Robert Hutchinson Harper was born in Milledgeville, Georgia, February 3, 1912. He attended Georgia Military College, Tennessee State Teachers College and George Washington University.

From November, 1931, until 1942, General Harper served at the Capital in Washington, D.C., as a clerk in the House of Representatives and as administrative secretary to a committee.

On February 7, 1933, General Harper was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Infantry Reserve, and served various short periods of active duty during the following nine years. He was called to extended active duty in January, 1942, and assigned to Army Air Forces headquarters, Washington, D.C., as Assistant Secretary of the Air Staff. The following March he was transferred to the Air Force Reserve, and January, 1944, was named executive assistant to the Chief of the Air Staff.

General Harper, in November, 1944, was assigned with the Fifteenth Air Force in the Mediterranean theater. Two months later he became deputy chief of staff of the Fifteenth Air Force. In July, 1945, he was assigned as executive for operations in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Personnel at Army Air Forces headquarters, Washington, D.C.

He reverted to inactive status September 15, 1945, with terminal leave to January 1, 1946. He then became chief clerk of the Armed Services Committee in the House of Representatives.

General Harper was recalled to active duty January 1, 1951, and appointed special assistant to the commanding general of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe, with headquarters at Wiesbaden, Germany. In February, 1951, he became Secretary of the Air Staff, U.S. Air Forces in Europe. In April, 1952, he was assigned to Air Force Headquarters.

During World War II, General Harper was awarded the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star Medal.

He was promoted to first lieutenant March 25, 1936; to captain March 31, 1942; to major September 4, 1942; to lieutenant colonel August 7, 1943; to colonel December 21, 1945; to brigadier general September 16, 1949.

Up to date as of 2 April 1952.