Biography

Harris, Field
[MGen CG 1stMAW]

USMC - 1MAW.png

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Field Harris
biography
Born (1895-09-18)September 18, 1895
Versailles, Kentucky
Died December 21, 1967(1967-12-21) (aged 72)
Place of Burial Pisgah Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Versailles, KY
Allegiance biography United States of America
Service/branch biography United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1917–1953
Rank biography Lieutenant General
Service number 0-401
Commands held 1st Marine Aircraft Wing
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Korean War
Awards Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit (4)
Bronze Star Medal
Relations William Frederick Harris (son)

Field Harris (September 18, 1895 – December 21, 1967) was a highly decorated Lieutenant General in the United States Marine Corps, who commanded the Marine Aviation Units during World War II and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing during the Korean conflict.

Early years

Field Harris was born on September 18, 1895 in Versailles, Kentucky. He attended the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland and graduated in 1917. He was subsequently appointed a Second lieutenant in the Marine Corps on March 30 of that year. His first assignment was for a brief period aboard the USS Nevada and subsequently was assigned to the Third Provisional Brigade at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Harris stayed in this capacity until April 1919.

His next service assignment was at Naval Station Cavite, Philippine Islands, where he participated in the shore patrol duty. Field was transferred back to the United States in June 1922, when he assigned to the Judge Adocate General in Washington, D.C.. While there he graduated from George Washington University School of Law.

Subsequently, he was assigned to battleship USS Wyoming, where he was appointed a Commanding officer of the Marine Detachment. Field later attended the advanced one-year course at Marine Corps Base Quantico and then began flight training at the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. He was designated a Naval Aviator on April 13, 1929.

His first duties as a Flyer were at Naval Air Station, San Diego, where he served as a Commanding officer and Executive Officer of an Aircraft Squadron within West Coast Expeditionary Force. Field then attended the course of instructions at Air Corps Tactical School at Langley Field and subsequently served within shore duty in Haiti and sea duty aboard the Aircraft carrier USS Lexington.

Field's next service assignment was at Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington, D.C., where he served in the Aviation section. He also attended the Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island, where he graduated from the Senior course in May 1939.

World War II

At the beginning of the War, Field served still in Cairo, Egypt as assistant naval attaché. He had the opportunity to study the Royal Air Force's support of Britain's Eighth Army in its desert operations. After that he went to the South Pacific and was Chief of Staff, Aircraft on Guadalcanal.

Korea

Major General Harris was Commanding General of 1st Marine Aircraft Wing during the Korean War. His son Lt. Col. William Frederick Harris, USMC was lost 7 December 1950 in the breakout at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. General Harris retired July 1953 and died in 1967. He was buried at Pisgah Presbyterian Church Cemetery, near Versailles, KY.

This veteran Marine pilot, a native of Kentucky, had been commissioned a second lieutenant in 1917 after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy. Three years of service with Marine ground forces in Cuba and the Philippines were followed by Headquarters duty at Washington and flight training at Pensacola. Designated a naval aviator in 1929, he held various Marine air commands before participating as colonel and brigadier general in the Guadalcanal, Northern Solomons, and Green Island air operations of World War II. On his return, he was appointed Assistant Commandant (Air) and Director of Aviation.

In the autumn of 1946, after Operation CROSSROADS had given a glimpse into the tactical future, Generals Shepherd, Harris, and Smith were named as a Special Board “to orient the effort of the Marine Corps away from the last war and toward the next.” The result was recommendations leading to experiments with rotary wing aircraft as a means of tactical dispersion in amphibious operations against an enemy employing atomic weapons. Thus the Marine Corps worked out new helicopter combat techniques which were soon to create tactical history with the Brigade and Division in Korea.[18]

 

 

August 3, 1950

On 3 August the remaining nine GCI squadrons of the Organized Aviation Reserve were ordered to El Toro.[17] By this time the buildup was so well in hand that Major General Field Harris, commanding the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, conferred with General Smith about aviation shipping for the embarkation.

 

August 7, 1950

That figure would be dwarfed by the 2,774 combat sorties flown by Marine pilots between 7 Sept. and 9 Oct. in support of the Navy-Marine amphibious masterpiece at Inch'ŏn and the subsequent drive to liberate the South Korean capital of Sŏul. If there were more missions to fly, there were more aircraft to fly them. Major General Field Harris began bringing his entire First Marine Aircraft Wing into action. Two more squadrons, LtCol Richard W. Wyczawski's VMF-212 and LtCol J. Frank Cole's VMF-312, joined the veterans of the summer fighting to double the number of Corsairs in the air. In Japan, the Grumman F7F-3N Tigercats of LtCol Max J. Volcansek Jr.'s VMF(N)-542 added to the Marines' night-fighting capabilities.

Decorations

Here is the ribbon bar of Lieutenant general Field Harris:

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Naval Aviator Badge
1st Row Navy Distinguished Service Medal Army Distinguished Service Medal
2nd Row Legion of Merit with three Gold Stars and "V" Device Bronze Star Medal Air Medal
3rd Row Navy Commendation Medal Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal World War I Victory Medal with aviation clasp
4th Row Haitian Campaign Medal American Defense Service Medal with Base Clasp Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three service stars
5th Row American Campaign Medal World War II Victory Medal Korean Service Medal with service star
6th Row National Defense Service Medal Commander of the Order of the British Empire United Nations Korea Medal

 

Harris, commanding the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, conferred with General Smith about aviation shipping for the embarkation. This veteran Marine pilot, a native of Kentucky, had been commissioned a second lieutenant in 1917 after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy. Three years of service with Marine ground forces in Cuba and the Philippines were followed by Headquarters duty at Washington and flight training at Pensacola. Designated a naval aviator in 1929, he held various Marine air commands before participating as colonel and brigadier general in the Guadalcanal, Northern Solomons, and Green Island air operations of World War II. On his return, he was appointed Assistant Commandant (Air) and Director of Aviation.

In the autumn of 1946, after Operation CROSSROADS had given a glimpse into the tactical future, Generals Shepherd, Harris, and Smith were named as a Special Board “to orient the effort of the Marine Corps away from the last war and toward the next.” The result was recommendations leading to experiments with rotary wing aircraft as a means of tactical dispersion in amphibious operations against an enemy employing atomic weapons. Thus the Marine Corps worked out new helicopter combat techniques which were soon to create tactical history with the Brigade and Division in Korea.[18]