Ervin Ellis Harris

Specialist Four
A CO, 2ND BN, 2ND INFANTRY, 1 INF DIV
Army of the United States
13 November 1947 - 29 November 1968
Oregon, Ohio
Panel 37W Line 006

1 INF DIV 2ND INF RGT
Combat Infantry

Bronze Star (3 awards), Purple Heart, Army Commendation, Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Ervin Ellis Harris

18 Feb 2008

Specialist Four Ervin Ellis Harris was just two weeks past his 21st birthday when he lost his life in a fierce two-day battle in a rubber plantation five miles northeast of Loc Ninh, in Binh Long Province, South Vietnam. On 29 Nov 68, his unit Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion (Mechanized), 2nd Infantry Regiment, of the 1st Infantry Division teamed with Charlie Company to sweep an area infested with entrenched NVA regulars. The enemy was estimated to be near 1,000 soldiers. The day before, Bravo Company had gone into battle and sustained many casualties and withdrew from the fighting.

Specialist Harris was the RTO for the Alpha Company Commander, Captain Kenneth Bowen. Alpha and Charlie companies engaged the enemy at approximately 1100 hours on 29 Nov. Alpha's APCs were on the left with Charlie Co's APCs on the right. According to Captain Bowen it was a "hellatious day" against an enemy that was in bunkers and fox holes. The NVA poured small arms fire, automatic weapon fire, and rocket-propelled grenades from their fortified positions against the advancing troopers. Captain Bowen said air strikes and heavy artillery fire was called in to dislodge the NVA regulars. The fighting, which lasted some four and a half hours for the dismounted infantry, became intermingled, and close in, between the opposing forces as the NVA reportedly tried to flank the Americans numerous times. In the end the American forces, with the ARVNs assigned rear security, prevailed and the NVA evaded and withdrew, presumably into Cambodia.

Captain Bowen recommended Specialist Four Ervin Harris for a Bronze Star with "V" device citing Harris' complete disregard for his personal safety in maneuvering through the hail of hostile rounds to remain at the side of his CO, relaying vital information over the radio. It was only after the CO and RTOs took a position atop the CO's track (to get a better look at the overall picture of the battle raging on) did a RPG round impact nearby and a piece of shrapnel strike Specialist Harris in the back of his head killing him instantly. Four other Alpha Company soldiers died that day along with two from Charlie Company. Enemy losses were reported to be from 78 to 148, from differing accounts.

Specialist Four Ervin Harris grew up in Oregon, Ohio, graduating from Clay Senior High School in 1966. He played football and was an accomplished wrestler, winning league, sectional, and district titles before losing his first individual match at the state tournament, his senior year. Following high school he attended the United Electronics Institute in Akron, Ohio, before being drafted and entering the Army on his 20th birthday. He earned three Bronze Stars, two with "V" device, and an Army Commendation Medal, in addition to his other awards.

From a researcher/biographer in Oregon, Ohio,
Jerry Eversman
jeversman@aol.com



DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
HEADQUARTERS 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION
APO San Francisco 96345

7 December 1968

GENERAL ORDERS
NUMBER 12799

AWARD OF THE BRONZE STAR MEDAL

1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced posthumously.

HARRIS, ERVIN E. US51833553 SPECIALIST FOUR United States Army
Company A, 2d Battalion (Mechanized) 2d Infantry

Awarded: Bronze Star Medal
Date action: August 1968 to November 1968
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Reason: For meritorious service.
Authority: By direction of the President, under the provisions of Executive Order 11046, 24 August 1962.

FOR THE COMMANDER:



ARCHIE R. HYLE
Colonel, GS
Chief of Staff
OFFICIAL:

ALAN W. PENICK
FIRST LIEUTENANT, AGC
Assistant Adjutant General

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
HEADQUARTERS 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION
APO San Francisco 96345

7 December 1968

GENERAL ORDERS
NUMBER 12810

AWARD OF THE ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL

1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced posthumously.

HARRIS, ERVIN E. US51833553 SPECIALIST FOUR United States Army
Company A, 2d Battalion (Mechanized) 2d Infantry

Awarded: Army Commendation Medal
Date action: August 1968 to November 1968
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Reason: For meritorious achievement.
Authority: By direction of the Secretary of the Army, under the provisions of AR 672-5-1.

