Capt. Harry Frederick Fischer Jr. was born in Honesdale, Penn. on Nov. 14, 1916. He attended Technical High School in Scranton, Penn. and enlisted in the U.S. Navy as an apprentice seaman on May 15, 1935.
He served on board USS Vega and USS Ranger and took examinations for the U.S. Naval Academy while in the latter vessel. Receiving a special order discharge, he entered the Naval Academy on July 7, 1936 and as a midshipman, he was a member of the wrestling team. He graduated and was commissioned an ensign on June 6, 1940.
After graduating from the academy, he was assigned to USS San Francisco (CA-38) and was serving as signal officer on board that vessel at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked the fleet there on Dec. 7, 1941. Before he detached from the ship in September, 1942, he participated in air action off Bougainville, the Salamaua Lae raid and the Guadalcanal Tulagi landings. He then returned to the United States for submarine instruction at the U.S. Naval Submarine School, New London, Conn.
His first submarine was USS Thresher (SS-200) in 1943 where he served as engineer and diving officer. He received the Silver Star for his duties on Thresher.
Of the eight submarine war patrols in which he participated, some were on USS Spikefish during the latter period of the war. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V for heroic service as assistant approach officer of USS Spikefish during the fourth war patrol of that vessel in the enemy Japanese-controlled waters of the Nanpo Shoto, Yellow Sea and East China Sea Areas from July 8 to August31, 1945.
After serving for some time as the executive officer, he left USS Spikefish in September, 1946 and returned to the Submarine School to serve as head of the Submarine Department. In May, 1949, he became executive officer of USS Carp (SS-338) and in January, 1950, he was transferred to USS Ronquil (SS-396) as commanding officer.
Following that tour, he reported to the Navy Department, Washington, D.C., and served as head, Policy Coordination Section, in the Bureau of Naval Personnel. Completing his tour of shore duty in June, 1955, he reported to commander, Destroyers, Pacific fleet, as a prospective commanding officer. In September, he assumed command of USS Rogers (DD 876), and two years later, he left for instruction at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. He graduated in June, 1958 and immediately reported for duty on the staff of the commander-in-chief, Pacific Fleet, serving a year each as undersea warfare officer and fleet readiness and training officer.
He next commanded Submarine Division 7 1 and in September, 1961, he assumed command of USS Pollux (AKS-4).
He was assigned in September, 1962 to the Joint Staff, commander, U.S. Forces, Japan. In August, 1964, he left for duty as the director of the War Gaming Department at the Naval War College.
Capt. Fischer took command of the cruiser USS Saint Paul in August, 1966, and 19 months later, on March 8, 1968, he became the commanding officer of NTC’s Recruit Training Command.
In October of 1969, Capt. Fischer became commander, NTC. He retired from Naval Service on July 1, 1970 following his tour at NTC. During his retirement ceremony, he was presented with the Meritorious Service Medal for outstanding meritorious service as commander, NTC. The citation read:
"Capt. Fischer has been responsible forth operation of a major Navy installation (and)...under his guidance, approximately 40 percent of all men entering the Navy received their recruit training and one-third of the Navy’s specialized rate training was conducted...."
Capt. Fischer’s other awards included the Commendation Ribbon with Combat “V’; the American Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star; the American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one Silver Star and three Bronze Stat. (eight operations); the World War II Victory Medal; the National Defense Service medal, the Korean Service Medal and the United Nations Service Medal.
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