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COMMANDERS 11TH CAVALRY, 1901 TO 1941



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“F” Troop 11th Cavalry Presidio of Monterey, California, Commanding, Captain James V. Gagne, 1933. Buildings left to right: barrack no. 49; post theater, building no. 50; and station hospital in the background, building no. 113. Look on the layout link on homepage for building location. Note: buildings no. 49 and 50 are still standing. DLIFLC & POM Archives


COMMANDERS 11TH CAVALRY, 1901 TO 1941

Colonel Francis Moore (February 2, 1901 to February 23, 1903).

Colonel Earl D. Thomas (April 21, 1903 to April 18, 1907).

Note: Missing information.

Colonel James Lockett (March 12, 1913 to June 30, 1916).

Colonel William J. Nicholson (June 30, 1916 to August 29, 1917).

Colonel James Lockett – August 1917 to 15 June 1919.

Colonel Nathaniel F. McClure – 19 August 1919 to February 1920.

Colonel James B. Erwin – 16 February 1920 to 11 July 1920.

Lt. Colonel Alvin C. Gillem – 11 July 1920 to 9 December 1920.

Colonel John M. Jenkins – 9 December 1920 to 1 July 1923.

Colonel Joseph E. Cusack – 1 July 1923 to 1 September 1923.

Lt. Colonel Howard C. Tatum – 1 September 1923 to 16 September 1923.

Colonel Herbert J. Brees – 16 September 1923 to 10 June 1925.

Lt. Colonel C. Tatum – 10 June 1925 to 1 July 1925.

Lt. Colonel William W. Gordon – 1 July 1925 to 9 September 1925.

Colonel Leon B. Kromer – 9 September 1925 to 2 August 1928.

Lt. Colonel Joseph A. Baer – 2 August 1928 to 8 October 1928.

Colonel Roger S. Fitch – 8 October 1928 to 11 October 1930.

Lt. Colonel Jerome G. Pillow – 11 October 1930 to 3 January 1931.

Colonel Ben Lear – 3 January 1931 to 30 June 1933.

Colonel Ralph M. Parker – 30 June 1933 to 5 February 1936.

Major Richard W. Cooksey – 5 February 1936 to 29 February 1936.

Colonel Troup Miller – 19 February 1936 to 1 May 1938.

Lt. Colonel William H. W. Young – 1 May 1938 to 15 June 1938.

Lt. Colonel James E. Slack – 15 June 1938 to 28 June 1938.

Colonel Homer N. Groninger – 28 June 1938 to 1 November 1940.

Lt. Colonel John T. McLane – 1 November 1940 to 27 November 1940.

Colonel Harold M. Raynor – 27 November 1940 to 31 December 1941.

Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives and United States Army Order of Battle 1919-1941, author: Lt. Col. (Retired) Steven E. Clay, Volume II, page 623


11TH CAVALRY COMMANDERS HISTORIES

COLONEL FRANCIS MOORE - February 2, 1901 to February 23, 1903.


Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives.


COLONEL EARL D. THOMAS - April 21, 1903 to April 18, 1907.


Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives.


COLONEL JAMES LOCKETT - March 12, 1913 to June 30, 1916.


Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives.


COLONEL WILLIAM J. NICHOLSON - June 30, 1916 to August 29, 1917.


Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives.


COLONEL NATHANIEL F. McCLURE - 19 August 1919 to February 1920.


Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives.


COLONEL JAMES B. ERWIN – 16 February 1920 to 11 July 1920.


Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives.


COLONEL JOHN M. JENKIN - 9 December 1920 to 1 July 1923.

Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives.

John M. Jenkins was born in South Carolina in 1863 during the Civil War. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy (USMA) in 1887 and served on frontier duty for several years. During the Spanish American War he participated in the capture of Puerto Rico (1898). He served as an instructor at the South Carolina Military Academy (1893-97) and later at the U.S. Military Academy (1900-04) while Douglas MacArthur was a cadet. He commanded the 11th Cavalry during the Punitive Expedition into Mexico (1916-17) and the 30th Infantry in France (1918) during World War I, earning the Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart.

Jenkins once again took command of the 11th Cavalry in 1920, bringing the regiment across country by rail from Fort Myer, Virginia, to the Presidio of Monterey. During his tenure the entire Army was shrinking rapidly and funds for necessary training or base operations were limited. In 1921 he completely reorganized the regiment by adsorbing elements of another cavalry regiment from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. He directed the preparation of a regimental history.

In 1923 Jenkins left the regiment and was promoted to brigadier general. He retired in 1927 and died at age 94 in 1958.

(Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives)


COLONEL HERBERT J. BREES – 16 September 1923 to 10 June 1925.


Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives.

Herbert J. Brees assumed command of the 11th Cavalry in 1923. During his tenure the regiment helped civil authorities fight a disastrous oil tank fire near the post that resulted in the loss of several soldiers, including Private Bolio, after whom a street was later named. He left the Presidio of Monterey in 1925.

Brees later became commandant of the Command and General Staff School (1935-36) and before World War II rose to Lt. General and served as commanding general of the Third Army, June 30, 1941.

General Brees to Retire: Lt. General Herbert J. Brees, USA will be retired on 30 June when he will reach the statutory retirement age. Genera Brees until recently was commander of the Third Army and is now on an inspection trip in the Panama Canal Zone. His military career dates back to 1898 when he was appointed a first lieutenant in the 2nd United States Volunteer Cavalry. General Brees has been elected President of the National Bank of Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, to take effect 1 July 1941. He also has been appointed by the governor of Texas on the Board of Directors of the Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College at College Station, Texas.

During World War One he served as Chief of Staff of the 91st Division in France, and as Chief of Staff of the VII Army Corps, A.E.F., and American Forces in Germany, during part of which time he also was Acting Commander of the VII Army Corps.

A native of Wyoming, General Brees was graduated at the University of Wyoming and after serving a short time in the Volunteer Cavalry was appointed as a second lieutenant in the Regular Army. His rise in military ranks was rapid and he was placed in command of Indian Scouts less that a year later. In 1900 he served in the Philippines and the following year was transferred to the Cavalry at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He attended the General Service and Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he was an honor graduate.

Until the entry of the United States into the First World War he served in a number of stations in the United States and had two tours of duty in the Philippines. After returning to the United States in 1919 he served as instructor at Army Service Schools, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; director of the School of the Line; director of the Command and General Staff School; commander of the 11th Cavalry; Corps Area Inspector, Ninth Corps Area; assistant commandant of the Army War College, and commander of the 13th Field Artillery Brigade Post and 87th Division Organized Reserves at Fort Bragg, N.C.

He continued to advance rapidly and after additional duty in the Philippines and as commandant, Command and General Staff School, he became Commanding General of the Eighth Corps Area in 1936. In 1940 he was assigned to the command of the Third Army with headquarters in San Antonio, Texas.

(Source: Army and Navy Journal, 28 Jun 1941 and DLIFLC & POM Archives)


COLONEL LEON B. KROMER – 9 September 1925 to 2 August 1928.


Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives.

Leon B. Kromer was born in 1876 and attended the U.S. Military Academy, where he was captain and quarterback of the football team. He graduated in 1899 and fought in the Philippines Insurrection (1899) and served in the Occupation of Cuba (1899-1900). He accompanied General Pershing on the Punitive Expedition into Mexico (1916-17) and with the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I (1917-19).

In 1925 Lear assumed of the 11th Cavalry. His son later recalled that while regiment commander “he rode every day and insisted that all his officers do the same, “declaring, they were in the cavalry weren’t they?”

Lear left Monterey in 1928 to become assistant commandant of the Army War College. In 1934 Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur selected Kromer to be Chief of Cavalry with the rank of major general. He retired to Vermont in 1938. In 1941 he became Commandant of Cadets at Norwich University. Two of his sons also graduated from the Military Academy, one of who fell in the Battle of the Bugle. Kromer died at age 90 in 1966.

