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Each day, the VA honors a special military veteran for their dedicated service on their blog, VAntage Point. Today’s feature is Army Veteran Harold Alec Daniels, who served as a support soldier in World War II, specializing in utilities repair.

Harold Alec Denials went to Oregon State University on a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps scholarship and commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve after graduating in 1939. 

Daniels was called into active duty after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 but was given the option to stay at his electrical engineering job at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard working on military vessels. Instead, he chose to go overseas with the Army. 

Daniels served as a support soldier during WWII, taking care of the administrative, logistical and infrastructural concerns for the combat troops during the European Theatre. He also served as a utilities engineer, working on general infrastructure maintenance and repair at Allied Force Headquarters, first in North Africa and then in Italy.

He was promoted to first lieutenant in March 1943 and to captain in August 1945 and received a Bronze Star the following month. His citation reads, in part, “As the officer in charge of all electrical installations in connection with the operations of Allied Force Headquarters, Daniels was solely responsible for furnishing and maintaining the electrical power necessary for the operation of the complete headquarters. … [His] superb knowledge of electricity … [and] ability to put it to practical use was of inestimable value in solving the complex problem of electrical supply.”

In addition to his military duties, Daniels was an avid photographer and took many photos during his time overseas. His wife Mary, who kept every picture he sent her, made scrapbooks of the photos and other war memorabilia from those years. 

Daniels died in 1972, and Mary in 2006, but their daughter inherited the scrapbooks, turning them into a book titled: Keeping the Lights on for Ike: Daily Life of a Utilities Engineer at AFHQ in Europe During WWII; or, What to Say in Letters Home When You’re Not Allowed to Write about the War.

We honor his service.


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