Hanford MacNider

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Hanford MacNider
Hanford MacNider2.jpg
Nickname(s) “Jack”
Born (1889-10-02)2 October 1889
Mason City, Iowa
Died 18 February 1968(1968-02-18) (aged 78)
Sarasota, Florida
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Department of the Army Seal.svg United States Army
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General (Ret.)
Battles/wars Pancho Villa Expedition
World War I
World War II
Awards Distinguished Service Cross (3)
Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star (3)
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star (2)
Légion d'honneur (France)
Other work Diplomat
Hanford MacNider (1925)

Hanford “Jack” MacNider (October 2, 1889 – February 18, 1968) was a United States diplomat and highly decorated United States Army General, serving in both World War I and World War II. He was a Scottish Rite Freemason.

Today MacNider is considered one of Iowa's greatest war heroes, the 158th RCT (Infantry) war time leader, and an effective politician during the inter-war years.

Early life[edit]

Hanford MacNider was born in Mason City, Iowa as the son of Charles H. MacNider, a prominent banker, and May Hanford.[1][2] He attended Milton Academy (a boarding school in Massachusetts) and subsequently Harvard University, where he graduated in 1911 before returning to Iowa.

MacNider joined the United States National Guard and served during the Pancho Villa Expedition during the Mexican Revolution. During World War I, he served as a Captain in the 2nd Infantry Division within American Expeditionary Force in France.

The story goes that military charges were laid against MacNider when one of his men disagreed with a Colonel. MacNider then supposedly went AWOL to get to the front. When authorities finally caught up to him, he had already risen through the ranks to Lieutenant Colonel and won 14 medals, so charges were dropped.

For extraordinary heroism in the battle, MacNider was decorated with two Distinguished Service Crosses, three Silver Stars, Italian War Merit Cross, French Légion d'honneur and French Croix de Guerre with Palm.

Interwar Era[edit]

He participated in founding of the American Legion, and was commander of the Legion for the State of Iowa from 1920 to 1921, before being elevated to national commander.

President Calvin Coolidge appointed him Assistant Secretary of War in 1925 where Major Dwight Eisenhower was his executive assistant.[3] MacNider married Margaret McAuley in 1925. He was considered a possible Republican candidate in the United States presidential election, 1928, but after the death of his father, MacNider returned to Iowa to handle the family's business affairs which thrived despite the Depression.[citation needed]

President Herbert Hoover appointed him United States ambassador to Canada in 1930.[1] In 1932, he resigned in an unsuccessful attempt to be made the Republican candidate for Vice President.[1] In 1940, he again failed receive the Republican nomination for President and declined the Vice Presidential candidacy under Wendell Lewis Willkie.[1] He also turned down a cabinet position offered by President Dwight Eisenhower.[citation needed]

Second World War[edit]

MacNider was eventually promoted to Brigadier General in the United States Army, and then Major General until his retirement in 1951. (After retirement, he was promoted to Lieutenant General.) During World War II, he was wounded while commanding the Buna Task Force in New Guinea. After recovery, he was given the command of the 158th Regimental Combat Team (the Bushmasters) at the Bicol Peninsula.[4] His command of the 158th RCT in the Philippines was excellent and it was there that some of the toughest fighting of the war occurred. A Regimental legend contends that at one point men of the 3rd battalion became drunk from a cache of Japanese Saki, at which point MacNider finding the men in poor conditions downed a whole bottle in a single moment and decried the troops for being poor soldiers. MacNider earned the respect and love of the men of the 158th by his courage and great battlefield leadership, this has led to an almost mythical reputation in the regiment even today.

On February 18, 1968, while on vacation in Sarasota, Florida, he died at a hospital of pulmonary edema.[citation needed] It has been said that he was interred in Mason City's Elmwood Saint Joseph Cemetery, the cemetery office has no record of him, it is believed that he was cremated and his ashes scattered in an unknown location.[1]

Decorations[edit]

Hanford MacNider received during his military career a many decorations and awards for heroism and distinguished service. Here are official citations of the most important military decorations:

First Distinguished Service Cross Citation[edit]

The official U.S. Army citation for his first Distinguished Service Cross reads:

