Harald S. Sundt
Biography: Harald Simpson Sundt “Danny” was born on October 9, 1910 in East Las Vegas, New Mexico. He was the son of Mauritz Martinsen Sundt and Tea Roisland and graduated from East Las Vegas High School in 1927. While in high school, he competed in tennis, winning the state doubles championship in 1927. He then left for the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, to fulfill an appointment he received in May of that year from Senator Bronson Cutting.
While later stationed in California, he visited distant relatives, the England family, and met his future wife, Roberta. On December 10, 1933, he married Roberta Ruth England from Long Beach, CA, daughter of Fletcher England and Hattie Detterick.
Service Time: Harald graduated from West Point in June of 1932 and went on to make a career of the military, serving for 30 years. His first assignment was at the Presidio of Monterey in California. In June of 1933, he was ordered to CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) duty to organize a company of World War I veterans at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro (Los Angeles), CA. In January, 1935, he went to Panama where he joined the 1st Battalion, 2nd Field Artillery at Fort Davis, Canal Zone.
In December of 1941, Captain Sundt was assigned to the 607th Tank Destroyer Battalion as the Executive Officer and also the S-3 Officer, eventually assuming command at the rank of Major on April 7, 1942. He was to lead the unit throughout World War II at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was lightly wounded on August 17, 1944, while reconnoitering gun positions and at one point, assisted two enlisted men in manning a gun near Le Bourg St. Leonard, France, during the battle known as The Falaise Pocket. All three of the men earned Silver Stars for their actions.
There were three task forces named after, and commanded by, LTC Sundt. The first one was in October, 1944, while the unit was attached to the 95th Infantry Division. The other two were in March and April, 1945, while the 607th was attached to the 87th Infantry Division. On June 28, 1945, hewas transferred to the 7th Tank Destroyer Group. In addition to the Silver Star, he earned the following awards: an Oak Leaf Cluster for the Silver Star, Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, French Legion of Honor and the French Croix de guerre. Following the end of hostilities, Harald spent a year with the Occupation Forces, during which Roberta and their 3 sons (Richard born in 1935, Charles in 1938 and Danny in 1943) joined him in Marburg, Germany.
Upon returning to the US, Harald attended the C&GSC in 1947 and was then assigned to Fort Sill, OK, in the Tactics Department. Their youngest son, Robert, was born in 1948. A call came on September 16, 1950, stating he should attend the Army War College and that he had been promoted to Colonel. Stints at the Pentagon and in Korea followed. Next he spent four years (1954-58) at Fort Monroe, Hampton, Virginia, assigned to TRADOC, followed by orders sending him, along with the family, to Denmark for four years, serving as the Chief of the Army Military Advisory Assistance Group. He returned to the US and retired from the military in June, 1962, at the rank of Colonel.
He then spent a semester at New Mexico State University, participated in war games for two different “think tanks” and worked for five years with the Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia which concluded with a second retirement in 1976. One of his proudest moments came in 1975 when he attended a ceremony in Germany during which his son Richard assumed command of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Field Artillery, the same unit he had served with in Panama in 1935.
Harald passed away on December 21, 1996, and was buried with his wife in the West Point cemetery. We would like to thank Harald’s son, Richard, for his 25 years of military service and for providing the information used in this tribute.
The photo of Harald as a cadet at West Point is used by permission of Digital Data Online, Inc. and E-Yearbook.com. Thank you also to Find A Grave contributor Julie for the use of the grave marker photo.