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First Name: Ben

Last Name: Harrell

Birthplace: Medford, OR, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Date of Birth: 15 March 1911

Date of Death: 26 July 1981

Rank: General

Years Served: 1933-1971
Ben Harrell

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1933

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Ben Harrell
General, U.S. Army

Ben Harrell was born on 15 March 1911 in Medford, OR. He was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy by Representative Hawley of Oregon and graduated from the Academy on 13 June 1933. He was then commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

As a junior officer, Harrell completed a number of assignments in Pearl Harbor, HI, before the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941. He served in the 3rd Infantry Division as S-3 of the 7th Regiment, which he later commanded in the Mediterranean Theatre. He also commanded the 15th Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division, served as G-3 VI Corps and, finally, as G-3 of the Fifth U.S. Army in this Theatre.

In these assignments, Harrell was instrumental in the preparation of tactical plans for the amphibious landings in North Africa in November 1942; for mounting the invasion convoy of more than 1,000 ships - the world's largest at that time - that landed on the southern beaches of Sicily in July 1943; and for the sweep across this island that terminated at the Straits of Messina in August 1943 and drove the shattered German Army back to the continent of Europe.

After several months of combat in the Volturno and Cassino areas of Italy, he made the landing at Anzio as Deputy Chief of Staff of the 3rd Infantry Division. He then went to VI Corps as G-3 to take part in planning the tactical maneuvers for: the defense of Anzio against German counterattack; the eventual breakout from the confining Anzio beachhead; and the pursuit north to capture Rome.

While he was still G-3 at VI Corps, Harrell landed in the invasion of Southern France on 15 August 1944. A few days later, he took command of the 7th Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division and led it through numerous combat actions until it captured Strasbourg, Germany, in December 1944. He then returned to Italy as G-3 of the Fifth Army, remaining in this assignment until the end of the war and his return to Fort Benning, GA, in December 1945.

At the U.S. Army Infantry School, he served in the Academic Department as Director of the Combat Requirements Section and commanded the School Troops Regiment. At the age of 37 he earned his Parachutist Badge, following which he served as G-3 of the 11th Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, KY, commanded its 511th Airborne Regiment and, finally, became its Chief of Staff in 1950.

After a year as a student at the National War College, he graduated and went to Paris in August 1953. There he spent a year as an Operations and Training staff officer in Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). He moved from Paris to Berlin, assumed command of the 6th Infantry Regiment in August 1953 and, a year later, he became Chief of Staff for the U.S. Commander in Berlin.

Harrell was assigned to the Pentagon in August 1955. After serving six months as Executive Officer for the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Forces), he was named to head the Infantry Branch, Career Management Division, Office of The Adjutant General, in January 1956. His promotion to Brigadier General followed the next month.

After completing that assignment, Harrell went to the Far East in July 1958, where he commanded the 7th Infantry Brigade and served as Assistant Commander of the 7th Infantry Division, one of the two U.S. Army Divisions in Korea at that time.

Promoted to Major General on 1 August 1959, he returned to the U.S. the same month for assignment to Headquarters, U.S. Continental Army Command at Fort Monroe, VA. In June 1960, he was transferred to Fort Campbell, KY, where he was assigned as Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division. He departed Fort Campbell in August 1961 for another tour at Fort Benning, this time as the Commanding General of the U.S. Infantry Center and Commandant of the U.S. Army Infantry School.

Harrell returned to the Pentagon in February 1963 as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Force Development, Department of the Army. He was also promoted to Lieutenant General. In May 1965, he was named as Commanding General of the U.S. Army Combat Developments Command at Fort Belvoir, VA.

On 6 July 1967, General Harrell assumed his final command before retirement; Commanding General of the Sixth U.S. Army at the Presidio of San Francisco, CA.

He retired from active duty in 1971.

Death and Burial

General Ben Harrell died on 26 July 1981. He is buried at San Francisco National Cemetery in San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA, in Section OS, Row 135, Site 6A.

Honoree ID: 248   Created by: MHOH




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