Herbert J. Brees
|Herbert Jay Brees|
|Born||June 12, 1877
|Died||December 22, 1958 (aged 81)
San Antonio, Texas
|Place of burial||Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1898-1941|
|Unit||Third United States Army|
|Commands held||VII Corps
United States Army Command and General Staff College
Third United States Army
World War I
World War II
|Awards||Distinguished Service Medal
French Legion of Honor
Early military career
He was appointed a First Lieutenant, 2nd United States Volunteer Cavalry, on 27 May 1898, served at Fort D.A. Russed (later Fort Francis E. Warren, later Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. On 22 June 1898, he was transferred with his regiment to Panama Park, Florida. He was discharged from the United States Volunteers on 28 July 1898 in order to accept an appointment as a Second Lieutenant in the Regular Army.
He served with the 2nd Artillery at Tampa, Florida until 4 August 1898, when he accompanied Battery K of that regiment to Fort Constitution, New Hampshire, commanding it until 24 November 1898. He was transferred to the 4th Artillery at that same station and commanded Battery M.
Inter-war years (pre-World War I)
After the war Brees attended the Infantry and Cavalry School, completing the course in 1903 as its Honor Graduate. He went on to complete the Staff Officer College in 1905 and the War College in 1907.
On 24 February 1904 he was assigned to Company G, Signal Corps, at Fort Hood, New York. He was promoted to Captain on 30 November 1904, and attended the Army Staff College at Fort Leavenworth until 1 July 1905.
Captain Brees next commanded Troop M, 1st Cavalry, at Fort Sam Houston and Fort Clark, Texas, until 2 July 1906.
He was Chief Signal Officer, Maneuver Camp of Instruction, Austin, Texas, until 6 September 1906. Then he returned to duty with Troop M, 1st Cavalry, at Fort Clark.
He attended the Army War College, Washington, D.C., from October 1906 until November 1907. After graduation, he rejoined Troop M, 1st Cavalry, in San Francisco and sailed with it to the Philippine Islands on December 5, 1907.
Arriving in the Philippines on 7 January 1908, Captain Brees served at Camp Stotsenburg. He returned to the United States by way of Europe on 5 June 1910, and served at Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont, in connection with the selection of a cavalry rifle team, until 19 July 1910.
Captain Brees then rejoined Troop M, 1st Cavalry, at the Presidio of San Francisco, and served with it at that station until 27 September 1910, and at Fort Duchesne, Utah, until 3 December 1911. Part of the time, from 5 November 1910 until 3 December 1911, he was Acting Indian Agent, Uintah and Omay Agencies.
From December 1911 until September 1914, Captain Brees served as Aide to Major General Arthur Murray, Headquarters Western Division, San Francisco, California.
Captain Brees was again ordered to the Philippine Islands in October, 1914, and served with the 7th and 9th Cavalry at Camp Stotsenburg. Returning to the United States in October 1916, he served on border duty at Glenn Springs, Texas, until 16 April 1917.
World War I
On 26 August 1917, Lieutenant Colonel Brees became Chief of Staff of the 91st Division at Camp Lewis, Washington. While serving in this assignment he was promoted to the temporary rank of Colonel on 16 February 1918. It was during this time that he went to France on a tour of observation and later accompanied the division to Camp Merritt, New Jersey.
Colonel Brees and the 91st Division sailed for France on 28 June 1918. From 22 October 1918 until 14 June 1919, he served as Chief of Staff, VII Army Corps, AEF, and American Forces in Germany. During part of that time, from 27 October 1918 to 20 November 1918, he was Acting Commander of the VII Army Corps.
Citation for Distinguished Service Medal:
- 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 Colonel (General Staff) Herbert J. Brees, United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility during World War I. General Brees served with distinction as Chief of Staff of the 91st Division throughout its training period and during the greater part of its active operations. His marked administrative ability was reflected in the successes of this division during the first phases of the Meuse-Argonne operations. Later, as Chief of Staff of the VII Army Corps, he rendered invaluable services in perfecting the necessary organization for the march into the German territory, overcoming grave difficulties in securing supplies and equipment.
- Service: Army; Rank: Colonel; War Department, General Orders No. 87 (1919)
Inter-war years (post-World War I)
After a brief stint as Range Officer, Inter-Allied Rifle and Pistol Competition, Belgian Camp, Le Mans, France, Colonel Brees returned to the United States on 6 July 1919.
He next served as an instructor in the Army Service Schools at Fort Leavenworth. While there, he reverted to his permanent grade of Lieutenant Colonel on 13 August 1919.
On 31 December 1919 he became Director of the School of the Line and was promoted to Colonel in the Regular Army on 1 July 1920. On 30 June 1922, he became Director of the Command and General Staff School, and served in that capacity until 24 July 1923.
