LOUISVILLE, Colo. | Befitting a proud and decorated World War II veteran, Brigadier General Harvey Reed Fraser, PhD, passed away at age 97 with his loving family present on November 10, 2013, the day before Veteran’s Day 2013.
Harvey was born in Elizabeth, Illinois, in 1916, the son of James Hiram and Ethel (Reed) Fraser. He was a distinguished graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY (USMA) in 1939. Upon graduation he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and was posted to Schofield Barracks in the Territory of Hawaii. Here he married his dear wife, Jean Adele Mueller Fraser, on July 31, 1940.
When Pearl Harbor was bombed, Harvey was commanding Company A of the 3rd Engineer Combat Battalion. His new bride, Jean did not want to evacuate with all the other families, as required, so she eagerly requested and was soon appointed as a First Lieutenant in the Woman’s Air Raid Defense Force to work at the Aircraft Control Center where she tracked radar reports of friendly and enemy ships and airplanes.
Harvey was then reassigned to Ft. Lewis, WA, for combat engineer training. After an extended assignment leading Engineers building numerous airfields in England, on December 13, 1944, he took command of the 51st Engineer Combat Battalion; three days later the front line came to the 51st where they fought as Infantry soldiers on the northern shoulder of the “Battle of the Bulge.” The unit was awarded a U.S. Presidential Citation and the French Unit Croix de Guerre Citation with Silver Star for bravery during battle.
Harvey’s unit built two floating bridges, the first across the Rhine River at Remagen, Germany, and the second across the Danube River at Ingolstadt. The bridges carried a proud sign “51st Again.” Both of the bridge constructions were done under intense German gunfire with the loss of several of his soldiers. At the end of the war Harvey returned to the U.S. and was assigned as an Operations Officer in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. This was followed by his earning a master’s degree in civil engineering at the California Institute of Technology and later his PhD in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from the University of Illinois.
Harvey’s military career included 17 years at USMA as a permanent professor and Deputy Head of the Department of Mechanics. Harvey also graduated from the Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and with distinction from the Von Karmen Institute for Fluid Dynamics in Brussels, Belgium.
In 1965, at age 49, Harvey retired as a Brigadier General from his military career at West Point to assume his position as Dean of Engineering (1 year) and then as the seventh President of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSMT) in Rapid City, South Dakota, for nine years. At that point, he had completed what he believed to be his major accomplishments at SDSMT, believing that “all the good that you can do will be done in the first 10 years and then it’s time for new blood and new ideas.”
He was known as the “bricks and mortar” president after overseeing nearly $8 million of new construction on the school’s campus and reconstruction of several buildings damaged during the Rapid City flood of 1972. He continued his academic career as the Dean of Academic Affairs at the Oregon Institute of Technology for four years and then ultimately retired in 1984 after five years in his position as Academic Dean of the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, California. This last position offered a unique opportunity to combine both his military and civilian academic careers to round out his 45 years of service to his country and higher education.
Even in retirement, Harvey continued his professional service as a member of the Board of Directors of MDU Resources Group, Inc., for 16 years.
Selected military and civilian awards and honors include: 2 Legions of Merit, 2 Bronze Stars (valor), French Croix de Guerre with star, 5 Battle Stars European Theater Operations, 1 Battle Star Pacific Theater Operations, Citation for Distinguished Service in Ethiopia 1964, and Distinguished Engineering Alumnus, University of Illinois, (PhD) April 23, 1967. In 1999 he received the prestigious General Patton Award for significant contributions to World Peace.
Excerpted From: Rapid City Journal, November 17, 2013 edition.
Artifact(s): Summer Tan-Khaki Class-A Dress Uniform.
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