WW II







                                  Captain Harris and his Jeep in India WW II.








The above photo was taken in Assam India. The sign reads

610 Ordinance Co.
Headquarters

Photograph courtesy of Paul Sonstein, the 610"th sign painter and Surveyor
The men in the photo are Fritz Brandt (L) and Joe Fesi (R) with Lefty Lapides in the background.



FOR INFORMATION CONTACT GLENN HARRIS

Send Comments or Questions to: gjhretired@earthlink.net


Last Update November 19 2005


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