(Source: Assembly, spring 1967, Volume XXVI No. 1, and DLIFLC & POM Archives)


MAJOR GENERAL LEON B. KROMER
As the Journal goes to press, the announcement is made that the President’s nomination of Colonel Leon B. Kromer, Cavalry, to be Chief of Cavalry has been confirmed.

General Kromer was born in Michigan, June 25, 1876. Upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in February 1899, he was assigned to the 10th Cavalry. He was promoted First Lieutenant, 11th Cavalry, February 2, 1901, and Captain, 10th Cavalry August 2, 1905. He had varied regimental service in Texas, Cuba, the Philippine Islands, Iowa and Nebraska, and details as a tactical officers and instructor in Mathematics at the Military Academy and served a detail in the Quartermaster Corps during which, for a time, he was in-charge of the Remount Depot at Fort Reno, Oklahoma.

When General Wood, as Chief of Staff, instituted an experiment to see to what degree of efficiency units composed of recruits, except for non-commissioned officers and specialists, could be brought in one year of intensive training, Captain Kromer’s troop carried out the test for the Cavalry.

He went into Mexico in 1916 as Quartmaster of the 11th Cavalry and later became Quartermaster of the expedition.

Promoted to Major of Cavalry, May 5, 1917, he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel in the National Army, August 5, 1917, and went to France as Division Quartermaster, 82nd Division. He was graduated from the Army General Staff College at Langres.

He was promoted Colonel, U.S.A., July 30, 1918. His service with the A.E.F. are best stated in his citation for the Distinguished Service Medal, which reads as follows:

“For exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services. As Assistant Chief of Staff of the 82nd Division during the St. Mihiel offensive, he displayed military attainments of a high order in the planning of operations of great moment. Later, as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, 1st Corps, and Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1, 1st Army during the Meuse-Argonne operations, his initiative sound judgment, and tireless energy solved difficult problems of traffic control and regulation, playing an important part in the successes achieved.”

Besides the award above mentioned, General Kromer is Officer of the French Legion of Honor and was awarded the British Distinguished Service Order.

After the dissolution of the 1st Army staff in April 1919, he served as G-1, Headquarters Base Section No. 9, S.O.S., with Headquarters S.O.S., and as Chief of Graves Registration Service, American Forces in France.

Returning from France in January 1920, General Kromer was Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, Southern Department, Fort San Houston, Texas, February 3rd to June 30, 1920, and Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1, Headquarters 8th Corps Area, to June 22, 1922.

His next assignment was to the War Department General Staff, G-3 Division, September 18, 1922, to June 30, 1924. He graduated from the Army War College in 1925.

From September 9, 1925 to August 2, 1928, he commanded the 11th Cavalry and Post of the Presidio of Monterey, California. From there he went to the Army War College as instructor, later becoming Assistant Commandant. His last assignment before his appointment as Chief of Cavalry was a Deputy Chief of Staff, First Army, Governors Island, New York.

(Source: The Cavalry Journal, March-April, no year mentioned, and DLIFLC & POM Archives)


COLONEL LEON B KROMER, PRESIDIO MONTEREY, COMMANDING
In the re-organization of 1921, the Seventeenth Cavalry became the inactive associate of the Eleventh Cavalry, and on September 25th of that year this regiment arrived from Hawaiian Islands. The following day many of the officers and all of the enlisted men were transferred to the Eleventh Cavalry.

A noteworthy performance was made in October 1922, by the First Squadron, Major Clark P. Chandler, commanding. On a return march from Hoss Field, California, the command covered the seventy-four miles from San Lucas to the Post in twenty-nine hours, men and animals arriving in excellent condition.

An unusual performance was the work of the Eleventh Cavalry, and other units of this Post, in fighting the fire, which destroyed the oil tanks and plant of the Associated Oil Company, on September 14, 15 and 16, 1924. The burning oil endangered the City of Monterey but the dykes constructed by the Post personnel saved the city. During these days the troops worked day and night. Two members of the garrison were burned ot death. The citizens of Monterey were most appreciative of the help given them by the officers and the men of the Post.

In 1925 all organizations of this regiment competed in the Cavalry Pistol Team Competition, National Rifle Association, which was won by the team-representing Troop “F”, Capt. Lawrence Pattison, commanding. Gold medals were awarded to this team by the National Rifle Association, and presented to them at the regimental parade, April 1, 1926.

Upon the assignment of Colonel H. J. Brees, as Assistant Commandant, General Service Schools, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in June 1925, Colonel Leon B. Kromer was designated to command the regiment.

At this Post the climate permits training every day in the year, and the presence of the 2nd Battalion of the 76th Field Artillery, in the Post, the availability at any time of airplanes from Crissy Field, afford unusual opportunities for combined training, which have been taken advantage of.

In sports, especial interest is taken in mounted field meets, horse shows, mounted competitions and polio.

As indication of some of the recent activities along these lines the following maybe of interest: Each year a horse show is given by the garrison, in conjunction with the Del Monte Hotel. This year, with Major Sloan Doak, 11th Cavalry, in charge, it took place on February 22, 1926, during the Pacific Coast Polo Tournament, with representative entries from San Francisco, on the north, to Los Angeles, on the south. The Del Monte Hotel furnished all trophies, and the proceeds were devoted to the Army Relief Society. Representatives of the regiment have participated in the Thirtieth Infantry Horse Show at San Francisco each year it has been held. Major Doak, Capt. Craig, Lts. Winchester and Devine, have been particularly successful in winning honors at these shows.

At the conclusion of the mounted pistol practice, a troop competition was held on February 26, 1926. Troop commanders were permitted to choose any form of demonstration of mounted pistol fire. Troop “G,” Capt. John L. Rice, commanding, won first prize, a suitable cup.

The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corporation presented to this regiment two beautiful cups, the “Big Parade” trophy and the “Ben Hur” trophy. The “Big Parade” trophy was competed for December 28-30, 1925, open to all enlisted men in this regiment. A committee of all the first sergeants of this drew up the plans for this competition. The course started at the three hundred yard firing point, competitors mounted at the signal, rode at any gait to the two hundred firing point, dismounted, tied their horses on a ground picket line, took there rifles and fired five shots at their own target. After competitors finished firing five shots they returned to their horses, mounted and rode over a number of obstacles to the pistol range where they fired seven shots at their own targets, either mounted or dismounted, then mounted, drew saber, and ran through the saber course to the finishing point. The time limit was fifteen minutes; time and scores to count for place. First place and trophy was won by Sergeant John J. Clark, Troop “E”; second, by Private Folque M. Agnew, Troop “C.”

All the officers of this regiment competed for the Ben Hur trophy, December 24, 1925, over a course six miles long, with fifteen obstacles, including slides, ditches, banks, water, a stone wall and log jumps; time limit fifty minutes. At the finish of the course each competitor took a strange rifle, and fired five shots a an A target, at three hundred yards, from the sitting position. Time limit one minute. First place and trophy was won by Major Sloan Doak; Captains D. C. Hawley and R. E. Craig tied for second place.

Polo is played twice weekly on the Del Monte Polo Field, except immediately prior to tournaments. Last December the old grandstand was torn down, and the practice field extended, so that it is now possible to get some play at all times. There are two or three tournaments held each year, in which several teams from the regiment compete. In August 1925, tournament a regimental team composed of Major Sloan Doak, Captain R. C. Gibbs and Lts. Devine and Read, won in the finals in the last twenty seconds from another regimental team composed of Captains Craig and Waldron and Lts. Conlon and Lipman.

The regimental team composed of Captain Craig at number 1, Lieut. Read at number 2, Captain Gibbs at number 3, and Major Erwin at number 4, with Lieut. Lipman at substitute, won the Pacific Coast Circuit Championship, on March 13, 1926, at the Midwick Country Club, defeating two San Mateo teams, one of which had previously defeated the Midwick team. This success entitled the team to compete in the inter-circuit tournament at Narragansett Pier next August, for the National Twelve-goal Championship.

