Larter, Harry C., Jr. (801st, 8th Grp)

Harry Larter Jr 1Harry C. Larter, Jr.

Biography: Harry Clifton Larter Jr. was born on September 23, 1902, in Newark, New jersey.  He was the son of Harry C. Larter Sr. and went to school at the Newark Academy and the Choate School. He was serving in the old Essex Troop of the New Jersey National Guard when he won an appointment to West Point.

While studying at West Point, his artistic talent helped him excel in a number of projects, including chairing the Class Ring Committee and the redesign of the Class Seal.  He was also Art Editor for the Howitzer yearbook in his first year. He graduated from the class of 1925.

Service Time: Harry entered the service after graduation and served in a number of locations, including Hawaii, before he was assigned to the Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, OK, in 1931.  He quickly set himself to task, establishing a permanent Field Artillery Museum at Fort Sill with the collection of historical and teaching materials he found stored on the base. During that period, he served in a variety of positions including student, faculty and instructor.

His hard work was rewarded in the summer of 1934, when orders were issued approving the museum and naming Lt. Larter as the curator and allocating a building for use as the museum.  On December 10, the museum was officially opened by Major General Upton Birnie, Jr., Chief of Field Artillery.  Larter continued to collect items for the museum during an extended trip to Washington and also painted both pictures and murals of Artillery men in uniform for the museum.

Harry Larter Jr 2

Harry was transferred to Fort Myer, Virginia in 1936, and assigned to the 16th Field Artillery. In 1941, now Major Later was called to command the 801st Tank Destroyer Battalion.  In 1942, he was selected to lead the 8th Tank Destroyer Group and continued with them throughout WWII.  The unit was activated at Camp Hood, Texas, on Oct. 13, 1942, and was stationed at a number of training bases before joining the III Corps, in August of 1943. They shipped out from the Boston port on September 5, 1944, arriving in England on the 15th. 

They soon shipped to France, landing on Oct. 21, 1944, where they acted as the III Corps Anti-Tank section.  They moved into Luxembourg on Dec. 19, 1944, and then into Belgium on Dec. 20, 1944, before returning to Luxembourg a few days later. They went back to Belgium before finally moving into Germany on Feb. 24, 1945, and assuming responsibility of the Remagan bridgehead TD coordination. The 8th shipped back to the U.S., arriving in New York on Jul. 7, 1945.  The unit was deactivated at Camp Bowie, TX, on  Oct. 20, 1945. Colonel Larter was awarded the Silver Star, Legion of Merit and Bronze Star for his service with the 8th.

Harry had two daughters, Mary and Barbara. In 1947, Harry married the former Grace Huppertz Roberts.  He was assigned to the 4th Army as their Information Officer.  His work in that position led to a vast improvement in the communication between the various public and military offices.  On January 31, 1950, Harry was forced to retire due to health reasons but he and Grace continued his work to preserve the history of the military.  He was the Associate Curator of the Fort Ticonderoga Museum and the Witte Memorial Museum in San Antonio.  He was President and Charter Member of the Company of Military Collectors and Historians and belonged to the Cannon Hunters of America Society. He additionally belonged to the Member of Ends of the Earth and was a permanent consultant for the museum at Fort Sill.  Throughout all his endeavors, he always utilized his art skills to support and enhance each project.

Illustrated Invitation – by Harry C. Larter Jr.

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The illustration to the left is one of many done by Harry in an effort to preserve the long history of the Field Artillery.

Harry passed away on August 16, 1960, and was buried in the Fort Sam Houston Cemetery, in San Antonio, Texas.  I want to thank Paul Stevens for the main picture of Harry and the West Point Association of Graduates and their Memorial Article program, where much of the information was found.  The West Point photo is used by permission, of Digital Data Online, Inc. and E-Yearbook.com