S/SGT Harry Allen Clawson
H Co., 3rd. Bn., 506th. PIR, 101st. Airborne Division
KIA 6 October, 1944 (MIA 1944-1971)
Opheusden, The Netherlands
-- Rodney Clawson --
Harry, the second son of Edna Allen and Charles Moses Clawson Jr., was born 8 Nov. 1919, in Thatcher,
Graham County, Arizona. The Clawsons were living in Pima at the time, and Edna went home to her mother's
in Thatcher for Harry's birth.
When Harry was five days old, he had mumps. Other childhood diseases, such as measles and chicken pox
followed later. At the age of five years, he had rheumatic fever. This left him in a weakened condition
so when he started to school in Pima, his older brother, Delwin and older sister, Helen, pulled him to
school in a little wagon. It wasnât long until the family moved to Safford where Harry continued his
schooling through high school. Harry skipped the second grade and was thus a year younger than his
Harry was an adventurous and extremely active young man. He loved a challenge and a thrill. He could
take the normal everyday life and make it into his own exciting and fascinating world. He built a tree
house in the top of a very huge and tall cottonwood tree so high that very few climbed up to see his
handiwork. He slept in this house and would swing out on a rope "Tarsan style" as soon as he awoke in
the morning. He was testing his ability to make his body function quickly. It was as if he were
preparing for the day he became a Paratrooper. He loved height and would climb the armory flagpole and
rock back and forth on it.
Bernard, his younger brother, remembers a trip when Harry took Max Hundley and him to Bonita Creek.
They went on foot with no food nor water, only a .22 caliber rifle. They drank the rain water left in
holes in the rocks along the way. Harry killed one rabbit and an old prospector cooked it for them. That
night Max and Bernard sat scared and shivering while Harry snored! They went exploring cliff dwellings
the next day before heading home.
Harry was probably the number one cyclist in the Gila Valley. He was the first to ride a bicycle to the
top of Mt. Graham and back. He and Burl Booth bought the first balloon-tired bikes in the valley and were
they proud of them! They went all over the valley and mountains on those bikes. Harry could do all kinds
of tricks on his bike. He could ride backwards sitting on the handle bars; he could "pop a wheelie" as
they say, riding on just the back wheel; many times he rode his bike to Eden, twenty miles from Safford,
to see Melba Busby, without handle bars on the bike.
DARING! That was a way of life with him! He built his own canoe and when the river was flooding, he
took it out for the first test run. When he worked for Cardon Oil Company, he raced Bernard between
Clifton and Safford on the gravel roads. They were driving gasoline trucks!
As a Scoutmaster, he made Scouting exciting for his boys. He didn't mind spending much extra time for his
Scouts. Scout camp then lasted ten days. He took his boys to camp three days early, all of them riding
bicycles. Anything that he could do to make the boys happy, he did. The next year, he had moved to
Clifton but still came back to camp for three days to show the boys how to use the climbing equipment he
was using as Bechtel's. Many of his Scouts went on to get their Eagle rank because of the start he had
given them. Harry loved Scouting. He earned his Eagle rank after Bernard had earned his. Harry got
every merit badge that Bernard had gotten just so he could use Bernard's merit badge sash.
To earn his Eagle rank, Harry had to hike alone at night to a special spot on the mountain where a book
was permanently kept at that time. It was hidden under a rock and was to be signed by the Scout. Harry
was bitten on the knee by a rattle snake, but he stayed the night and wrote in the book that a "guardian"
on the path had tried to keep him from his destination. It was afternoon the next day before he had
medical help for his leg.
Physical challenges were sought by Harry. The college at Thatcher had a picnic around the mountain at
Stockton Pass. He decided to walk home over the top of Mt. Graham which reaches over ten thousand feet
and then drops to the valley at three thousand feet. The snow was already deep on the mountain and his
feet were frost bitten before he reached Cactus, seven miles from Safford on the other side, and was
given a ride home. He could do one legged squats on either leg until people grew tired of watching.
He could do a hundred or more push-ups. His body was hard as a rock!
Harry met Melba Busby, daughter of Lettie Hunt and John David Busby, at a motion picture show in Safford.
He sat behind he and couldn't keep his hands off her hair, which was long and red. When he asked what
grade she was in, she answered, "A Freshman." He assumed she was in high school and Melba didn't tell him
she was in college for quite some time. He was a senior in high school. On their first date they went
to a carnival where "Pop" Clawson went along and paid for all their rides. One of the rides was the
ferris wheel. It scared Melba to death and Harry loved every minute of it!
Harry, Melba, Louise, Harry's younger sister, and Grant Mulleneaux double-dated many times and to keep it
interesting, Harry was always thinking of something different to do. He bet Louise and Grant one night
that he could go all night without talking to Melba. So he made up a set of 3 x 4 cards with questions
on them and when he wanted to have some conversation he handed Melba one to answer.
Harry and Melba were at the Clawson home one Sunday afternoon when Milan Larson and Vera McBride came by
and asked them to go to Lordsburg, New Mexico, with them so they could get married. Well, by the time
they returned home, both couples were married 9 May 1937. Because of the love and support of Mom and Pop
Clawson and LDS Stake President Harry L. Payne, Harry and Melba were sealed in the Arizona Temple on 2 June
1937 for time and all eternity.