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Max's Story

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Sergeant First Class Max E. Harris, captured during the Korean War, has now been accounted for. SFC Max E. Harris, 22, Monticello, passed away in Chosin Valley, North Korea in 1951.
He was born on March 8, 1929 in White County, to the late Cedric Harris and Lela (Martin) Harris Skaggs.
He attended Lincoln High School and enjoyed roller skating at the former Dewey Street rink and spending time at Ideal Beach, now Indiana Beach. He also was a pin setter at the old downtown bowling alley. Later he worked as a horse jockey in Lexington, Kentucky before enlisting in the Army at the age of 18.
In late Nov. 1950, Harris was a member of Company L, 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. Approximately 2,500 U.S. and 700 South Korean soldiers assembled into the 31st Regimental Combat Team (RCT), which deployed east of the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea. It was then attacked by overwhelming numbers of Chinese forces. The American forces withdrew south with the Chinese attacks continuing. By Dec. 6, the U.S. Army evacuated approximately 1,500 wounded service members. The remaining soldiers had been either captured or killed in enemy territory. Because Harris could not be accounted for by his unit at the end of the battle, he was reported missing in action on Dec. 12, 1950.
A returning American prisoner reported that Harris had been captured and died while in route to POW Camp 3 in September 1951. Based on this information, the U.S. Army declared him deceased on Sept. 30, 1951. In 2004, SFC Harris remains were recovered from the Chosin Valley, and have recently been positively identified through the use of DNA. SFC Harris will be returning home later this month to be laid to rest with his family.
He is survived by his sister, Patsy McCall, Monticello; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his siblings, Robert M. Harris Turner, Maxine Aubrey, Raymond Harris, Charlie Harris and Norman Skaggs; and his step-father, James Skaggs.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, at Springer-Voorhis-Draper Funeral Home of Monticello. Rev. Jeff Messer of Zion Bethel Church will officiate.
Burial will follow at Riverview I.O.O.F. Cemetery, with full military rites rendered there.
The family will receive visitors from Noon until the time of services on Sunday, Aug. 27, at the funeral home.
Memorial contributions are encouraged to go to the American Cancer Society or to the Monticello Funeral Honor Guard. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home.
Online memories and messages of condolence may be extended at www.springerfuneralhome.com
Published on August 11, 2017
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