The constant aim of the regiment is the maintenance of its traditional efficiency as a cavalry organization so well expressed by the motto of the Cavalry School – “Mobilitate Vigemus.”

(Source: THE RASP, pages 160, 161, and 162, no date. DLIFLC & POM Archives)


COLONEL ROGER S. FITCH – 8 October 1928 to 11 October 1930.


Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives.

RETIREMENT ENDS A GREAT ARMY CAREER A brilliant military career ends Sept. 30, 1943, Col. Roger S. Fitch, Post Commander of Fort Ord, draws the curtain on 35 years of service to his country as a soldier in the United States Army.

The only officer on the active list of the U.S. Army to have served in the Spanish-American War and in every war since that date, Col. Fitch leaves a record of patriotism and devotion to duty seldom equaled in military annals.

Col. Fitch began his military career in May 1898, when he traveled from New York to San Antonio, Texas, to join Teddy Roosevelt’s famed “Rough Riders” as a private. He was assigned to Troop “G” of that regiment, accompanied it to Cuba and took part in all the engagements participated in by that unit. Upon recommendation of Col. Roosevelt he was appointed a second lieutenant of Cavalry in the Regular Army on June 1st, 1899 and assigned to the First Cavalry. With this regiment he took part in the Philippine Insurrection, seeing action in the Malvar Campaign and in the first and second Loboo Expeditions. While there he was promoted to first lieutenant, with rank from Feb. 2, 1901. Said the redoubtable Teddy: “He (Col. Fitch) was with me personally both at Guasimas and San Juan. He showed cool daring, resolution, initiative – in short every soldierly quality; excellent alike in battle, in camp and on the march.

Col. Fitch’s subsequent tours of duty included two more trips to the Philippines, the latter two interrupted by a year and six months’ service on the Mexican border. He was a captain by now and Aide-de-Camp on the staff of General Thomas H. Barry.

Following a visit to Korea and Japan, Col. Fitch returned to the United States in May of 1916 and took up his station in Chicago as a member of Headquarters Staff. He was appointed to the General Staff and promoted to the grade of major.

August 5, 1917, he was promoted to the grade of Lieutenant Colonel and assigned to duty as Chief of Staff of the 86th Division. He served with this unit in France in the Argonne-Meuse Offensive, where his services were rewarded with the Distinguished Service Medal. He was promoted to the grade of Colonel on August 13, 1918.

After 10 years of further service on various military missions, Col. Fitch assumed command of the famed 11th Cavalry at the Presidio of Monterey, California, and at the completion of his two-year tour of duty there retired in October 1930.

On the occasion of his retirement at that time General Douglas MacArthur announced: “the Army’s loss is Monterey’s gain!” And now, almost thirteen years later, Col. Fitch again retires from the Army, and this time another General Officer, Major General Kenyon A. Joyce, commanding the Ninth Service Command, had this to say: “ I regret your departure and wish for you all contentment in your well-earned service from the trying grind of the war effort.” Although regretful that he will soon leave active duty, Col. Fitch, in announcing his retirement said that he looked forward to the life he loves best…that of “a plain, everyday citizen of Monterey.

War clouds threatened again, ten years later and at his own request Col. Fitch was placed on active duty and assigned to the new Fort Ord in October 1940. On Feb. 6, 1941, Col. Fitch was named Post Commander.

A listing of the accomplishments of Col. Fitch during his tenure of duty here would take several pages of the Fort Ord Panorama Newspaper. When he arrived, Fort Ord had the appearance of any hastily thrown up military establishment. A few scattered barracks surrounded by acres of wind-blown tents, a veritable hell-hole – described by soldiers, characteristically enough, as “the only place on earth where a man could stand knee deep in mud and get dust in his eyes.”

The East Garrison (Camp Ord), dubbed “Tent City” (and a lot of other things better left unsaid here) housed most of the troops, which had come to form the nucleus of General Stilwell’s 7th Division. The task of getting these men, and the thousands to follow, into barracks, was one, which called for the utmost in organizational and executive ability. That task fell to Col. Fetch, and before long the scrub-infested sand dunes began to sprout with barracks, recreational halls, administration buildings and a few hospital buildings which later were to bloom into one of the finest Station Hospitals in any Army camp.

With both foresight and hindsight, Col. Fitch and his staff of engineers, having gained a toe-hold on the problem, settled down to the job of building Fort Ord into one of the finest camps in the nation. Perhaps only those who were stationed here in those early days can fully appreciate Fort Ord as it stands today, a Post with facilities for every type of warfare training and with recreational establishments unmatched anywhere. For, despite the necessary haste, the comfort of the fighting man in his off-duty hours was not ignored, and today the Post is dotted with Post Exchanges, Recreation Halls and Service Clubs. Domestic needs of the soldier are fulfilled to a large extent through the operation of the huge Quartermaster Laundry and the Post Tailor shop, as well as salvage and supply units.

With most of his job accomplished, Col. Fitch next turned to the job of beautifying that, which had been built. As a complete result of all these accomplishments, Fort Ord today stands ready as a permanent military establishment and as a memorial to the untiring efforts of a man who has performed his duties in the best tradition of the Army.

Of Col. Roger S. Fitch, it can truly be said: Well done, good and faithful servant.” To him, Hail and Farewell.

(Source: Fort Ord Panorama, Sept. 24, 1943 and DLIFLC & POM Archives)


COLONEL ROGER FITCH ATTENDS 50TH REUNION OF FAMOUS ROUGH RIDERS
By Dick Smith

Monterey Peninsula Herald
June 24, 1948

PRESCOTT, Ariz., June 24. (U.P.)
The thinning ranks of Teddy Roosevelt’s immortal Rough Riders converged here from across the nation today for the 50th – and perhaps last – anniversary of their formation as the first U.S. voluntary cavalry of the Spanish-American War.

Only 107 members remain of the group, which swarmed San Juan Hill in Cuba. About half that number was expected here for the three-day celebration starting today.

The gathering will not be without prominent figures, however. Charles Heitman, chairman of the board of the Christian Science Monitor, said he will be flying here. Also attending is a New York contingent of Kenneth D. Robertson, cousin of Theodore Roosevelt; Henry W. Bull, Douglas Campbell, Edwin Emerson, Francis B. Crowninshield, Arthur F. Cosby and Sumner H. Girard.

Others arriving include David M. Goodrich, New York, president of the Rough Riders Association; Robert W. Denny, Whittier, California, association secretary; former U.S.

Diplomats Hoffman Philip and Henry P. Fletcher and Col. Roger S. Fitch, Monterey, California, veteran of three wars.

(Colonel Roger S. Fitch, long time president of the Monterey History and Art Association, served with Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, fought again in World War I and came out of retirement to assume command of Fort Ord during World War II. At one time Colonel Fitch commanded the 11th Cavalry at Monterey Presidio, of which he was commandant, and at which time he fell in love with the Monterey Peninsula and decided to make his permanent home after retirement. The Colonel and Mrs. Fitch reside on the Monterey Mesa).

Highlights of the reunion will be a tribute to Mrs. Pauline O’Neil, 83, Hollywood, widow of Buck O’Neil, who won such fame as a Rough Rider that his statue stands on the Prescott courthouse plaza.

Mrs. Alice Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of the Rough Rider commander, also is invited.

Prescott was the focal point in the recruiting of the Rough Riders in 1897. Returning here, the veterans will spin their yarns and defend their leader against such tales as the political canard that Roosevelt really didn’t capture San Juan but arrived after the battle to pose for his picture, broad-brimmed hat in hand.

The group also will remember another of its leaders, Major General Leonard Wood, second in command to Roosevelt, who narrowly missed the Republican presidential nomination in 1920 when Warren G. Harding emerged as the unexpected nominee.

Note: there was another fine article in the July 13, 1948, Monterey Peninsula Herald that covered the reunion and went in-depth Colonel Fitch’s time with the Rough Riders.

(Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives)


COLONEL FITCH FORMER ROUGH RIDER PASSES AWAY
September 22, 1955

The man who originated Monterey’s Path of History died yesterday. Rough Rider, commander of the Presidio of Monterey and Fort Ord, extraordinary civic leader, Col. Roger Stanley Fitch died after a lengthy illness. He was 78. Decorated veteran of three wars, he was one of the Monterey Peninsula’s most distinguishing citizens. He was president of the Monterey History and Art Association for 15 years and a charter member of the Monterey Foundation.

Col. Fitch was a tall, straight man with piecing blue-steel eyes. He was dynamic, full of creative energy. It was his plan and his drive that created the world-famed Path of History in 1931. With the assistance of the late Laura Bride Powers, curator of the Custom House, and under the auspices of the Monterey History and Art Association, Col. Fitch blazed the orange historic route to local landmarks. Their markers have told the history of Monterey to millions.

Col. Fitch not only showed the way to Monterey’s historic buildings, but he helped preserve them for posterity. He was also interested in El Estero Park and served on the City Park Commission. This park remains unique because of his energetic work.

He was a cavalryman. Teddy Roosevelt wrote that Col. Fitch “Was with me personally both at Las Guasimas and San Juan; showed cool daring, resolution, initiative – in short every soldierly quality; excellent alike in battle, in camp and on the march.”

His service, as a private, with the immortal Rough Riders in the Santiago Campaign of the Spanish American War started his colorful military career. He entered World War I as a captain of cavalry, holding the temporary grade of colonel in France and becoming a permanent colonel of cavalry in 1926. He was Chief of Staff of the 86th Division during World War I. While on that duty he served in 1917 as an observer with the British Army in Flanders and with the French Army near Verdun. In 1918, as Assistant Chief of Staff, 89th Division, he was at the Argonne. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his exceptionally meritorious service during that war. During the 1920’s he served on the staff of the Ninth Corps Area headquartered at San Francisco Presidio.

In 1928 he was assigned to the command of the 11th Cavalry at the Presidio of Monterey. After completion of his two years tour of duty at the Presidio, he retired on Oct. 31, 1930, after more than 30 years of service, making Monterey his home. He had a great deal to do with the establishment of Fort Ord. While at the Presidio he was one of the first to recognize the value of what is now Fort Ord as a military reservation. A visiting dignitary never escaped a trip to what was then the Gigling Reservation.

After Pearl Harbor he was called back to duty as commander of the 30,000-man cantonment at Fort Ord. His final retirement came Sept. 30, 1943.

Born in Buffalo, New York, July 31, 1877, he married Ella Laura Hill of Norfolk, Conn., in 1910. He is survived by his widow, who resides at the family home on the Monterey Mesa; a sister, Mrs. Frances Fitch Bladwin of Belfair, Wash., and the following nephews: Eben Whittlsey of Carmel; Granville Whittlsey Jr. and Julian Whittlsey, both of New York.

He was a member of the Rough Riders of the Spanish American War, the Bohemian Club of San Francisco, the Family Club of San Francisco as well as the Monterey History and Art Association and the Monterey Foundation.

He was a friend of many of the country’s most ardent sportsmen. He was known as a excellent shot and an outstanding dry fly fisherman. In fact, he had the reputation of being one of the greatest fly fishermen in America. He would set forth with his wife on many expeditions in an old air-cooled Franklin automobile that was equipped for almost any kind of safari.

Funeral services will be held Saturday at noon at the Dorney and Farlinger Memorial Chapel. An Army chaplain will officiate. Private inurnment will follow at Little Chapel by-the-sea in Pacific Grove. Those wishing to honor the memory of Col. Fitch have been invited to contribute to the History and Art Assn., 336 Pacific St., Monterey.


COLONEL BEN LEAR – 3 January 1931 to 30 June 1933.


Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives.

Ben Lear was born in 1879. He enlisted at the start of the Spanish-American War in 1898 and fought in the Philippine Insurrection (1898-99). In 1899 he won a commission in the volunteer infantry and in 1901 a Regular Army commission in the cavalry. He served in a variety of staff, line, and school assignments during a distinguished career, competing with the U.S. rifle team in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden.

Lear assumed command of the 11th Cavalry in 1931 in the depths of the Great Depression and served until 1933. From 1936 to 1938 he commanded the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Bliss, Texas. He was instrumental in preparing the Army for victory in World War II as commanding general of the Second Army (1940-43). For example, in 1941 the Second Army was the Red Force for the famous Louisiana Maneuvers. As a lieutenant general, Lear was also one of the Army’s most senior officers. In 1944 he took command of Army Ground Forces and from January to July 1945 was General Eisenhower’s deputy commander in Europe.

(Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives)


BEN LEAR MILITARY HISTORY
He was born in Hamilton, Canada, on May 12, 1879. He enlisted in the 1st Colorado Infantry Volunteers and served as sergeant in Company “C” from May1, 1898 to March 31, 1899, during the Spanish-American war.

He was commissioned a second lieutenant, 1st Colorado Infantry Volunteers, on April 1, 1899; and first lieutenant on July 5, 1899. During his service in the Volunteer Infantry he served in the Philippine Islands, where he participated in the following engagements during the Spanish-American war and the Philippine Insurrection: capture of Manila on August 13, 1898; at Mariquina on March 31, 1899; at Guadaloupe Hill on June 7, 1899; at Bacolor and San Antonio on August 9, 1899; at Orac on September 28, October 17, and November 2, 1899; at Floridablanca on October 9, 1899; at Mabalacot on November 8, 1899; and at Banbon on November 11, 1899. He was mustered out of the service on June 11, 1901; and was commissioned a second lieutenant of Cavalry in the Regular Army on February 2, 1901.

He was promoted to first lieutenant on December 9, 1901; to captain on August 10, 1912; to major (temporary) on August 5, 1917, to lieutenant colonel (temporary) on January 26,1918; and to colonel (temporary) on August 31, 1918. He reverted to his permanent rank of captain on September 25, 1919; and was promoted to lieutenant colonel on July 1, 1920; to colonel on September 19, 1929; to brigadier general on May 1, 1935; to major general on October 1, 1938; to lieutenant general on October 1, 1940, by virtue of his command of the Second Army. On May 20, 1943, he was made a lieutenant general (temporary) to rank from October 1, 1940.

His first service in the Regular Army was in the Philippine Islands where he served with the 15th Cavalry at Davao until April 17, 1903, participating in the engagement at Bacalod, Mindanao, on April 8, 1903. He returned to the United States on May 20, 1903, and was stationed at Fort Mason, California, where he served in various capacities until November 20, 1903, when he rejoined the 15th Cavalry, which was stationed at San Francisco, California. He accompanied his regiment to Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont, in December 1903, remaining at that post until July 12, 1906, when together with his regiment, he was transferred to the Camp of Instructions at Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania, where he served until September 27, 1906.

He sailed to Cuba in October 1906, and upon his arrival there was stationed at Santa Clara to November 8, 1906; and at Cienfuegos, to July 21, 1908. He returned to the United States and competed in the Rifle and Pistol Competition at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, from August 4 to 13, 1908. He returned to Havana, Cuba, on September 5, 1908, and rejoined the 15th Cavalry at Cienfuegos, where he served until February 5, 1909. He returned to the United States with his regiment, and was stationed at Fort Myer, Virginia, to June 4, 1909, when he was transferred to Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont, in connection with the selection of the Army Cavalry Team in the National Matches, where he remained until July 17, 1909. He then competed in the Atlantic Rifle Competition at Fort Niagara, New York, until July 26, 1909, and served at Boston, Massachusetts, in connection with the field exercises of the National Guard from August 11 to 22, 1909. He rejoined the 15th Cavalry at Fort Myer on August 23, 1909, where he was stationed until June 3, 1910. He served with the Cavalry Rifle Team at Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont; Camp Perry, Ohio; and Sea Girt, New Jersey, to September 7, 1910.

