HARPER WILLIAM B

LTC William B. Harper was a potential VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 06/10/1985 at the age of 53.3 (Exact date not known.)
Date of Birth 02/19/1932
Served in the U.S. Army
This information was provided by SSN search

More detail on this person: William Baynard Harper was born on Feb 19, 1932, at Schofield Barracks, HI, to Captain Joseph Howard Harper and Maria Dougherty Harper. Bill was a typical Army brat, living successively at Forts Monmouth, McPherson, Bragg, and Benning before graduating from high school in Norfolk, VA, in 1949. Following a year at Sullivan School, he entered West Point on a Presidential appointment in 1950. A popular classmate in company D-1, Bill excelled as a member of the USMA Swimming Team and the Water Polo Club. Following his commissioning in the Infantry upon graduation on Jun 8, 1954, Bill attended the Basic Infantry Officers' Course, Airborne, and Ranger Courses. The first of his qualification jumps for airborne was a newsworthy event, for he made it together with his father, Major General Joseph H. Harper, the Infantry School commander. Bill met his first wife, Emily Bailey Walker, on a blind date in Georgia. They were married quite soon thereafter, as Bill swept Bailey away from her "southern belle" life into the role of an Army wife. Bailey loved Bill and they both loved the camaraderie, the travel, and the true community of the Army. Their two children, Bill Jr. and Blair, were born in 1958 and 1963, respectively. Following short-term company assignments with the 3rd ID at Benning, Bill opted for Army Aviation and attended flight training in Texas and then at Fort Rucker. After getting his wings in 1957, he was assigned to the 101st Airborne, the same unit his father served with in WWII. He completed instrument and rotary wing flight qualifications, Infantry Advanced, then served in Korea as an Infantry Rifle Company Commander until September of 1961. Subsequent assignments took him to Camp Kilmer, NJ, as aviation officer for 2nd U.S. Army Reserve Corps and back to Fort Benning as a briefing officer for the Test Evaluation and Control Group Project Team. Following his CGSC graduation in 1966, Bill served a tour in Vietnam, supporting the RVN 21st ID and Test & Eval of helicopter combat roles. Returning stateside to the Pentagon, he served in staff roles for Army Aviation and OACSFOR. His last assignment returned him to Fort Rucker at the Aviation School Brigade. While at Fort Rucker, Bailey died due to surgery complications. That life change event influenced Bill's decision to retire from the Army in 1974 after 20 years of distinguished service even though he was on the O-6 promotion list with orders to attend the Army War College. His decorations include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, 13 Air Medals, and 3 Commendation Medals. Bill's son went off to prep school to pursue his dream of flying in the Air Force (graduated from USAFA Class of 1980), while Bill and Blair moved to Macon, GA. There Bill met his second wife, Ann Champion, and they were married in 1976. He stepped right into the role of father to Ann's two children, Tom and Carol, and the blended family flourished with him as "The Dad." The next decade was a wonderful time in his life, perhaps best described as his "sweet spot." Ann and Bill managed Smith Hardware store near Buckhead, Atlanta, surrounded by family and friends. The children began to step out of the nest to college (Blair graduated from Converse College in '85) but returned home frequently, and it will be remembered as some of the best times of our lives. Bill Harper was the kind of man every person he knew looked to for wisdom, advice, and understanding. He was attentive when you needed someone to listen, jovial when it was time to celebrate, and his great sense of humor was always present to disarm a tense situation or make a good situation better. He was a man of few words, but when he spoke he did so with strength, love, and integrity. He was an amazing listener and truly walked through this life with compassion and humility. Bill was a beloved husband, father, and friend. One thing is certain: Bill Harper departed this world too early at the age of 52. Bill was not one to pursue glory and prestige, rather, he invested his time in people. Whether it was as a commander or a friend, from the plumbing aisle at Smith Hardware or over a great hand of cribbage, he was interested in you. His value of the person in his presence transcended their color or station in life, rank, religion, status, or sexuality. In every moment of his life, Bill modeled for us the principle that all people are worthy. Experience has taught us that while we may forget many experiences concerning another person, we never forget how that person made us feel. Bill Harper made us all feel valued, respected, appreciated, and loved. As for the career achievements and other noteworthy resume highlights that we have forgotten, this we know: Bill Harper was a genuinely humble, kind, and thoughtful man with a very deep and tender heart. Bill, you were the kind of man that makes this world a better place. Your patient and gentle nature, your wisdom and tenderness, and your integrity have all inspired us to live a life such as yours. We will always remember to laugh at the curve balls that life throws at us, because you taught us that. And we will cherish every day, living it fully, because that was the way you did it. Walk tall and face the sky, Bill Harper, our lives will always be enriched by your spirit. - Written by Bill Harper Jr. on behalf