Edwin “Ed” Hawkins Harris Jr., 83, passed away on December 21, 2020 at Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill, SC. Ed was born September 6, 1937, in Kittrell, NC, to the late Edwin H. Harris, Sr. and the late Mildred Boyd Harris. Ed graduated from Zeb Vance High School in 1957 and entered NC State University. He enlisted in the Army in 1958, attended Officer Candidate School, and was commissioned as an Infantry Officer. After completing Fixed Wing Aviator School, Ed was stationed in Korea in the ‘Lucky Seven’ Aviation Company. Following Korea, he served in a variety of Army aviation units including the Army Aviation Center at Fort Rucker, Alabama as flight instructor and in Mainz, Germany in the 8th Infantry Division.
Ed also spent two tours in Vietnam. His first tour, 1965-1966, was with the 68th and 120th Assault Helicopter Companies flying gunships. His second tour, 1968-1969, he commanded Company A of the 123rd Aviation Battalion, Americal Division. During his time in Vietnam, Ed earned 21 Air Medals including a V-Device for Valor, a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal with three campaign stars. Subsequent to his tours in Vietnam, Ed graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and served the remainder of his career as a Military Intelligence Officer. He retired from the U.S. Army after 20 years of service as a Lieutenant Colonel.
In addition to his many military schools, Ed received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hampton Institute, and a Master of Arts Degree from Temple University. After his military career, Ed continued to serve. He worked in the North Carolina Department of Public Safety in Emergency Management and then became the Chief of the Mobile Emergency Response Support team in FEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency, South West Region. He retired from public service in 2004.
Ed is survived by his wife, Arline Clements Harris; his son, Edwin H. Harris III (Susan); his daughter, Leah Harris; grandchildren, Brian Reznik Jr., Holly Reznik, and Hannah Reznik; his brother, Ronnie Harris (Martha); his nephews, Ron and Brandon Harris.
A military service with honors will be held at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery, Alexandria, Va. In lieu of flowers, donations should be directed to Operation Homefront, a charity organization that serves American military families who are struggling to make ends meet.Condolences may be made online.