After attending the Mounted Service School at Fort Riley, Kansas, until June 30, 1911, he was in charge of Training School for Farriers and Horseshoers there to June 7, 1912. Upon his return to the United States he attended the second year class at the Mounted Service School at Fort Riley, Kansas, to December 15, 1912. He served at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, with the 15th Cavalry to November 10, 1913, part of which time he was with Troop “1”, 15th Cavalry, at Camp of Instruction, Winchester, Pennsylvania.

He was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, to December 11, 1913; at Presidio, Texas, on border patrol duty to August 5, 1914; at Fort Bliss, Texas, to January 3, 1915; and at Fort Hancock, Texas, to June 15, 1915.

He rejoined the 15th Cavalry at Fort Bliss, Texas, serving at that post until August 3, 1915, when he was placed on detached service for duty with the Panama-Pacific Exposition at San Francisco, California, where he remained until October 22, 1915. He was then transferred to the 8th Cavalry and stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, to January 15, 1916. He accompanied his regiment to Fort Hancock, Texas, remaining there until March 13, 1916, when he was ordered to Ysleta, Texas, in connection with purchasing horses for the Cavalry and Artillery. Upon completion of this duty on April 22, 1916, he attended the Army Service School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to October 4, 1917, and then served with the War Department General Staff at Washington, D.C., to September 6, 1918.

He was instructor, Cavalry Training Camp, Camp Stanley, Texas, to December 12, 1918, and inspector-instructor, Texas National Guard, Austin, Texas, to January 15, 1919. He was Acting Commandant, Mounted Service School, Fort Riley, Kansas, to July7, 1919, and Director, Department of Horsemanship, at the Cavalry School there until August 19, 1921. He then attended the School of the Line at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and after graduation on June 20, 1922, served at Camp Lewis, Washington, until July 25, 1922. He returned to Fort Leavenworth, and attended the General Staff School from which he was graduated on June 17, 1923. He served at Camp Knox, Kentucky, to July 24, 1923, and as instructor, the General Service Schools, until June 29, 1925. He attended the Army War College in Washington, D.C., until June 30, 1926, and after graduation assumed command of the 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry, at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, where he remained until October 17, 1927.

He was Chief, Inspection Division in the Inspector General’s Office, at Washington, D.C., until November 10, 1930. He then commanded the Presidio of Monterey, California, to June 30, 1933, and was Inspector, Headquarters Ninth Corps Area, at the Presidio of San Francisco, California, to November 3, 1934. On November 4, 1934, he became Chief of Staff, Headquarters Ninth Corps Area, in which capacity he served until June 24, 1936. On July 2, 1936, he assumed command of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Bliss, Texas. He sailed on November 29, 1938, for the Panama Canal Zone, where he assumed command of the Pacific Sector at Balboa.

On October 1, 1940, he was assigned to command the Second Army. In April 1943 he was ordered to Washington D.C., to take temporary command of the Army Ground Forces, and in June 1943 was assigned to the Army Group, Washington D.C., for duty with the Secretary of War’s Personnel Board. He was relieved from the Army Group in October 1943, but remained in the same assignment with the Personnel Board, serving there until July 1944, when he became Commanding General, Headquarters, Army Ground Forces, Washington, D.C. In January 1945 he was announced as Deputy Commander U.S. Army Forces in the European Theater of Operations. In July 1945 he returned to the United States pending reassignment.

Decorations: In April 1943 he received the Distinguished Service Medal with the following citation:

“Lieutenant General Ben Lear, United States Army. For exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service in the position of great responsibility as Commanding General, Second Army, from October 1, 1940 to April 1, 1943. To his excellent judgment, forceful leadership, untiring efforts, and high professional attainments are largely due the success and efficiency of the Second Army.”

He has been awarded the Silver Star, and Swedish Medal commemorating the V Olympiad at Stockholm, which was conferred on him by the King of Sweden.


COLONEL RALPH M. PARKER – 30 June 1933 to 5 February 1936.


Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives.

Ralph M. Parker was born in 1879. He enlisted in 1899 during the Spanish-American War and accepting a commission in the 11th Cavalry in 1901. He served in the Philippine Insurrection (1902-04) and later in a variety of staff, line and school assignments. While serving in Washington on the War Department General Staff from 1929 to 1933 he earned a Master of Science degree from Norwich University.

Parker commanded the 11th Cavalry from 1933 to 1936. During his tenure the regiment established and supervised several Civil Conservation Corps camps in the Central Coast area. He retired in 1944.

(Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives)



11th Cavalry: Colonel Ralph M. Parker shaking hands with Sgt. Lenke’s retirement in 1934 at the Presidio of Monterey, Ca.

RALPH M. PARKER MILITARY HISTORY
Colonel Parker was born in Georgetown, South Carolina, on August 19, 1879. He was graduated from Porter Military Academy, South Carolina, in 1898. He enlisted in the Regular Army as a private of the 5th Cavalry on July 1, 1899, and served as a private and corporal until April 25, 1901, when he accepted a commission in the Regular Army as a second lieutenant of Cavalry.

Colonel Parker was promoted to first lieutenant on July 30, 1908; to captain on July 1, 1916; to major (temporary) on August 5, 1917; to lieutenant colonel (temporary) on July 30, 1918; and to colonel (temporary) on November 5, 1918. He reverted to his permanent rank of captain on June 30, 1920, and was promoted to major on July 1, 1920; to lieutenant colonel on May 9, 1921; and to colonel on October 24, 1932.

Colonel Parker’s first service was in Puerto Rico. As a commissioned officer he joined the 11th Cavalry at Fort Myer, Virginia, in April 1901, and later that year was transferred with this regiment to Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont. In February 1902, he sailed for the Philippine Islands, and served in the campaign, which ended in the capture of Malvar, in Lobo Peninsula, P.I., in April 1902. A few months later he accompanied an expedition mapping trails to the crater of Mt. Barahao. He also served against insurgents in three provinces in the spring of 1904. With his regiment he went to Cuba in October 1906, and was stationed at Camp Columbia until April 1909, when he returned to the United States with the 5th Cavalry for duty at Fort Yellowstone, Wyoming, until October 1910. He then was ordered to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

Colonel Parker was Professor of Military Science and Tactics at Norwich University, Northfield, Vermont, between June 1913, and August 1916. He then was assigned as a training camp instructor at Plattsburg Barracks, New York, and in October 1916, was transferred to headquarters of the Eastern Department in charge of civilian instruction. He went to Fort Oglethorpe, George, as an instructor between May 5, 1917, and August 25, 1917.

Colonel Parker then was assigned to the 311th Infantry at Camp Dix, New Jersey, until March 5, 1918, and on the following day was transferred to the 312th Infantry in command of a squadron at Fort Myer, Virginia. He was Inspector General at Camp Funston, Kansas, between August 7 and 27, 1918, and Inspector of the 10th Division at that post from that date until June 30, 1921.

Colonel Parker was Professor of Military Science and Tactics at the University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, for the following three years. After a three months tour at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, he enrolled in the Cavalry School, Fort Riley, Kansas, graduating from the advanced course in June 1925. A year later he completed the course at the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and returned to Fort Riley as an Instructor in the Cavalry School. In June 1927, he was assigned to the 9th Cavalry at that post.

Colonel Parker enrolled in the Army War College, Washington, D.C., in August 1928, and was graduated in June 1929. He then served on the War Department General Staff, Washington, D.C. While on this tour he was awarded the degree of Master of Science from Norwich, University, Vermont, in 1930. He completed his General Staff assignment in Washington on May 7, 1933.

Colonel Parker then went to the Presidio of Monterey, California, as Executive Officer, and on June 30, 1933 became Commanding Officer of that post. On July 1, 1936, he was assigned to duty with the Organized Reserves at Detroit, Michigan, as Commanding Officer of the Michigan Reserve District, and after December 1937, as Commander of the Michigan Military Area. He was assigned to the Panama Pacific General Depot, Corozal, Panama Canal Zone, on February 3, 1940.

WAR DEPARTMENT – Up to date as of June 9, 1941.

(Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives)



11th Cavalry: Colonel Ralph M. Parker retiring presentation to Sgt. Lenke (center). 1st Sergeant Lewis holding sterling silverware set.

MANEUVER MARCH OF 11TH CAVALRY (THE INDIANS)
By Colonel Ralph M. Parker
Commanding the 11th Cavalry, Presidio of Monterey, California

Note: 1934-36 Cavalry Journal? Also this article is not complete. It does cover Indian Camp.

An interesting maneuver which was recently conducted by the 11th Cavalry. Leaving the Presidio of Monterey on the morning of November 1st, the regiment marched via Spreckles to the vicinity of Chualar, a distance of approximately thirty miles. This was followed on the 2day, 3day, and 4th by marches varying from twenty-four to twenty-eight miles in length, camps being made for the night on the Arroyo Seco, west of Greenfield, Gamboa ranch nine miles west of King City and The Indians. The Indians is said to have derived its name from having been a favorite campsite for a group of Indians in years gone by. It lies at an elevation of about 2000 feet against the foot of a range averaging in height anywhere between five and six thousand feet. The purpose of the maneuver was to demonstrate the ability of cavalry to execute a pursuit mission through the most difficult section of the coastal range; the idea being that the horse units would leave behind them all wheeled units and proceed with supplies sufficient to last forty-eight hours. The only preparation for the march was the making up of tightly compressed rolls of hay wrapped in raincoats and strapped to the cantles of the saddles. Twelve pounds of grain and one cooked luncheon was carried on the saddles and two uncooked meals were carried in the kitchen packs. Shelter tents and extra blankets were loaded on trucks for return to the post. There was no heavy canvas all officers occupied shelter tents.

After a very cold night during which water four inches thick froze solid, a normal breakfast was provided and the march started at 6:45 a.m. The route had purposely not been reconnoitered but the services of a guide, Mr Leavitt of the U.S. Forestry Service was obtained. In the first two and one-half miles the column marched from an elevation of 2,000 feet to 5,800 feet. Fort the last three-quarters of a mile, the mountain side had to be scaled by a narrow, switch-back trail almost imperceptible before the column passed over it. From the high saddle, the trail descended in a very irregular manner skirting deep canyons and dropping down steep inclines into boulder-covered beds. It was expected that water would be found in the canyon of the Santa Lucia Creek but none was found there. The guide stated that it was the first time in his many years of service in that section that he ever found the place free of water. The trail, which shirted the tops of the canyons were in most places scarcely more than a bare foothold. All along were places where there was scarcely room for more than one foot at a time so that in order to minimize the danger. . . . (THE ARTICLE END HERE)

Note: There is a picture of painting the went with the article “11th Cavalry winding out of Barloy Canyon at a gallop with Colonel Ralph M. Parker and staff at the head. (Photograph of painting by Charles Bradford Hudson, of Pacific Grove, California). (Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives)


COLONEL TROUP MILLER – 19 February 1936 to 1 May 1938.


Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives.

Troup Miller was born in 1879 and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1902. He served two tours in the Philippines and served with the 82nd Division in World War I (1917-1919). After the war he served in a variety of assignments, including instructor duty at the Command and General Staff School and Army War College. His son, Troup Miller Jr., graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1930 and joined the Army Air Corps.

Miller assumed command of the 11th Cavalry in 1936 and served until 1938. During his tenure the regiment took part in the first major Army maneuvers on the West Coast since World War I, assisted in the making of “Sergeant Murphy,” a popular film starring Ronald Reagan, and participated in the parade celebrating the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge. He directed the preparation of a regimental photo album in 1938 (Presidio 1938 book).

During World War II Miller served as the Inspector General for the First Army and the Eastern Defense Command. He retired in 1945 as a brigadier general and died at age 77 in 1957. His son later rose to lieutenant general in the U.S. Air Force and commanded the Air University.

(Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives)


11th Cavalry: Group officers photo at Soldiers Field, Presidio of Monterey, Ca., 1937. Colonel Troup Miller in the center. DLIFLC & POM Archives

TROUP MILLER MILITARY HISTORY
He was born on February 19, 1879, in Perry, Georgia. He was graduated from the United States Military Academy and commissioned a second lieutenant of Cavalry on June 12, 1902.

He was promoted to first lieutenant on March 11, 1911; to captain on July 1, 1916; to major (temporary) on August 5, 1917; to lieutenant colonel (temporary) on July 30, 1918. On August 31, 1919, he reverted to his permanent rank of captain, and was promoted to major (permanent) on July 1, 1920; to lieutenant colonel on August 28, 1925; to colonel on August 24, 1934; to brigadier general (temporary) on February 2, 1943.

He served with the 7th Cavalry, Camp George H. Thomas, and Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, from October 1902 to April 1905. In May 1905 he went to Camp McGrath, Batangas, Philippine Islands. He was appointed Aide to Brigadier General Charles Morton in April 1907 at Camp McGrath. He returned to the United States in July 1907 and was assigned to duty at Fort D.A. Russell, Wyoming. In October 1907 he went to Headquarters, Department of Missouri, Omaha, Nebraska, until March 1916, when Brigadier General Charles Morton was retired. In May 1910 he joined the 7th Cavalry, Fort Riley, Kansas, and entered the Mounted Service School at Fort Riley, Kansas. He was graduated in July 1911.

He sailed with the 7th Cavalry to Fort McKinley, Philippine Islands; in September 1911, and returned to the United States in September 1914, where he joined the 3rd Cavalry, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He became Professor of Military Science and Tactics at Columbia Military Academy, Columbia, Tennessee, in December 1915, serving in the capacity until June 1917, when he joined the 23rd Cavalry at Chickamauga Park, Georgia. He then served brief tours of duty as Adjutant, 157th Depot Brigade, Camp Gordon, Georgia; Adjutant 82nd Division, Camp Gordon, Georgia; Liaison Officer, 82nd Division, Hoboken, New Jersey; Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1, 82nd Division, Camp Upton, New York, to May 1918, when he sailed with the American Expeditionary Force to France.

He entered the General Staff College, American Expeditionary Forces, in June 1918. Following his graduation in August he became Assistant Chief of Staff, G-1, I Army Corps, to February 1919; Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, I Army, to April 1919; Assistant Chief of Staff, Intermediate Section, Service of Supply, to July 1919. While serving with the American Expeditionary Forces, he participated in the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Offensives.

Returning to the United States in August 1919, he became an instructor at the General Service School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, until February 1921, when he was named Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence and Supply, 7th Division, Camp Meade, Maryland, from February to September 1921. He then became a Member, Supply Division, War Department General Staff, and was on duty in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff until August 1922, when he was designated Assistant to the Secretary War Department General Staff. He entered the Army War College, Washington D.C., to June 1930; commanding 1st Squadron, 6th Cavalry, Fort Oglethorpe, to January 1932. During this period he was graduated from the Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia.

He was on duty at the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, from January 1932 to February 1935, being Instructor and Director, Extension Course, to May 1933; Director Special Class and Extension Course, to June 1934, and Director, Second Class, to February 1936. He became Commanding Officer, 11th Cavalry and Post of Presidio of Monterey, California, from February 1936 to May 1938, being also Commander of the 3rd District, Civilian Conservation Corps, Presidio of Monterey, California, from May 1936 to June 1937.

In July 1938 he was designated Inspector General, Second Corps Area, Headquarters, Governors Island, New York, and in July 1940 also became Inspector General of the First Army. In July 1941 he was named Inspector General, Headquarters, Eastern Defense Command and First Army, Governors Island, New York.

