Clarence R. Huebner
|Clarence Ralph Huebner|
Clarence R. Huebner as a major general
November 24, 1888|
Bushton, Kansas, USA
|Died||September 23, 1972
Washington, DC, USA
|Place of burial||Arlington National Cemetery|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1910–1950|
|Commands held||V Corps
1st Infantry Division
|Awards||Distinguished Service Cross (2)
Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Legion of Merit
Purple Heart (2)
World War I
A farm boy from Bushton, Kansas, who spent almost seven years serving from private to sergeant in the 18th Infantry, Huebner received a regular commission in November 1916. During World War I, he led a company, battalion, and regiment of the 1st Infantry Division—the "Big Red One"—from the first American regimental assault at Cantigny through Soissons, Saint-Mihiel, and the Meuse-Argonne. For his service in this war, he received two Distinguished Service Crosses, a Distinguished Service Medal, and a Silver Star. In 1924, he attended the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth and served on its faculty from 1929 to 1933.
World War II
The Big Red One
In 1943, General Huebner relieved the popular commander of the 1st Infantry Division, General Terry Allen, in a move engineered by General Omar N. Bradley. While the 1st ID, aka The Big Red One had enjoyed considerable combat success under Allen's leadership, Bradley was highly critical of both Allen and Roosevelt's wartime leadership style, which favored fighting ability over drill and discipline: "While the Allies were parading decorously through Tunis," Bradley wrote, "Allen's brawling 1st Infantry Division was celebrating the Tunisian victory in a manner all its own. In towns from Tunisia all the way to Arzew, the division had left a trail of looted wine shops and outraged mayors. But it was in Oran...that the division really ran amuck. The trouble began when SOS (Services of Supply) troops, long stationed in Oran, closed their clubs and installations to our combat troops from the front. Irritated by this exclusion, the 1st Division swarmed into town to 'liberate' it a second time." Despite this, Bradley admitted that "none excelled the unpredictable Terry Allen in the leadership of troops."
Upon assuming command, General Huebner immediately ordered a series of close-order drills, parades, and weapons instruction for the 1st ID, including its veterans, who had just finished a bloody series of engagements with German forces in Sicily. This did not endear him to the enlisted men of the division, who made no attempt to hide their preference for General Allen. As one of the men of the Big Red One said in disgust, "Hell's bells! We've been killing Germans for months and now they are teaching us to shoot a rifle? It doesn't make any sense."
Supported by Bradley and Eisenhower, Huebner persisted, and the morale of the division gradually recovered. As the commander of the "Big Red One" in World War II, Huebner led the 1st in the assault on Omaha Beach, followed by a successful infantry attack at Saint-Lô. The 1st would later repel a German counteroffensive at Mortain, and pursue the German Army across France, culminating in the Battles of Aachen and the Huertgen Forest.
V Corps command
After World War II, Huebner was the last Military Governor (acting) of the American Zone in Germany from May 15, 1949, to September 1, 1949. He retired in 1950. On September 1, 1951, he became director of New York State's Civil Defense Commission, a post he held until January 1961. A strong advocate of the building of fallout shelters, General Huebner believed the US population would eventually be forced to live full-time in underground shelters and "would see the sunshine only by taking a calculated risk".
Huebner married Florence Barret in 1921. Following her death in 1966, Huebner married Anna Imelda Mathews in 1968. She died in 1974. All three are buried together in Arlington National Cemetery.
Lieutenant General Huebner received many military awards for bravery and distinguished service during both World Wars.
- Bradley, A Soldier's Story
- Whitlock, Flint, The fighting first: the untold story of the Big Red One on D-Day, Westview Press, ISBN 978-0-8133-4218-4, ISBN 978-0-8133-4218-4 (1st ed. 2004), pp. 19–20
- Ellis, Robert B., See Naples and Die: A Ski Trooper's World War II, Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., ISBN 0-7864-0190-7 (1996), p.228
- Astor, Gerald, Terrible Terry Allen: combat general of World War II: the life of an American soldier, Presidio Press, ISBN 0-89141-760-5, ISBN 978-0-89141-760-6 (2003)
- Whitehead, Don, and Romeiser, John B. (ed.), Combat Reporter: Don Whitehead's World War II Diary and Memoir, Fordham University Press (2006), p. 194
Terry Allen, Sr.
|Commanding General of 1st Infantry Division
August 1943 – December 1944
Leonard T. Gerow
|Commanding General of U.S. Army V Corps
15 January 1945 to 11 November 1945
Frank W. Milburn
Lucius D. Clay
|Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe
May 15, 1949 to September 2, 1949
Thomas T. Handy