Date of Birth: 10/27/1946
High School: Abraham Lincoln High School
Street: Vista St.
Branch of Service: Marine Corps
Date of Casualty: 02/18/1968
Province of Casualty: Thua Thien
Philadelphia Memorial Panel: Panel 12
Panel Row: 16
Click on the memorial panel below for a printable photo of the serviceman on this page.
The flag that covered James P. Harkanson's casket when he returned borne to his beloved Philadelphia from Vietnam was to be raised over the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial at its dedication. "Happy" Harkanson's brother, a pro-Vietnam Air Force veteran, remembers the young man as having "ever present contagious optimism," and could always be counted on to find something positive "even in the most trying of circumstances," When Harkanson wasn't spending weekends at the Jersey shore, he was home rowing on the Schuylkill or following the Phillies and Big Five basketball. Harkanson graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1964. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in March 1965 and volunteered to go to Vietnam, "where they needed me," he told family and friends. The 21-year-old lance corporal arrived there in December 1967 and was assigned to Company A of the 1st Battalion. 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Harkanson was killed while fighting at the Hue Citadel in Thua Thien Province on Feb. 18, 1968. He was survived by his parents and a brother, and was close friends with Raymond J. Ahern Jr, a Philadelphia veteran who died in Vietnam on Nov. 26, 1968.