Fletcher W. Harris, Jr.

BRANCH OF SERVICE
U.S. Army

HOMETOWN
Galveston Island, TX

HONORED BY
John C. Burkhardt, SVC MOPH, Chapter 1919, Austin, Texas

ACTIVITY DURING WWII

AFTER COMPLETING RESERVE OFFICER TRAINING AT CASTLE HEIGHTS MILITARY ACADEMY, HE WAS ATTENDING THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE WHEN HE WAS ACTIVATED. HE SERVED HIS FIRST YEAR AS AN INSTRUCTOR AT CAMP WOLTERS, TEXAS. HE WAS THEN ASSIGNED TO THE 69TH INFANTRY DIVISION AND RECEIVED ADDITIONAL TRAINING IN MISSISSIPPI AND MARYLAND, BEFORE BEING SENT TO LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND. HE WAS ASSIGNED TO COMPANY 'B', 1ST BATTALION, 115TH REGIMENT, 29TH INFANTRY DIVISION. ON D-DAY+2, HE WAS SENT TO NORMANDY AS A REPLACEMENT. COMPANY 'B' WAS IN ENEMY CONTACT FOR THE NEXT 34 DAYS. ON JULY 11TH, 1944, THEY WERE TO ATTACK SAINT-LO, BUT THE GERMANS COUNTER-ATTACKED AT 01:00 THAT MORNING. THE GERMANS WERE ADVANCING BEHIND HEAVY ARTILLERY FIRE AND DROPPING CONCUSSION GRENADES ONTO THE AMERICANS ADVANCING ON THE SUNKEN ROAD. ONE HIT HIM ON THE HELMET, LANDING ON HIS LEFT SHOULDER. HE COULD HEAR THE FUSE, AS HE GRABBED IT WITH HIS RIGHT HAND TO THROW BACK AT THE GERMANS. IT EXPLODED, TAKING OFF HIS RIGHT HAND AND LEFT FRAGMENT WOUNDS TO HIS KNEE AND NOSE. DAZED, WITHOUT HELMET AND RIFLE HE STARTED LIMPING DOWN THE SUNKEN ROAD TOWARD THE AID STATION. SUDDENLY A MACHINE-GUN OF OURS HAD BEEN CAPTURED AND OPENED UP ON HIM WITH BULLETS HITTING ALL AROUND. SOMEONE REACHED OUT AND GRABBED HIM AND HELPED HIM BACK TO THE AID STATION, ONLY TO FIND THAT IT HAD BEEN OVERRUN, WITH 254 SOLDERS KILLED. SOON HIS FRIEND TRIED TO GET HIM ON THE NEXT AMBULANCE AVAILABLE, BUT WAS TOLD HE WOULD HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE NEXT ONE. SHORTLY, HE AND OTHERS WERE LOADED AND STARTED BACK TO THE FIELD HOSPITAL. ABOUT TWO MILES DOWN THE ROAD THEY FOUND THE PREVIOUS AMBULANCE WITH EVERYONE KILLED, WHEN IT TOOK A DIRECT HIT FROM ENEMY ARTILLERY.