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Honoring Our Heroes

Sergeant First Class Eddie Frank Harris: Age 66

Sergeant First Class (SFC) Eddie Frank Harris served 20 years in the U.S. Military including four years in the U.S. Marine Corps and 16 years in the U.S. Army. While serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, his Military field includes ground forces who are trained to locate and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver or repel their assault by fire and close combat. These roles all require high levels of fitness, mental toughness, and tactical abilities. His MOS in the U.S. Army was Supply Specialist. He received the following medals, decorations, awards and ribbons: Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (five), Army Achievement Medal (two), Army Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Retiree Lapel Button, Southwest Asia Service Medal with three Bronze service stars, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development ribbon with numeral three, Army Service Medal, Overseas Service Medal (three), Kuwait Liberation Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medal (Southeast Asia), Marksman Badge (rifle), Driver and Mechanics Badge and Drill Sergeant Identification Badge.

SFC Harris was born March 5, 1958 to his parents, O.B. and Larceina Harris in Goshen, AL. He had 11 siblings. He was reared in Glenwood, AL, and attended Woodford Avenue High School, Luverne AL. He was later transferred to Brantley High School where he played fullback in football for three years, and during his senior year at the age of age 17, he voluntarily enlisted in the U.S. Marines February 27,1976. He earned his GED while serving in the Marines in1979.

SFC Harris completed Marine Corps Boot Camp at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, where he graduated June 14, 1976. From there, he was assigned to Alpha Company 1st Battalion 6th Marine Corps, Camp Lejeune, N.C., for three months training in special weapons. He took leave to Montgomery, Alabama where he married his wife Denise, November 1, 1976. The following week he deployed to the Mediterranean Cruise on the USS Fort Snelling (LSD-30), a Thomason Class dock landing ship, with the 34th Marine Amphibious Unit for seven months. He sailed to Spain, Italy, Greece, Egypt and Kenya. A storm at sea caused internal damage to the USS Snelling, and the ship was tossed onto its side and took on water. When it arrived at a port in Spain, the Fort Snelling was deboarded because of the unrepairable damage. He was transferred to the USS Guam (LPH-9), an Iwo Jima amphibious assault ship, to complete his Mediterranean deployment. The Marines and equipment were loaded onto the USS Guam. On January 17, 1977 in Barcelona, Spain, a landing ship craft being used as a liberty board by the USS Trenton and the USS Guam with over 124 US sailors and Marines was run into by the Basque freighter, Uriea, destroying the small boat and hurling service members into the harbor. Many were rescued, but 49 perished. SFC Harris returned to U.S. Marine Corp Base Camp LeJeune and completed his time of service, and he was Honorably Discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps February 27, 1980.

SFC Harris remained a civilian for only 30 days. He re-entered military service in the U.S. Army May 30, 1980 and completed Training at Company A , 2nd Battalion 4th Brigade, Fort Knox, Kentucky. He was sent to HHC, 4th Bn, QM Bde, U.S. Army Quartermaster Brigade, Ft. Lee, VA, for one year where he was a Handling Equipment Instructor. He received Permanent Change of Station, August 27, 1981 to Company A 2nd S&T Bn 2nd Infantry Division, Dongducheon, South Korea, on an unaccompanied tour for one year where he was a Service Receiving-Edit Manager. He had Permanent Change of Station (PCS) to Fort Benning, GA, with the 197th Infantry Brigade. He completed 60 days of desert training at Fort Irving, CA. SFC Harris returned to Fort Benning, GA, where he reenlisted and was transferred to 598th Maintenance Company. He was selected for Drill Sergeant School where he graduated and served as a Platoon Drill Sergeant with the Harmony Church Installation for two years. He received Permanent Change of Station orders to S & T Trp RSS 2nd ACR on December 3,1986 on a three year accompanied tour to Nuremberg, Germany. While on assignment in Germany, he enrolled in Central Texas College completing a Course in Mechanic, and Supervisor Service Admin-istrative Management. In1989, he was stationed back at 598th Maintenance Company at Fort Benning, GA.

SFC Harris was deployed August 12,1990 to The Persian Gulf War Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Dharan, Saudi Arabia, as a supply unit for 13 months. On 25 February 1991, a Scud missile hit a U.S. Army barracks of the 14th Quartermaster Detachment out of Greensburg, PA, that was attached to 598th Maintenance stationed in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 28 soldiers and injuring over 100. He was there for the duration of duty. He returned to the USA to serve at Fort Benning with the 598th Maintenance Company. His second tour to Germany was unaccompanied in 1993 to Baumholder, Germany, for two years where he worked in front line supply. His last duty station was with Kilo Company at the Hunter Air Field U.S. Army Garrison, Savannah, GA, where he retired from all military service May 30,1996.

After his military retirement, SFC Harris used the G.I. Bill and completed technology training via correspondence earning an Associate Degree as Master Automotive Technician from the McGraw-Hill Continuing Education Center. He then earned an Associate Degree in Automative Service Technology from John M. Patterson State Technical College. The technical and mechanical skills enabled SFC Harris to gain employment as a Diesel Mechanic with Colonial Bread Company for 10 years, and employment at Jack Ingram Motors as an Automotive Technician for 18 years. He retired from all employment in 2014.

SFC Harris and his wife, Denise Summerlin Harris, have been married 47 years; they had two sons, Dr. Frankco Harris (Valerie), a New York City pastor and the late Anthoney Harris and four grandchildren. They have traveled together from state to state, overseas and abroad. They are members of the Free and Accepted Church in Montgomery, AL, where he serves as a deacon, and she is a Missionary. They are engaged in their community and active in their home-owners’ association where Denise serves as an officer. He is also a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans. He can be seen helping seniors, children and adults mentally and spiritually. His selfless acts are innumerable.

SFC Harris’ conclusions about his military service are, “It set my life on the way that I live right now. I was able to establish a provision for my family. I became a well groomed and knowledgeable person learning about different parts of the world and how people lived. To me, it was a way of life.” He would like people to remember him as an honest, fair and decent person.

 

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