FOR THE COMMANDER:



ARCHIE R. HYLE
Colonel, GS
Chief of Staff
OFFICIAL:

ALAN W. PENICK
FIRST LIEUTENANT, AGC
Assistant Adjutant General

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
HEADQUARTERS 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION
APO San Francisco 96345

16 December 1968

GENERAL ORDERS
NUMBER 13164

AWARD OF THE BRONZE STAR MEDAL
(Second Oak Leaf Cluster)

1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced posthumously.

HARRIS, ERVIN E. US51833553 SPECIALIST FOUR United States Army
Company A, 2d Battalion (Mechanized) 2d Infantry

Awarded: Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device (Second Oak Leaf Cluster)
Date action: 17 October 1968
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Reason: For heroism not involving participation in aerial flight, in connection with military operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam: On this date, Specialist Harris was serving as a radio-telephone operator for his battalion commander during a mission to reinforce a company which was heavily engaged with an undetermined size enemy force. Although aware that the road he would be traveling might be mined, Specialist Harris voluntarily positioned himself aboard the lead track in order to keep the commander closely informed of the tactical situation. After arriving at the area of contact, he repeatedly exposed himself to the intense hostile fire, as he accompanied the battalion commander from location to location. Throughout the battle, Specialist Harris maintained calm and efficient communications and was of great assistance in the effective control of the friendly forces. His courageous initiative and determination significantly contributed to the successful outcome of the encounter. Specialist Four Harris' outstanding display of aggressiveness, devotion to duty, and personal bravery is in keeping with the finest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
Authority: By direction of the President, under the provisions of Executive Order 11046, 24 August 1962.

FOR THE COMMANDER:



ARCHIE R. HYLE
Colonel, GS
Chief of Staff
OFFICIAL:

LARRY L. WARREN
Captain, AGC
Assistant Adjutant General

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
HEADQUARTERS 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION
APO San Francisco 96345

16 December 1968

GENERAL ORDERS
NUMBER 13165

AWARD OF THE BRONZE STAR MEDAL
(First Oak Leaf Cluster)

1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced posthumously.

HARRIS, ERVIN E. US51833553 SPECIALIST FOUR United States Army
Company A, 2d Battalion (Mechanized) 2d Infantry

Awarded: Bronze Star Medal (First Oak Leaf Cluster) with "V" Device
Date action: 29 November 1968
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Reason: For heroism not involving participation in aerial flight, in connection with military operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam: On this date, Specialist Harris was serving as a radio-telephone operator with his mechanized company on a battalion-minus reconnaissance in force operation north of Loc Ninh. As the friendly force advanced toward an enemy bunker complex from which it was receiving intense fire, Specialist Harris remained with his company commander to relay vital information. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Specialist Harris maneuvered through the hail of hostile rounds to maintain constant communication for his company commander and put forth suppressive automatic rifle fire. Specialist Harris climbed atop an armored personnel carrier and while placing devastating barrages on the insurgents, he was mortally wounded by enemy rocket-propelled grenade fire. His exemplary courage, professionalism, and heroic determination significantly contributed to the successful accomplishment of his unit's mission. Specialist Four Harris' outstanding display of aggressiveness, devotion to duty, and personal bravery is in keeping with the finest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
Authority: By direction of the President, under the provisions of Executive Order 11046, 24 August 1962.

FOR THE COMMANDER:



ARCHIE R. HYLE
Colonel, GS
Chief of Staff
OFFICIAL:

LARRY L. WARREN
Captain, AGC
Assistant Adjutant General

29 Feb 2008

REMEMBERED

by his brother,
Gerald Harris
chrrs4179@aol.com

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The MACV Summary for November 1968 contains the following entries for 28 and 29 Nov:

The seven men of the 2nd Bn, 2nd Infantry who were killed in the 29 Nov engagement were

  • A Company:
    • 1LT Ted J. Rule, Waterloo, IA
    • SGT Billy E. Hughes, Wichita Falls, TX (Silver Star)
    • SGT John R. Williams, Marlinton, WV
    • SP4 Melvin R. Green, New Paris, OH
    • SP4 Ervin E. Harris, Oregon, OH (Bronze Star "V")

  • C Company:
    • SP4 John S. Pooler, Wheaton, IL
    • PFC Jesus Q. Meno, Inarajan, GU


The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his brother,
Gerald Harris
chrrs4179@aol.com



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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 18 Feb 2008
Last updated 03/01/2008