of Bill's family William Baynard Harper was born on Feb 19, 1932, at Schofield Barracks, HI, to Captain Joseph Howard Harper and Maria Dougherty Harper. Bill was a typical Army brat, living successively at Forts Monmouth, McPherson, Bragg, and Benning before graduating from high school in Norfolk, VA, in 1949. Following a year at Sullivan School, he entered West Point on a Presidential appointment in 1950. A popular classmate in company D-1, Bill excelled as a member of the USMA Swimming Team and the Water Polo Club. Following his commissioning in the Infantry upon graduation on Jun 8, 1954, Bill attended the Basic Infantry Officers' Course, Airborne, and Ranger Courses. The first of his qualification jumps for airborne was a newsworthy event, for he made it together with his father, Major General Joseph H. Harper, the Infantry School commander. Bill met his first wife, Emily Bailey Walker, on a blind date in Georgia. They were married quite soon thereafter, as Bill swept Bailey away from her "southern belle" life into the role of an Army wife. Bailey loved Bill and they both loved the camaraderie, the travel, and the true community of the Army. Their two children, Bill Jr. and Blair, were born in 1958 and 1963, respectively. Following short-term company assignments with the 3rd ID at Benning, Bill opted for Army Aviation and attended flight training in Texas and then at Fort Rucker. After getting his wings in 1957, he was assigned to the 101st Airborne, the same unit his father served with in WWII. He completed instrument and rotary wing flight qualifications, Infantry Advanced, then served in Korea as an Infantry Rifle Company Commander until September of 1961. Subsequent assignments took him to Camp Kilmer, NJ, as aviation officer for 2nd U.S. Army Reserve Corps and back to Fort Benning as a briefing officer for the Test Evaluation and Control Group Project Team. Following his CGSC graduation in 1966, Bill served a tour in Vietnam, supporting the RVN 21st ID and Test & Eval of helicopter combat roles. Returning stateside to the Pentagon, he served in staff roles for Army Aviation and OACSFOR. His last assignment returned him to Fort Rucker at the Aviation School Brigade. While at Fort Rucker, Bailey died due to surgery complications. That life change event influenced Bill's decision to retire from the Army in 1974 after 20 years of distinguished service even though he was on the O-6 promotion list with orders to attend the Army War College. His decorations include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, 13 Air Medals, and 3 Commendation Medals. Bill's son went off to prep school to pursue his dream of flying in the Air Force (graduated from USAFA Class of 1980), while Bill and Blair moved to Macon, GA. There Bill met his second wife, Ann Champion, and they were married in 1976. He stepped right into the role of father to Ann's two children, Tom and Carol, and the blended family flourished with him as "The Dad." The next decade was a wonderful time in his life, perhaps best described as his "sweet spot." Ann and Bill managed Smith Hardware store near Buckhead, Atlanta, surrounded by family and friends. The children began to step out of the nest to college (Blair graduated from Converse College in '85) but returned home frequently, and it will be remembered as some of the best times of our lives. Bill Harper was the kind of man every person he knew looked to for wisdom, advice, and understanding. He was attentive when you needed someone to listen, jovial when it was time to celebrate, and his great sense of humor was always present to disarm a tense situation or make a good situation better. He was a man of few words, but when he spoke he did so with strength, love, and integrity. He was an amazing listener and truly walked through this life with compassion and humility. Bill was a beloved husband, father, and friend. One thing is certain: Bill Harper departed this world too early at the age of 52. Bill was not one to pursue glory and prestige, rather, he invested his time in people. Whether it was as a commander or a friend, from the plumbing aisle at Smith Hardware or over a great hand of cribbage, he was interested in you. His value of the person in his presence transcended their color or station in life, rank, religion, status, or sexuality. In every moment of his life, Bill modeled for us the principle that all people are worthy. Experience has taught us that while we may forget many experiences concerning another person, we never forget how that person made us feel. Bill Harper made us all feel valued, respected, appreciated, and loved. As for the career achievements and other noteworthy resume highlights that we have forgotten, this we know: Bill Harper was a genuinely humble, kind, and thoughtful man with a very deep and tender heart. Bill, you were the kind of man that makes this world a better place. Your patient and gentle nature, your wisdom and tenderness, and your integrity have all inspired us to live a life such as yours. We will always remember to laugh at the curve balls that life throws at us, because you taught us that. And we will cherish every day, living it fully, because that was the way you did it. Walk tall and face the sky, Bill Harper, our lives will always be enriched by your spirit. - Written by Bill Harper Jr. on behalf of Bill's family

Burial information: Ashes spread near Traverse City, MI

This information was last updated 09/01/2018

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Date posted on this site: 09/19/2018


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