Parents: Mr. and Mrs. J.D. Harris Sr., 3804 14th Avenue, Chattanooga.

Navy Cross Citation:
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross Posthumously to Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class J D Harris, Jr. NSN 6415087, United States Naval Reserve, for extraordinary heroism and conspicuous devotion to duty while serving as a Medical Corpsman with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces at Okinawa in the Ryukyu Islands, on 3 May 1945. As his platoon was assaulting a heavily defended, strategic ridge, intensive small arms and mortar fire, as well as hand-to-hand fighting with bayonets and grenades, inflicted heavy casualties on the Marines. With utter disregard for his own personal safety, Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class Harris continued treating wounded Marines, despite the fact that he had been critically wounded by a fragment from an enemy grenade. Unable to move one of the wounded men to safety and realizing the serious condition of the Marine, he began administering blood plasma. Just as he finished his task, thereby saving the life of the Marine, he was severely wounded again by a shot from an enemy sniper. Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class Harris’ courageous and extraordinary devotion to duty in the face of devastating enemy fire was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders Commander in Chief Pacific Serial 032459 September 6, 1945

The Chattanooga Times, February 6, 1949:
The body of Phm. 2/c J.D. Harris Jr., son of Mr. and Mrs. J.D. Harris Sr. of Valley Head, Ala., will arrive in Chattanooga. Harris attended school in Chattanooga and was connected with the Incline Drug Store before entering the service in 1942. He was killed in action on Okinawa May 3, 1945, while serving with the First Marine Division. Besides his parents he is survived by two brothers, James Harris of Birmingham and Vernon Harris of Valley Head; one sister, Margie Lee Harris, Valley Head; grandmother, Mrs. Belle Austin of Chattanooga.

  • Rank: Pharmacists Mate Second Class
  • Date of birth:
  • 15 September 1924
  • Date of death: 3 May 1945
  • County: Hamilton
  • Hometown: Chattanooga
  • Service Branch: Navy
  • Division/Assignment: 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division
  • Theater: Pacific
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Battles: Okinawa
  • Awards: Navy Cross, Purple Heart
  • Burial/Memorial Location: Tennessee Georgia Memorial Park, Rossville, Georgia
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar X, Bottom Panel
  • Sponsored by: Doug Kettles

Image Gallery

Click a thumbnail below to view at full size.

Submit more information on this veteran →