He was relieved from active duty on September 29, 1945, and was retired on December 31, 1945. Decorations: He was awarded the Legion of Merit in October 1945, with the following citation:

“Brigadier General Troup Miller displayed exceptionally meritorious conduct in performing outstanding service as Inspector General, First Army, during the period of its organization, training and expansion from November 1940 to March 1942, and subsequently as Inspector General, Eastern Defense Command until September 1945. The unusual burden of complex and difficult investigations created by the organization and rapid development of the First Army was assumed by General Miller with deft application and discriminating judgment, resulting invariably in a lucid presentation of all matters investigated and sound recommendations which enabled the Commanding General to arrive at proper decisions in the minimum of time. The high standards set be him were continued throughout his later period of service on the staff of the Commanding General, Eastern Defense Command. At all times his soldierly bearing, wide experience and judicial approach to problems confronting his office invited the cooperation of those with whom he required to make contact. General Miller’s exceptional work was a material factor in the building up and efficient operation of the First Army and the Eastern Defense Command.”

War Department – Up to date as of 1 March 1946.

(Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives)


COLONEL HOMER N. GRONINGER – 28 June 1938 to 1 November 1940.


Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives.

Homer M. Groninger was born on July 24, 1884, at Port Royal, Pennsylania, and following graduation from the United States Military Academy was appointed a second lieutenant of Cavalry on February 14, 1908.

He was promoted to first lieutenant on December 10, 1914; to captain on May 15, 1917; to major (temporary) on November 29, 1917; to lieutenant colonel (temporary) on September 16, 1918. He reverted to his permanent rank of captain on March 15, 1920, and was promoted to major on July 1, 1920; to lieutenant colonel on March 10, 1932; to colonel on January 1, 1937; to brigadier general (temporary) on October 1, 1940; to major general (temporary) on August 2, 1942.

He first was assigned to the 5th Cavalry, serving at Fort Wingate, New Mexico, to January 1909; then to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, to January 1910. After completing a course at the School of Musketry, Monterey, California, he returned to Schofield Barracks and remained to January 1913. He then served at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, to October 1913. He served at Fort Myer, Virginia, to March 1916, when he joined the Punitive Expedition into Mexico to January 1917. He served the following three months at Camp Stewart, El Paso, Texas.

He was instructor at the Officers Training Camp, Plattsburg Barracks, New York, to November 1917 and at the Infantry School of Arms, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to June 1918. He served on the War Department General Staff in Washington, D.C., to September 26,1918, and in France with the General Staff of the American Expeditionary Forces to October 1918. He was Machine Gun Officer, 3rd Division, to December 18, 1918.

He then served with American Forces in Germany and on the General Staff, American Expeditionary Forces, to January 1919, when he returned to the United States for service on the War Department General Staff in Washington, D.C., to April 1919 and on the Small Arms and Machine Gun Board to June 1919. He served on the War Department General Staff, Washington Board to June 1919. He served on the War Department General Staff, Washington to July 1921 and in the Office, Chief of Cavalry, Washington, to January 1922.

He was graduated from the Cavalry School, Fort Riley, Kansas, in June 1922. He then entered the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, completing the course as a “Distinguished Graduate” in June 1923. Subsequently he served as instructor in Tactics at the Cavalry School from September 1923 to August 1925, then entered the Army War College in Washington, D.C., and was graduated on August 25,1926. He then was assigned to the faculty of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

He completed his tour at the United States Military Academy in July 1930 when he was transferred to the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as instructor. He served nearly five years in his capacity and on May 3, 1935, reported for duty at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as instructor of the 52nd Cavalry Brigade, National Guard.

He completed this assignment in June 1938 and became Commanding officer of the 11th Cavalry and Post at the Presidio of Monterey, California. On October 4, 1940, he was assigned to Command the Port of Embarkation, Brooklyn, New York, and in June 1945 moved to the West Coast to Command the San Francisco Port of Embarkation.

War Department – Up to date as of 30 July 1945.

Note: Colonel Groninger was involved in producing the 2-hour silent film “A Year on a Cavalry Post” when he was Commanding at the Presidio of Monterey. It is a must see film for those interested in the 11th Cavalry and the 76th Field Artillery when they were stationed at the Presidio. It can be purchased at the Presidio Museum and found online.

The Monterey Presidio Museum is operated by the City of Monterey. It is located outside the gates of the Presidio (now the Defense Language Institute) on the lower Presidio grounds. The museum covers the military history of the Presidio from the Spanish to the present day.

(Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives)


HOMER M. GRONINGER, MILITARY HISTORY
Commander, 11th Cavalry, 1938 to 1940

The commanding general of the San Francisco, Port of Embarkation, United States Army Transportation Corps which in turn is a unit of General Brehon Somervell’s Army Service Forces, is Major General Homer M. Groninger. The General, who was appointed to this post June of 1945, had previously spent four years and eight months building up the New York, Port of Embarkation (POE) to the biggest military port in the world – a huge organization operating round the clock, seven days a week, to procure, process, and transport the several millions of men and scores of millions of tons of war goods needed to supply the entire Atlantic theater of war – operating “with never a mistake and never a halt . . . ever improving and ever expanding . . . Yet, in the world’s greatest city, he conducts his operation so expertly and so secretly that few realized this tremendous port of war was running wide open before their very eyes.” In San Francisco after mid-summer of 1945 he commanded the transport of men through the Golden Gate as they sailed to and from scenes of Japan’s defeat.

Homer M. Groninger was born July 24, 1884, in Port Royal, Pennsylvania. The son of R. Elliott and Mary (McLaughlin) Groninger, he was brought up on his father’s farm. Young Homer, or “Cy,” as he is still known today to his boyhood friends, studied at Airview Academy in Port Royal in 1901-2. While at Pennsylvania State College (1903-4) where he was an ardent baseball player, Groninger read a newspaper account of a game between Army and Navy teams and immediately decided upon a career as an officer. “I chose the Army,” General Groninger says, “because I planned to marry some day, and a Navy man doesn’t see much of his wife and home.” He therefore asked his Congressman for and received an appointment to the United States Military Academy.

At West Point, from which he was graduated in 1908, cadet Groninger was captain of baseball team. A dashing polo player, he was commissioned a second lieutenant of Cavalry and assigned to the Fifth Cavalry at Fort Wingate, New Mexico. He accompanied his regiment to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, where he stayed for a few years, a period broken by a course at the School of Musketry at Monterey, California, in 1912. Then, in early 1913 came service to Fort Huachuca, Arizona. In September 1913 the twenty-nine year old was married to Gertrude Pomeroy from his hometown, who had gone to Sunday school with him. Not long afterward Groninger was sent to Fort Myer, Virginia; his first promotion came a year later. In March 1916 he joined Colonel Pershing’s Punitive expedition into Mexico against Poncho Villa, whose bandits had raided American territory, and subsequently Groninger put in three months at a camp in Texas.

In May 1917 the Pennsylvanian was advanced to captain and appointed instructor at Plattsburg (New York) Barracks Officers’ Training Camp. Near the end of November he was promoted to major (temporary) and sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to teach at the School of Arms, where he served until June 1918. Next, with the United States in the First World War, the thirty-three year old Groninger was transferred to the War Department General Staff in Washington, and in September 1918 he went overseas, wearing the silver oak leaves of a lieutenant colonel, to joined General Pershing’s A.E.F. staff. During the Meuse-Argonne offensive he served as machine gun officer of the Second (“Indian Head”) Division and from November to December in the Third Division, which won itself the nickname “The Rock of the Marne.” After the surrender of Germany Colonel Groninger remained on the General Staff of the Army of Occupation in Germany.

In January 1919 Groninger returned to Washington and the War Department General Staff, serving also on the Small Arms and Machine Gun Board. In March 1920 he reverted to the permanent rank of captain, and three months later was promoted to major. From July 1921 to January 1922 he worked in the Office of the Chief of Cavalry, after which he went to the Cavalry School, Fort Riley, Kansas, graduating in June 1922. Then he entered the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the second highest Army school. He had done some intermittent studying there from 1918 to 1922, and finished the course with distinction in 1923. In September the Major began a two-year tour of duty at the Cavalry School as instructor in tactics. After study at the Army War College in Washington, D.C., which gives the highest Army training, he was graduated in August 1926 and assigned to the faculty of West Point, where he spent four years.

