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Saturday, November 18, 2023
Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)
Lieutenant General Bruce R. Harris (U.S. Army, Retired), former Commanding General of Fort Gordon, GA died peacefully at his Georgia home on October 26, 2023. He was 89 years old.
Born and raised in Indiana, he graduated from the New Castle public school system then went on Tennessee Tech University on a basketball scholarship while also joining ROTC. He was an exceptional basketball player in college and was drafted by the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons (later the Detroit Pistons of the NBA) but was committed to the army. He graduated with a degree in Business Administration and commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army in July 1956. While attending Tennessee Tech University he met and married Claudia who would become his wife of more than 65 years. He was honored with being a distinguished graduate of New Castle High School and is a member of Tennessee Tech’s ROTC and Athletic Halls of Fame. In addition to his degree from Tennessee Tech, he had a master’s degree from Auburn University and was a graduate of the Air Force War College. He retired in September 1989, after more than 33 years of active duty service.
At the time of his retirement, General Harris was the Director of Information Systems for Command, Control, Communications and Computers in the Office of the Secretary of the Army, Washington, DC. In that capacity he served as the principal advisor to the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Army on all aspects of policy, planning, and acquisition of communications and command and control systems for the army. He also served as the focal point for these functions with other government agencies, Congress, industry, and academia.
Bruce moved his family twenty-two times over the course of his career. He was always so genuinely grateful to his wife for taking such wonderful care of the four children during his significant times away.
He served two tours in Vietnam with the 1st Cavalry Division, both as a combat helicopter pilot. Other significant assignments include Commanding General of the US Army Signal Center and Fort Gordon, Commanding General of the US Army Communications Systems Agency, Assistant Division Commander, 9th Infantry Division; Deputy Commanding General Army Information Systems Command; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative (Congressional) Affairs. He also had assignments with other distinguished army units including the 2d Armored Division, 11th Air Assault Division, and 82d Airborne Division.
His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster) and air medals. He was airborne qualified and a Master Army Aviator.
Upon retirement, Bruce and Claudia chose to live in Augusta, Georgia where he continued his patriotic service to his nation. General Harris worked with many of America’s leading industries as a consultant on matters relating to the development of strategic business plans, resource planning, and proposal preparation in support of Department of Defense requirements. He also never ceased to being a mentor, coach, and advisor for so many others in all walks of life.
One of his most passionate hobbies throughout his life was golf, a game for which he was quite skilled. He was a long-standing member of West Lake Country Club and served as a volunteer for many years on its board of directors.
Claudia passed away in April of 2020 during the pandemic. Together they leave a legacy of love for family, selfless service to our nation, and lasting impact on so many lives around the country.
A special thanks to the professional home care providers for their loving support to Bruce and the entire family during these challenging times.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. O. R. Harris and grandson Jordan. He is survived by four children: Bruce, Jr., Mary Kathryn Brooks, Timothy and Bradley; three sisters: Brenda Gouckenour, Nan Bussert, Jill Morris; nine grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.
A joint memorial service for both Bruce and Claudia will be held at Bath Presbyterian Church at 3910 Bath-Edie Road, Blythe, GA 30805, on November 18, 2023, at 1:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for memorial contributions to be made to the USO. Both Bruce and Claudia will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date to be determined.
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