Colonel Brees took command of the 11th Cavalry and post, Presidio of Monterey, California, on 12 September 1923, on which duty he served until 10 June 1925. He was then assigned to duty as Assistant Commandant, General Service Schools, Fort Leavenworth, until 29 June 1929.
He was Corps Area Inspector, Ninth Corps Area, with headquarters at San Francisco, to 24 February 1930, when he was assigned to duty as Assistant Commandant, Army War College, serving in that capacity until 29 October 1930.
On 1 November 1930, he was promoted to Brigadier General. After taking short courses at the Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and at the Air Corps Tactical School, Langley Field, Virginia, he took command of the 13th Field Artillery Brigade Post and 87th Division Organization Reserves at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Brigadier General Brees was ordered to the Philippines in May 1931, where he commanded Fort Stotsenburg until 15 June 1934. Upon his return to the United States he took command of the 2nd Field Artillery Brigade at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
On 4 February 1934, he became Commandant of the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth and also was in charge of the Missouri District of the CCC. He was promoted to Major General on 1 June 1936.
From June to October, 1936 he commanded the 2nd Infantry Division. From 1936 to 1938 General Brees was commander of VIII Corps. During Brees' tenure at VIII Corps, the family of General John J. Pershing asked him to be present during Pershing's final illness in Tucson, Arizona, so that he could plan for the transportation of Pershing's remains to Washington, D.C. for his funeral. [Pershing recovered, however, and did not die until July 15, 1948, in Washington, D.C.]
Pre World War II
Brees commanded the Third United States Army as a Lieutenant General from October, 1940 until he reached mandatory retirement age in May, 1941. In 1940, Brees served as Chief Controller for the U.S. military's large-scale training maneuvers in Louisiana, and played an important role in the changing the tactics and strategy used in Europe during World War II by showing that the tendency of mechanized units to use road networks during maneuver made them vulnerable to blitzkrieg style attacks by an enemy that left the roads and used the terrain to its advantage.
Post retirement career
After the war Brees served as President of the National Bank of Fort Sam Houston.
Laramie, Wyoming's Regional Airport was built in 1934 and originally named Brees Field in his honor. During World War II Brees Field was the destination for B-24 bombers that brought crews to the University of Wyoming recreation camp in the Snowy Range for rest and recuperation.
- The University Melange, magazine of the University of Wyoming, volume V, no. 5, April, 1908, page 218
- Newspaper article, Lieutenants Are Placed: Some of the Officers Who Were Appointed from Civil Life Are Detailed for Duty, New York Times, August 25, 1898
- Annual Reports of War Department for the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1901, Volume 1, Part 5, page 324
- Newspaper article, Army Orders and Assignments, New York Times, October 6, 1910
- Newspaper article, Sword, Bayonet, Sabre and Belt: Army and Navy News of the Week, Los Angeles Times, June 15, 1913
- Newspaper article, Army Orders and Assignments, New York Times, June 5, 1917
- The Ninety-First, the First at Camp Lewis, Alice Palmer Henderson, 1918, pages 93 to 94
- The Story of the 91st Division, published by 91st Division Publication Committee, 1919, page 113
- 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment web page, Commanders of the 11th Cavalry Regiment, http://www.blackhorsetroopers.org/history.htm
- Annual Report of the General Service Schools, 1925–1926 and 1926–1927
- United States Army Center of Military History, 2nd Infantry Division Commanders, http://www.blackhorsetroopers.org/history.htm
- U.S. Army Combined Arms Center web site, Command and General Staff College Commandants page, http://carl.army.mil/resources/ftlvn/command.asp
- Newspaper article, Army Promotion List is Sent to Senate: Generals Nominated, Chicago Daily Tribune, January 31, 1936
- Newspaper article, Camp Commander Arrives, New York Times, February 26, 1938
- Newspaper article, Record Promotions Made to Fill High Posts of Army: President Increases Generalships to 187 With 85 New Positions Created, Los Angeles Times, September 28, 1940
- An Uncertain Trumpet: the Evolution of U.S. Army Infantry Doctrine, 1919–1941, Kenneth Finlayson, 2001, page 136 to 139
- Newspaper article, Relieve Gen. Brees, Soon to Retire, of 3D Army Command, Chicago Daily Tribune, May 9, 1941
- Hanging Sam: a Military Biography of General Samuel T. Williams, Harold J. Meyer, 1990, page 137
- Texas Death Index, 1903–2000, Name: Herbert Jay Brees; Death Date: 22 Dec 1958; Death County: Bexar; Certificate: 66110
- National Cemetery Administration. U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca. 1775-2006
- Laramie Regional Airport web site, http://www.laramieairport.com/About.html
- Military Times, Hall of Valor, Distinguished Service Medal citation, http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=17298
- ARCENT (US 3rd Army) Command Biographies LTG Brees Command BIO
Stanley D. Embick
|Commanding General of the Third United States Army
1 October 1940 - 15 May 1941