Next came five years’ teaching at the Command and General Staff School, during which Groninger was promoted to lieutenant colonel. In May 1935 the Pennsylvanian reported to Harrisburg, in his home state, as instructor of the Fifty-second Cavalry Brigade, Pennsylvania National Guard.

In June 1938, as a colonel, Groninger was given a field command – the Eleventh Cavalry, stationed at the Presidio of Monterey – and in October 1940, when the Second World War was still in its European phase, the fifty-six year old cavalryman was made a brigadier general (temporary) and assigned to command the port of embarkation at Brooklyn, New York. He thus wore the stars of a general before such better-known leaders as Patton, Clark, Spaatz, and Eisenhower.

When General Groninger assumed command the New York POE consisted of one installation at the Brooklyn Army Base, and a “hand-ful” (about 2,500) of military and civilian employees. Shortly after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor he was able to dispatch to the South Pacific an emergency mission of some 33,500 troops. POE activities were shrouded in secrecy “except,” as one British naval commander put it, “for the two million New Yorkers who saw us from their office windows and kept quiet about it”; but it was later revealed that in four years Groninger built up his command to twenty times the number of men and women workers, handling the most extensive port of its kind in the world. It grew from one original installation to “a massive array” including seven major port terminals, shipping center scattered over a fifty-mile area in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Manhattan, and Queens, the New York Army Post Office, and three “staging areas” in New York and New Jersey, including the two largest in the world camps, Camp Kilmer and Shanks. Groninger’s command also included “a massive network of rail lines, highways, waterways, piers, ships, and storage facilities, all of them linked together so that operations could be maintained in the face of any possible catastrophe of nature or enemy action.” By September 1944 cargo tonnage handled had risen to sixty-two times the amount of September 1940, and passengers were multiplied by thirty-five.

In the First World War, to quote Representative James W. Wadsworth:

“Freight bottlenecks developed at New York. Freight cars crammed with precious material were backed up far inland, lying idle. Troops sent to New York for embarkation sometimes languished in the area for weeks until the shipping was available for their transport. In this war there have been not delays and no traffic bottlenecks, despite the far greater volume of movement. This marvelous record is a tribute to the Army Transportation Corps, the largest transportation agency in the world, which operates the New York port and all other ports of embarkation for the Army. The port was considered by its commanders to be in the first line of the war, as it filled the requisitions of theater commanders and maintained certain supplies at an automatic level, to make possible the Army boast of having the best-clothed, best-fed, and best-armed troops in the world. Perhaps the most dramatic filling of a requisition was in 1942, when a cargo ship was loaded with tanks and raced around the Cape of Good Hope and up the Red Sea to British Marshal Montgomery in time to help him smash German Marshal Rommel’s Afrika Korps at El Alamein. The men and materials remained officially under Groninger’s command, through transport skippers and cargo security officers, until delivery. Altogether, 63,411, 551 measurement tons of cargo were shipped from December 1941 through April 1945 to commanders in the entire Atlantic theater of operations; sending out bombers from bases in England; fighting in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland, Germany.

Ninety-one per cent of all American troops in the North African and European campaigns passed through the New York POE – a total of 3,080,355 individuals from December 1941 through April 1945. At the staging area they were housed while each soldier and all his equipment were thoroughly inspected, a routine involving checking of everything from teeth to watches, issuing of new equipment and an anti-gas outfit, and inoculations against diseases. These camps were also a huge school, with courses in subjects like abandoning ship, and a legal, business, and insurance office to handle personal problems for the outgoing troops. As part of General Groninger’s program to “send them to Eisenhower in better shape than when they came to us.” He established a unique school, soon dubbed “the GI Jam Session, “ at which about four successive groups a day were taught, in a one-hour session, how to entertain a GI audience in the inevitable waiting periods. According to Sergeant Robert Lieb’s description in Liberty, the idea was a brilliant success. “Boredom among our troops is nearly as damaging as bullets,” said the General, who emphasizes the importance of sports, “and if a soldier sticks a baseball glove or a football in his barracks-bag and smuggles it overseas, more power to him! We’ll never court-martial him for it.”

Despite the size of these operations, effective secrecy was maintained. For many months, in fact, Groninger was not allowed to tell where he was stationed; and it was not until June 1945, when the General was relieved of his New York command, that the facts were released. Groninger, who had been given a second star in August 1942, then exchanged jobs with Major General Clarence H. Kells, commanding general of the San Francisco POE, as the emphasis shifted from the Atlantic to the Pacific war. Before leaving, however, he arranged to have the Statue of Liberty re-lighted on nights when troop transports entered New York Harbor, so as not to disappoint veterans eager for a glimpse of the famous symbol. Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia presented Groninger with New York City’s certificate of distinguished service before he left to begin the task of staging the invasion of Japan. Before the lapse of two months, however, the tide had turned, and Japan’s surrender converted San Francisco almost entirely into a port of disembarkation.

Homer M. Groninger is described by the artist-correspondent S. J. Woolf as “a general who can swear like a trooper and pray like a chaplain, a man who can be as tough as a top sergeant and as tender as a women . . . a tall, broad-shouldered, heavy-set, balding man with light blue eyes in which a gleam of humor seems to lurk.” Others mention his “ready tongue and keen wit.” He has no taste for fiction or heavy drama, but likes to see an amusing movie every two or three months and to read history. The General has no preference in smoking – he likes cigars, cigarettes, and a pipe; he is still a baseball fan, although he own playing has been confined to softball for a number of years; and he likes to fish. He has never played bridge, and is saving that for a day when he retires to the farm where he was born. He still reads the Port Royal weekly newspaper, which arrives addressed to Lieutenant Groninger – in almost thirty years the General has not bothered to change his listing.

Note: Colonel Groninger was involved in producing the 2-hour silent film “A Year on a Cavalry Post” when he was Commanding at the Presidio of Monterey. It is a must see film for those interested in the 11th Cavalry and the 76th Field Artillery when they were stationed at the Presidio. It can be purchased at the Presidio Museum and found online.

The Monterey Presidio Museum is operated by the City of Monterey. It is located outside the gates of the Presidio (now the Defense Language Institute) on the lower Presidio grounds. The museum covers the military history of the Presidio from the Spanish to the present day.

(Source: DLIFLC & POM Archives)


Editors note: In the future we will try to complete missing areas of the commander's histories – Greg Krenzelok


Return to The 11th Cavalry Presidio of Monterey, 1919 to 1940 homepage:

11TH CAVALRY PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, 1919 TO 1940
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11th Cavalry Presidio of Monterey, 1919 to 1940


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76TH FIELD ARTILLERY REGIMENT PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, 1922 TO 1940
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76th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Battalion


FORT ORD U.S. ARMY STATION VETERINARY HOSPITAL (HORSE) WW2
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Fort Ord U.S. Army Station Veterinary Hospital (Horse) WW2


THE ARMY VETERINARY SERVICE DURING THE GREAT WAR, WW1
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The Army Veterinary Service During the Great War, WW1


SERGEANT LEONARD MURPHY VETERINARY HOSPITAL NO. 18, A.E.F., WW1
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Sergeant Leonard Murphy Veterinary Hospital No. 18, A.E.F., WW1





U.S. ARMY VETERINARY CORPS HISTORICAL PRESERVATION GROUP

Motto: “Illic est Vires in Numerus” There is Strength in Numbers

“Working Hard to Preserve Our Country’s History wherever it is being lost”

U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Historical Preservation Group is a group of individuals that are concerned about the preservation of the History of the Veterinary Corps, Remount Service and Cavalry or wherever our country’s history is being lost in conjunction with our beloved “Horse and Mule”. There is no cost to join and membership is for life. We believe by uniting together in numbers we will be a more powerful force to be heard. Our membership list is private and only used to contact our members. Email us and become a member.

Greg Krenzelok
gregkrenzelok@msn.com

FACEBOOK: U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Historical Preservation Group

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U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Historical Preservation Group