Capt Cecil Elwood “Speedball” Harris

Capt Cecil Elwood “Speedball” Harris

Birth
Faulkton, Faulk County, South Dakota, USA
Death 2 Dec 1981 (aged 67)
Groveton, Fairfax County, Virginia, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Sec. 66, Lot 820
Memorial ID 98818419 · View Source
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Cecil Harris joined the Navy on March 26, 1941 for flight training and was commissioned an ensign on March 12, 1942. He earned his wings as a naval aviator. As a member of VGF-27 on the USS Suwanee (CVE-27), he participated in the North African invasion. VGF-27 was redesignated VF-27 and he served at Guadalcanal from January to April 1943. He served on the USS Intrepid (CV-11) from Aug 16 to Nov 30, 1944.

During the war, he shot down 24 enemy aircraft, earning the designation as a four-time (nearly five-time) "ace" pilot. He was the second-highest Navy ace of World War II, second only to CAPT David McCampbell.

In 1946 he graduated from Northern State Teachers College (now Northern State University) in Aberdeen, South Dakota with a B.A. in Education. He was recalled to active duty during the Korean War, promoted to the rank of Captain on Sept 1, 1962 and retired from the Navy in July 1967.

CAPT Harris was awarded the Navy Cross, Silver Star with oak leaf cluster, the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters and three Air Medals.

[Source: Stars and Bars: A Tribute to the American Fighter Ace 1920 - 1973 by Frank Olynyk (c. 1995), p. 321. A FindAGrave volunteer provided a correction in Dec 2016 regarding the college that CAPT Harris graduated from in 1946.]


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  • Created by: G Shewan
  • Added: 13 Oct 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 98818419
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Capt Cecil Elwood “Speedball” Harris (2 Dec 1914–2 Dec 1981), Find A Grave Memorial no. 98818419, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by G Shewan (contributor 46881166) .