ELLIJAY, GA, USA U.S. Army 1LT, COMPANY B, 2D BN, 69TH ARMOR, 3D ID (TF LIBERTY) FORT BENNING, GA BAQUBAH, IRAQ 06/18/2005
Delivered by a midwife and his mom and dad in the “dried in” living room of the hand-built house in which he would later swing a hammer and wield a nail gun, Noah grew up toddling behind his dad, roaming the North Georgia mountains with a rock in one hand and a stick in the other. Many of his friends and relatives have attributed Noah’s personality, a joyful blend of warrior and gentleman, to the unique instruction he received at an early age from his dad and Mother Nature.
Throughout his public school career, Noah maintained an “A” average. An honor graduate of Gilmer High School, and 1999 Presidential Scholar, Noah pursued many interests. From kindergarten on he was a committed athlete lettering in track, wrestling, football and drama. In high school, he served as the Captain of the wrestling and the football teams and was the 1999 AA Georgia State Wrestling Champion at 189. He was also the 1999 Scholar/Athlete of the State of Georgia. Noah continued athletics in college as the captain of the University of Georgia Cheerleaders. Another UGA accolade of which Noah was very proud was his selection to the inaugural class of the Business school’s Institute for Leadership Advancement (ILA). He was a member of Sig Ep’s Balanced Man program and also served in Washington, DC through a summer internship with the honorable Nathan Deal.
Shortly after 9/11, Noah’s priorities changed and he felt called to serve a higher purpose in life through standing up for his country in the War on Terror. Using his leadership skills, he “wrangled” his way into the ROTC program as a senior at UGA where he served on the Ranger Challenge Team and as the executive officer. During his National Advanced Leadership Camp at Fort Lewis, Washington, Noah was selected as the Commander of Troops and received the highly prized Recondo Badge. He was commissioned into the infantry on the same day that he graduated from college in December of 2003. After a very successful Officer’s Basic Course at Fort Benning, at 23, Noah became one of the youngest 3rd Infantry lieutenants ever to have the honor of receiving and training a combat platoon to serve in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
His platoon, the Wolf Pack, deployed to Ba’quba, Iraq in January of 2005. During his R&R visit on Mother’s Day of 2005, Noah was more excited than ever to be serving his country and spent his vacation with his fiancé, visiting churches, schools, and even the governor. Noah had sponsored several correspondence programs for the Wolfpack, and thanks to the support of family and friends from across the country, he and his men became quite famous as the soldiers who had “bullets for the bad guys” in one pocket and “Beanie Babies for the children of Iraq” in the other.
On the night before Father’s Day, Noah went out on his final mission; and what a mission it was! Noah and his men broke up a large counterfeit ID operation, capturing weapons, insurgents, and a large money cache. When they were on the way to the base at the end of the night, the convoy came under heavy fire; Noah and his men could have turned left at a “T” in the road and gone back “inside the wire” to safety. Instead, at his request, Noah received permission to provide support for a unit of Iraqi police who were pinned down. As his commanding officer describes it, “Noah and his men turned right and charged against the enemy.” In the midst of a pitched battle, Noah Harris was killed when his humvee was destroyed by an I.E.D. He was the first UGA ROTC cadet ever to be killed in action, a fact that his peers will always remember. However, even more important, he will always be remembered for his IDWIC philosophy. Throughout his life, whenever Noah received a compliment, he always shrugged it off, saying, “I do what I can.”