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LIEUTENANT GENERAL MILLARD F. HARMON


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Died Feb. 27, 1946.

Lieutenant General Millard F. Harmon was born in 1888 at Fort Mason, Calif. He was from a military family - his father was a colonel, one brother a major general and another a colonel. He graduated from the Military Academy in 1912 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry, serving with the 28th and 9th Infantry Regiments. In 1914 he was ordered to the Philippines, and two years later detailed to the newly-organized Aviation Section of the Signal Corps. That year he accompanied the Punitive Expedition into Mexico and did aerial patrol work along the border. Two weeks before the United States entered World War I, Harmon, then a first lieutenant, was on his way to France. There he attended aviation schools in Paris, served at Allied and American headquarters, and was finally attached to the French 13th Group de Combat as a pilot during the Somme defensive, for which he was awarded the Croix de Guerre.

In July 1920, Harmon, now a major and stationed at France Field in Panama, transferred to the Air Service, precursor of the Air Corps. In April of the following year, he returned to Washington where he served as a member of the Advisory Board of the Air Service. During the years of peace, he continued his training, graduating from the Command and General Staff School and the Army War College. He taught military science and tactics at the University of Washington in Seattle, was assigned as an instructor in the Command and General Staff School, and served with the War Department General Staff for two years.

From 1927 to 1930, he was Commandant of the Air Corps Primary Flying School at March Filed, Calif., during which time he came into contact with the young men then entering aviation training. He commanded Barksdale Field and the 20th Pursuit Group for four years. In 1936, as a lieutenant colonel, he went to Hawaii to command Luke Field and the 5th Bombardment Group (later a part of the South Pacific 13th Air Force). In 1938 he returned to the United States to become Assistant Commandant of the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Ala. After two years of service there, he was assigned for brief periods to Randolph Field, Texas, Mitchel Field in New York, and Hamilton Field, Calf. On Oct. 1, 1940, while he was in command at Randolph Field, he was promoted to brigadier general.

In January 1941, Harmon was sent to the United Kingdom as an Air Observer - he was already rated a command pilot, combat observer and technical observer - serving in that capacity and as a member of the Harriman Mission until April. On his return to the United States, he was assigned as Commanding General of the Interceptor Command of the 4th Air Force. On July 11, he was appointed major general, and a week later was placed in command of the 2nd Air Force, with headquarters at Fort George Wright, Washington. In December of that year he was assigned as acting Commanding General of the Air Force Combat Command.

On Jan. 26, 1942, he became Chief of the Air Staff, Army Air Forces. With 30 years combat and command experience as a ground and air officer, General Harmon was well qualified to command Army Forces in an area of increasing strategic importance where air power was to play a dominant role. In July 1942, General Harmon was appointed Commanding General of U.S. Army Forces in the South Pacific area, an area that was under Navy command. In November, Admiral Halsey assumed command of the South Pacific, and the two formed a perfect team. In 1944, at the conclusion of his mission and before he went to another command, Admiral Halsey wrote, "I was particularly fortunate in having Harmon as Commanding General of the Army Forces; his sound advice and wholehearted cooperation in attaining the common goal were outstanding contributions to the joint effort."

On Feb. 2, 1943, Harmon was promoted to lieutenant general. Until September of the following year, he commanded the Army Forces in the South Pacific, and then moved to a new command, Army Air Forces in the Pacific Ocean areas. At the same time, he was designated Deputy Commander of the 20th Air Force, under the command of General Arnold. Under his command, the B-29s began their bombardment of Japan from the Marianas, and the Air Forces in the area was reorganized. In March 1945, on a routine flight from Hawaii over the Marshall Islands, his plane was lost. Despite the most intensive search by Army and Navy planes and surface vessels, no trace of the plane was ever fund. On Feb. 27, 1946, he was declared officially dead.




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