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Harry Langdon Reeder Sr.

COL in 23rd Headquarters Co : Commander


Born 1891 in OH, Died 1947

United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
College education before the war: St. John's College, Annapolis
Source: Roster of 23d HQ officers, from family of Oscar Seale; bio info from The Ghost Army by Beyer/Sayles; 1945 Official History of the 23rd HQ Special Troops; photo from Mason Collection, GALP Archive

Harry Reeder, Sr. was born on May 19, 1891 in Canton, OH, the oldest of three children. The family moved to Butler, PA when he was a young child. Harry graduated from St. John's College in Annapolis, MD in 1914, finishing second in his class of 13 cadets.

He married Margaret Foster on November 3, 1915, and they settled in Baltimore. He joined the Maryland National Guard with the rank of 2LT and saw service on the Mexican border. He then enlisted in the Army on November 29, 1916 and was commissioned as a 1LT in the Infantry; he was promoted to CPT in 1917. He saw action on numerous fronts in France during World War I, and after the war he remained on duty in Germany with the occupying forces. His wife joined him in 1919, and their first son, Harry Jr., was born in Koblenz, Germany in 1920.

By 1922 the family had returned to the US; their second son, Boyd, was born in Washington, DC that year.

Harry was promoted to Major in 1928, and they were living in Boone, MO by 1930. 1935 saw Harry on duty in Panama with his family. Following that assignment, he served at Fort Benning, Fort Leavenworth, and the Desert Training Center in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts.

Harry was among the first American officers to attend the Ecole de Tank in Paris and had spent a number of years in military classrooms studying (and instructing in) the latest tactical developments. Before he was assigned to the Ghost Army, he had served, with the rank of LTC, as CO of the 46th Armored Infantry Regiment of the 5th Armored Division.

On January 20, 1944 Harry was assigned as CO to the 23rd HQ Special Troops, with only one officer and 57 men reporting to him. Both of his sons joined the unit, along with 1,000 others, and in April Harry was part of an advance party that went to England to set up shop.

Harry remained CO of the Ghost Army until they returned to the US after the European war ended. He was promoted to the rank of Colonel in October, 1945.

Harry died on June 3, 1947 at Walter Reed Hospital. Both he and his wife are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Both of their sons were young lieutenants stationed in Germany at the time of Harry's death.


1900 census

1910 census

1914 article in the Frederick MD Citizen re his college graduation

1915 marriage record

1917-1919, Maryland Military Men, WW1 record

1920 census

1924 shipboard manifest

1930 census

1940 census

1945 Official History of the 23rd HQ Special Troops

1946 US Select Military Registers

1947 US Veterans' Gravesites

1947 Find a Grave record

1947 US National Cemetery Interment Control Form

1947 death notice in Baltimore Sun

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