George A. White
|George A. White|
Major General George A. White
July 18, 1880|
Long Branch Township, Saline County, Illinois
|Died||November 23, 1941
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1895–1941|
|Commands held||41st Infantry Division|
|Battles/wars||Spanish American War
World War I
World War II
Ordre de l’Etoile noire (France)
Major General George A. White (July 18, 1880 – November 23, 1941) was an American author, journalist and Major General in the first half of the 20th century. He was one of the founders of the American Legion and commanded the 41st Infantry Division in World War II until his death in 1941.
Early life and education
On August 1, 1895 White enlisted in the Utah National Guard as a musician. He was discharged in June 1898 in order to enlist in the Utah Artillery for the Spanish-American War. He remained in Federal service until he was discharged in December 1898.
White re-enlisted in the Utah national Guard in 1899 was promoted to sergeant and later First Sergeant before being discharged in 1903. He moved to Oregon, where he enlisted in the 3rd Infantry, Oregon National Guard on August 4, 1907. The next day he was commissioned as a First Lieutenant. He was promoted to Captain on March 21, 1911.
World War I
White was appointed Adjutant General of Oregon on February 1, 1915. When the Oregon National Guard was Federalized for the Mexican Expedition, White obtained a leave of absence in order to command a troop of Oregon cavalry. After service on the Mexican border from June 1916 to February 1917, he resumed his post in Oregon.
On March 23, 1917, the Oregon National Guard was mobilized. As Adjutant General, White was involved in recruiting efforts to bring National Guard units up to strength, and he directed the establishment of state machinery for conscription.
White re-entered Federal service on September 10, 1917 with the rank of major and was given the post of Assistant Adjutant General of the 41st Division, a new division being organized from National Guard units from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
He served overseas on the Western Front from January 1918 to June 1919. Initially he was with the 41st Division but it was designated as a replacement division and he was posted to General Headquarters American Expeditionary Force. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on November 13, 1918. For his services, he was awarded the Ordre de l’Etoile noire.
White was one of twenty officers at the Allied Officers' Club, Rue Faubourg St. Honore, on February 16, 1919 who were credited with the founding of the American Legion. He subsequently became its first national vice commander. He founded the American Legion magazine and was its first editor. For his services to the American Legion, and for promoting the friendship between the United States and France, he was awarded the Legion d'Honneur on July 9, 1934.
White was separated from Federal service on July 23, 1919 resumed his duties as Adjutant General of Oregon on April 15, 1920. His first task was the reconstruction of the Oregon national Guard, in which he was promoted to Colonel on June 23, 1920. On July 23, 1923, he assumed command of the 82nd Infantry Brigade, a brigade composed of Oregon troops, and was promoted to brigadier general.
White attended the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth from 1925 to 1926 and took part in training seminars organized by the U.S. Army War College in 1928. On January 3, 1930 he was promoted to Major General and appointed to command the 41st Division.
World War II
The 41st Division's annual summer camp at Fort Lewis in June and July 1940 was extended from two weeks to three, and on September 16, 1940 with President Franklin D. Roosevelt's signing of the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, the 41st Division was inducted into Federal service for one year. Selective service men began to arrive in February 1941.
In May 1941, 41st Division moved to the Hunter Liggett Military Reservation where June war games pitted it against Major General Joseph Stilwell's 7th Division and the 40th Division. Large scale maneuvers continued in August on the Olympic Peninsula.
General White became ill during the maneuvers at Hunter Liggett. He died at his home in Clackamas, Oregon on November 23, 1941. His legacy included one of the National Guard's best-trained divisions. In his honor, Camp White was named after him in 1942.