OBITUARY

Michael Hale Harrington

November 27, 1933May 14, 2019
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Mike Harrington, Colonel, United States Marine Corps (retired), passed away in Houston on May 14, 2019, following a long illness.

Mike was born on November 27, 1933 in Baltimore, Maryland, the only son of Suella and William Harrington. Mike grew up in Baltimore and attended an engineering high school, the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. After graduation in 1951, Mike began his four-year college education at Duke University. A gifted athlete, Mike played lacrosse all four college years at Duke and became a member of Duke’s Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. Taking the NROTC Marine Option route, Mike received a commission as a Marine Second Lieutenant following his graduation from Duke in 1955. Thus began Mike’s more than three decades career with his beloved Marine Corps.

Mike is preceded in death by his parents and his daughter, Shannon, and survived by his large and loving family, all of whom he loved and took immense pride in: his wife Christine, his daughter Megan Bass and her husband Hutch and grandchildren, Davis, Lanham and Shannon and their spouses. His sons Tim and Marc and Marc’s wife Whitney and grandchildren, Garrett and Kalynn. Mike’s step children Gail Murphey and husband Tod, April Martinez and husband Carlos and granddaughters Alexia, Milania and Leilani and Monique Novak and husband Tom and granddaughter Alayna.

Mike’s love for the Marine Corps was second only to his love for his family. As a new lieutenant in 1955, Mike attended the officer’s basic school and basic artillery school in Quantico, Virginia. Throughout his long career, Mike attended a number of advanced training schools including the Command and Staff Schools I and II, and the Industrial War College. Mike’s active duty and reserve assignments took him to Cuba and Okinawa, as well as other Marine stations on both the east and the west coasts placing him in significant leadership roles such as Commanding Officer of the First Battalion, Twenty-Third Marine Regiment headquartered in Houston, and other senior infantry and artillery staff positions throughout his illustrious career.

But those who knew and served with Mike know he was most proud of his brief but intense service as Executive Officer and Operations Officer of the Third Battalion, Third Marine Regiment along the Vietnamese DMZ during the summer of 1967. In hindsight, it is clear that this period was a prelude to Tet 1968 and the siege of Khe Sanh, the isolated outpost on the western border of Vietnam abutting Laos and the Ho Chi Minh Trail. When Mike joined 3/3 in June 1967, the battalion held down much of the central area south of the DMZ along Highway 9, a crude road but the only northern land route running from the South China Sea to Khe Sanh, the Laotian border and points west. 3/3 had the task of keeping Highway 9, the only overland route to Khe Sanh open; the North Vietnamese Army had the task of closing it, which they aggressively tried to do while Mike was there.

The NVA’s first major attempt came on July 21, when a huge convoy almost got caught in a large, well-planned ambush west of Ca Lu along Highway 9. With one 3/3 company pinned down in the ambush, Mike led the rescue unit into the fight, helping to rout the ambushing forces and extract the trapped Marines. Once again on August 21, an NVA ambush along Highway 9 was thwarted by the quick and effective counterattack of a rescue force personally led by Mike. Finally, on September 7, 1967, Mike was instrumental in organizing and successfully leading a counterattack on another NVA ambush force. But this time, as the Marines were driving the NVA off the road and back into the hills, Mike was seriously wounded when an NVA soldier threw a satchel charge close to him as it exploded.

Mike was evacuated to a hospital ship and ultimately back to the States to recover, which he did, and Mike remained in the Marine Corps Reserve until he retired as a Colonel in 1986. Even after his retirement, Mike continued his Marine Corps work in various volunteer capacities such as serving for 40 years as one of the founding members of the board of directors and the senior Marine representative for the Houston Marine Corps Coordinating Council, and serving as a Lifetime Member of the McLemore Detachment of the Marine Corps League.

While serving in the Marines, Mike earned numerous awards and other forms of recognition including the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, Meritorious Unit Citation, Organized Marine Corps Reserve Medal, Armed Service Reserve Medal, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Some of Mike’s other interests included the founding of The Irish Society, whose focus is on creating a Center for Irish Studies which would showcase Irish culture, music, literature and history. After completing his Marine Corps duties, Mike started and operated a steel and related metals import and trading company.

A visitation will be held in the chapel of Memorial Oaks Funeral Home, 13001 Katy Freeway, Houston, Texas 77079 on May 26, 2019 at 10AM, with the funeral service at 11AM. A graveside with full military honors will be conducted following the chapel service.

Mike requested that in lieu of flowers, donation be made to the Marine Corps Coordinating Council. The link is: https://houstonmarines.org/donations

  • PALLBEARERS

  • Davis Bass
  • Hutch Bass
  • Lanham Bass
  • Bobby Bergin
  • Marc Harrington
  • Tim Harrington
  • Jimmy Mitchell
  • Steve Oeding

Services

26 May

Visitation

10:00 am - 11:00 am

Memorial Oaks Funeral Home

13001 Katy Fwy
Houston, TX 77079

26 May

Funeral Service

11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Memorial Oaks Funeral Home

13001 Katy Fwy
Houston, TX 77079

26 May

Graveside

12:30 pm

Memorial Oaks Funeral Home

13001 Katy Fwy
Houston, TX 77079

Memories

Michael Hale Harrington

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Judi Hanley

May 24, 2019

Judi Hanley

May 24, 2019

Judi Hanley

May 24, 2019

Judi Hanley

May 24, 2019

Judi Hanley

May 24, 2019

Danny knew Mike his whole life and had the great honor of being sworn in to the Naval Academy & in this picture upon graduation & commissioning. Not all swearing in end in a hug.
Always in our hearts & minds.
Semper Fi forever, Col Mike!

Tim, Judi, Dan, John, Maura, Erin & Emily

Judi Hanley

May 24, 2019

Bob Gill

May 23, 2019

Sad this AM to learn of Mike's passing. I had the pleasure of knowing Mike as a friend and Marine comrade for more than 40 years. I served under him in First Bn. 23rd Marines and worked with him on the Marine Corps Coordinating Council and the Marine Corps League in Houston. Nineteen years ago this week-end we were together for the Memorial Day service at Belleau Wood, France following a week-long tour of the Marine battlefields in WWI. We drank from the Bulldog Fountain. As fellow Irishmen we were both proud of our heritage and shared it whenever possible.
My sincere condolences and love to Christine and all the Harrington family, SEMPER FI and Rest in Peace, Sir.

Dorothy C

May 22, 2019

May your loved one rest peacefully, soon, the enemy, death, will be brought to nothing, according to Jehovah God, and his son, Jesus Christ, promises in the Bible. John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 15:26 (jw.org)

Yolonda Oswalt

May 21, 2019

Our deepest regrets to the family of Colonel Harrington. My daughter and I made his acquaintance at aTown Hall Meeting at Michael DeBakey Medical Center. Our Marine, Sgt. Peter (Mike) Oswalt was a patient at that time. When the Colonel learned that Mike was also Third Marine Division and had been at the DMZ in Vietnam in 1967, he got Mike inducted into the Third Marine Division Chapter as a honorary member. Mike was also a Purple Heart recipient. Until my husband's death October 21, 2015, and even after, the Colonel became a dear friend and provided so much needed support to get us through our loss. Colonel Harrington frequently ended conversations with Semper FI. Goodbye dear friend. God Bless you Christine.

Ann Hoar

May 20, 2019

Tom and I were privileged to meet Mike and Christine at Irish Society functions over the years. He was a gentleman who will be missed by all. Our condolences to his whole family, Ann Hoar

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