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NEWS | Aug. 1, 2023

Tangirnaq Native, local hero memorialized at Kodiak Readiness Center

By Dana Rosso Alaska National Guard Public Affairs

The Kodiak Readiness Center in Kodiak, Alaska, was filled with somber reverence on July 27, 2023, as family, friends, and fellow service members gathered to pay tribute to the late Specialist Four Daniel Lee Harmon while memorializing the readiness center in his name.
 
The ceremony celebrated Harmon's exceptional service and sacrifices during his deployment to Vietnam with the 4th Infantry Division in 1966-67. Harmon was killed while trying to save members of his team from overwhelming enemy fire, posthumously earning him a Bronze Star for valor.
 
“What Danny did, and how he did it so long ago, that can never be forgotten. He was a warrior, a ghost in the field,” said Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe, the adjutant general for the Alaska National Guard, speaking to a standing-room-only crowd. 
 
Saxe spoke with deep gratitude and admiration for Harmon's service and sacrifices, before unveiling a new sign dedicating the Kodiak Readiness Center in memory of Harmon’s service. 
 
“Danny brought us together today, his legacy is living, his legacy is freedom,” said Saxe. “I am grateful for what he has done going before me and going before us, he has provided that freedom for all of us.”
 
Alex Cleghorn, tribal council president of the Tangirnaq Native Village, also spoke during the ceremony. He said Harmon's memory would forever be etched into the hearts of those present. 
 
“As we gather here on this occasion to remember Danny’s legacy, I think it is important to take a moment to recognize the broader contributions of our native people in the military,” said Cleghorn. “Native people serve in the armed forces at five times the national average and have served with distinction in every armed conflict in the last 200 years.”
 
Harmon answered the call to duty when he joined the Alaska Army National Guard in 1964, showcasing his commitment to his country. In 1966, he transferred to the active Army and became an infantryman with the 4th Infantry Division.
 
Throughout his deployment in Vietnam, Harmon's team carried out numerous operational patrols to disrupt enemy movements and protect their fellow soldiers. However, his bravery came at a cost, as he endured several injuries during the course of his tour.
 
In May 1967, as Harmon's tour in Vietnam was just days from being complete, he voluntarily joined a patrol along the Pleiku Province in South Vietnam to conduct battle damage assessment. It was during this mission that his team encountered a squad-sized element of the North Vietnamese army. In the face of adversity, Harmon and his team exchanged fire with the enemy and called for extraction.
 
Unfortunately, the extraction team faced its own challenges, as an enemy mine disabled one of the tanks, leaving Harmon’s team vulnerable. After rescuing one of his wounded team members and returning to assist another, Harmon was seriously wounded and later died.  
 
Cleghorn said Harmon’s story is timeless and has the power to bring people together. 
 
“It’s a beacon of inspiration and sacrifice, his memory resonates within the hearts of our people we remember him as Kodiak’s hero. He optimized that true essence of selflessness devotion to his fellow man,” Cleghorn said.  “In honoring Danny tonight lets also remember all of those who have served and continue to serve with courage and distinction, that valor and sacrifice wave within our tribe and our country and our history, and remind us all of the indomitable spirt that connects us to each other and to this land.”
 
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