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 44 (1919)
Action Date: October 3–9, 1918
Name: Hanford MacNider
Service: Army
Rank: Captain
Regiment: 9th Infantry Regiment
Division: 2d Division, American Expeditionary Forces
Citation: The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Captain (Infantry) Hanford MacNider, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with 9th Infantry Regiment, 2d Division, A.E.F., near Medeah Ferme, France, October 3–9, 1918. Captain MacNider voluntarily joined an attacking battalion on 3 October and accompanied it to its final objectives. During the second attack on the same day, he acted as a runner through heavy artillery and machine-gun fire. He visited the lines both night and day, where the fighting was most severe. When higher authority could not be reached, he assumed responsibilities, and gave the necessary orders to stabilize serious situations. When new and untried troops took up the attack, he joined their forward elements, determined the enemy points of resistance by personal reconnaissance, uncovered enemy machine-gun nests and supervised their destruction.[5]

Second Distinguished Service Cross Citation[edit]

The official U.S. Army citation for his second Distinguished Service Cross reads:

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 44 (1919)
Action Date: September 12, 1918
Name: Hanford MacNider
Service: Army
Rank: Captain
Regiment: 9th Infantry Regiment
Division: 2d Division, American Expeditionary Forces
Citation: The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Service Cross to Captain (Infantry) Hanford MacNider, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with 9th Infantry Regiment, 2d Division, A.E.F., near Remeriauville, France, 12 September 1918. On duty as regimental adjutant, while carrying instructions to the assaulting lines, Captain MacNider found the line unable to advance and being disorganized by a heavy machine-gun fire. Running forward in the face of the fire, this officer captured a German machine-gun, drove off the crew, reorganized the line on that flank, and thereby enabled the advance to continue.[5]

Third Distinguished Service Cross Citation[edit]

The official U.S. Army citation for his third Distinguished Service Cross reads:

General Orders: Headquarters, South West Pacific Area, General Orders No. 12 (1943)
Name: Hanford MacNider
Service: Army
Rank: Brigadier General
Regiment: Commanding officer
Division: Buna Task Force
Citation: Brigadier General Hanford MacNider, United States Army, was awarded a Second Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Third Award of the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy, in action against enemy forces during World War II. Brigadier General MacNider's intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.[5]

Distinguished Service Medal Citation[edit]

The official U.S. Army citation for his Distinguished Service Medal reads:

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 89 (August 13, 1946)
Action Date: October 1943 - October 1945
Name: Hanford MacNider
Service: Army
Rank: Brigadier General
Regiment: Commanding officer
Division: Buna Task Force
Citation: The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Army Distinguished Service Medal to Brigadier General Hanford MacNider (ASN: 0-108101), United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility during the period from October 1943 to October 1945. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of General MacNider reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Army.[6]

Ribbon bar[edit]

Here is the ribbon bar of Lieutenant General (Ret.) Hanford MacNider:

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Arrowhead
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
1st Row Distinguished Service Cross w/ two OLCs Army Distinguished Service Medal Silver Star w/ two OLCs
2nd Row Legion of Merit w/ OLC Bronze Star Medal w/ OLC Air Medal Purple Heart w/ OLC
3rd Row Mexican Border Service Medal World War I Victory Medal w/ Five Battle Clasps Army of Occupation of Germany Medal American Campaign Medal
4th Row Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ silver and bronze service stars and Arrowhead device World War II Victory Medal Army of Occupation Medal Commander of the Legion of Honour
5th Row French Croix de guerre 1914–1918 with Palm Croce al Merito di Guerra Philippine Legion of Honor Philippine Liberation Medal w/ Bronze Star

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "The Political Graveyard". MacNider, Hanford. Retrieved 2010-12-04. 
  2. ^ Charles H. MacNider (b. 1860) was the president of the First National Bank of Mason City. The MacNider Art Museum at Mason City, Iowa is named after him.[1]
  3. ^ "The Cabinet: Change". Time (magazine). October 26, 1925. Retrieved 2010-06-15. "MacNider. As one steps out an-other steps in. President Coolidge appointed Hanford MacNider, of Iowa, onetime Commander of the American Legion (1921-22), to succeed Mr. Davis as Assistant Secretary of War. He is even younger than his new superior, is only 36. Like Mr. Davis he is a Harvard man. He fought overseas, rose to a Lieutenant Colonelcy, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Said Mr. Davis: ‘It is a splendid appointment’." 
  4. ^ “The Bushmasters: Arizona's Fighting Guardsmen”, World War II Forums, April 13, 2008.
  5. ^ a b c http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=15677
  6. ^ http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=108238

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
William Phillips
United States Ambassador to Canada
1930–1932
Succeeded by
Nathan William MacChesney