On the 23rd May 2006 CSgt Harkess's platoon was tasked to an operation in a Mahdi Army stronghold. They were under attack from more than 50 heavily armed Militia. CSgt Harkess moved to secure the extraction route. CSgt Harkess's platoon then came under fire themselves from small arms and rocket propelled grenades from several directions. CSgt Harkess attacked, leading his platoon from the front, under heavy enemy fire. He then held the vital ground despite immense and prolonged pressure from the rapidly reinforcing enemy. The Company safely extracted.
On the 11th June 2006 C Sgt Harkess's platoon formed part of the C Company group for a search operation in Al Amarah. The ensuing six hour battle was the largest and most intense in Iraq since 2004. The enemy of over 200 Mahdi Army soldiers attacked constantly. The enemy was well supplied and had significant reserves. Again, CSgt Harkess moved himself to a critical position where he remained under fire for the entire six hours.
On the 30th July 2006 C Company were deployed in support of a re-supply convoy. CSgt Harkess was now the Platoon Commander. As the convoy approached the town of Al Maymunah, CSgt Harkess's men came under sustained fire. For over an hour CSgt Harkess led his platoon under heavy enemy fire from every direction.
For his bravery during these actions under significant enemy fire CSgt Harkess was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.