Wyatt E. Harper, Jr., was born on 17 September 1923 in Norwood, Massachusetts. He attended
Amherst College receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree and the University of Maryland
receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree.
Captain Harper attended Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, under the U.S.
Navy Officer Training Program and was commissioned an Ensign in June 1944. In October that
year he married the former Mary Bennett of Fort Pierce, Florida. Following his commissioning he was assigned to the
USS REGISTER (APD-92) for the remainder of World War II. During this tour REGISTER
sustained damage from a Kamikaze plane and also rescued survivors from the cruiser USS
Following the war, Captain Harper served in a variety of sea and shore assignments
including duty on the USS TANAGER (AM-385) as Engineer and Operations Officer and duty on
the staff, Commander Mine Squadron EIGHT as Operations Officer and Chief Staff Officer. He then commanded USS GROSBEAK (AMS-14). Captain
Harpers next assignment was to the General Line School in Monterey followed by a
tour of duty in the Officer Procurement Branch, Bureau of Naval Personnel.
Returning to sea, Captain Harper served as Executive Officer of the USS WADLEIGH
(DD-689) from March 1958 until July 1959 whereupon he attended the Naval War College,
graduating in June 1960. He next served as Commanding Officer of the USS MYLES C. FOX (
DDR-829) from June 1960 until March 1962 when he became Prospective Commanding Officer of
the guided missile destroyer USS BERKELEY (DDG-15) and placed the ship into commission in
In March 1968 Captain Harper took command of the USS GRIDLEY (DLG-21) until September
1968 when he received orders to report to the USS HALSEY (DLG-23) as Commanding Officer. Captain Harper passed away on 2 November, 1972 while still on