Our "Medal of Honor" series explores the stories behind the courageous Pennsylvania veterans who have been awarded the prestigious Medal of Honor for their exemplary service in the United States military. In this entry, we recognize the achievements of Harry R. Harr, who received the Medal of Honor on March 28th, 1946.
Harr joined the Army from East Freedom, Pennsylvania in November 1942, and by June 5, 1945 was serving as a Corporal in Company D, 124th Infantry Regiment, 31st Infantry Division. On that day, near Maglamin, Mindanao, the Philippines, he smothered the blast of a Japanese-thrown hand grenade with his body, sacrificing himself to protect those around him. For this action, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor a year later, on March 28, 1946.
He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity. In a fierce counterattack, the Japanese closed in on his machine gun emplacement, hurling hand grenades, one of which exploded under the gun, putting it out of action and wounding two of the crew. While the remaining gunners were desperately attempting to repair their weapon another grenade landed squarely in the emplacement. Quickly realizing he could not safely throw the unexploded missile from the crowded position, Cpl. Harr unhesitatingly covered it with his body to smother the blast. His supremely courageous act, which cost him his life, saved four of his comrades and enabled them to continue their mission.
Harr, aged 24 at his death, was buried in Alto Reste Burial Park, Altoona, Pennsylvania.