Harmon N. Stanley
Biography: Harmon Nelson Stanley was born on July 21, 1917, in Kansas City, Kansas. He was the son of Herman Stanley and Elspie May Withers and attended Major Hudson School in Kansas City, through the grammar level. He then worked as a machine operator for the Vendo Company, which manufactured cold beverage vending machines.
At some point, Harmon married but his marriage would end while he was in the military.
Service Time: Harmon entered the Army on October 9, 1942, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. After his initial training, he was assigned to Company B of the 644th Tank Destroyer Battalion.
The battalion trained at a number of military facilities within the U.S. including Camp Claibourne, Louisiana, Fort Lewis, Washington and Camp Hood, Texas, before moving to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey to undergo final preparations before shipping overseas. On January 2, 1944, the left the New York port and arrived at Gourock, Scotland, January 11, 1944. After six months of additional training, they boarded transports and landed at Utah Beach on July 11th and 12th, equipped with M10 tank destroyers.
The 644th was committed to battle south of Le Haye Du Puits with the 8th Infantry Division on July 15th, participating in the Cobra breakout beginning on July 26th. Advancing into Brittany in August, they helped capture Brest in early September. They then moved to Luxembourg in late September and fought in the Hürtgen Forest in November. Companies A and C moved to the northern Ardennes sector by early December and participated in the Battle of the Bulge, with Company B arriving later.
The unit joined the elimination of the Bulge in early 1945, and the Roer River offensive in February, reaching the Rhine south of Cologne in March. They crossed the river at Remagen and supported the reduction of the Ruhr Pocket in April. Swinging eastward to the Elbe River, they rolled toward the Baltic coast with the 82nd Airborne Division, and stopped in Schwerin.
Harmon received credit for three of the unit’s five campaigns; Normandy, Northern France and the Rhineland. He was awarded the EAME, American Theater, WWII Victory and the Good Conduct medals. He shipped home on October 28th and arrived on November 4th. Harmon left the service at the Jefferson Barracks, MO, at the rank of Corporal.
Now back in the U.S., Harmon went to work for the Butler Manufacturing Company, a maker of metal building materials. On May 5, 1953, he married the former Edna Ferguson who was born in Kansas City, MO, and was the daughter of David Ferguson and Isabell Summers. The couple would have a daughter but they also had a son from Edna’s previous marriage.
In his spare time, Harmon enjoyed fishing and was a leader in the Boy Scouts and Mic-O-Say, which is an honor society of local Boy Scout groups of Missouri. Harmon passed away on July 31, 1980, and was buried in the Mount Washington Cemetery in Independence, MO.
I want to thank Harmon’s step-son, Mike Hunter, for providing the information and photos for this tribute. Mike has also provided a number of photos of other unit personnel which are shown in the 702nd unit page Photo Gallery.