Retired July 31, 1956. Died April 1, 1969.
Samuel Russ Harris Jr. was born in Pittsburgh, Penn., in 1902. Graduating from the U.S. Military Academy on June 12, 1926, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Service and assigned to Brooks Field, Texas, where he graduated from Primary flying School. He then entered the Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, graduating in August l927.
First assigned with the Third Attack Group at Fort Crockett, Texas in 1928, General Harris was a flying instructor, a test pilot and aeronautical engineer at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio where he served for nine years. In September 1938 he entered the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Ala., and upon graduation in June 1939 was named executive officer of the Army Air Forces Technical Inspection Division at Army Air Force headquarters, Washington, D.C.
Becoming director of technical services at Army Air Force headquarters in January 1942, that December General Harris was named director of air traffic and safety development there.
Moving to Clovis Field, N.M. in November 1943, the general assumed command of that field.
Going overseas in April 1944, General Harris was appointed commander of the 499th Bombardment Group on Saipan in the South Pacific where he served until March 1945. Two months later he became chief of the Aircraft Division at Orlando, Fla. In May 1946 he was named chief of flying safety at Albrook Field, Canal Zone and in June became executive officer of the Air Depot, assuming commend in April 1947.
In August 1947 General Harris entered the National War College, graduating in June 1948. He remained at the college as an instructor until July 1950 when he became acting deputy chief of staff for programs of the Air Research and Development Command at Washington, D.C. Named director of plans and programs for that command in March 1951, four months later the general was designated acting chief of staff and on Oct. 1 became chief of staff of the command, which had moved to Baltimore, Md.
Still with the Air Research and Development Command, in February 1953 the general assumed command of the Arnold Engineering Development Center, Tullahoma, Tenn.
His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star Medal. He is rated command pilot.