William F. Train

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William Frew Train II
William F. Train.jpg
Nickname(s) "Bill"
Born (1908-01-23)January 23, 1908
Savannah, Georgia
Died November 27, 2006(2006-11-27) (aged 98)
San Mateo, California
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Emblem of the United States Department of the Army.svg United States Army
Years of service 1926-1967
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Unit 22nd Infantry Regiment, 112th Infantry Regiment
Commands held 28th Infantry Division
4th Infantry Division
U.S. First Army
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star (2)

William Frew Train II (January 23, 1908 - November 27, 2006) was a United States Army lieutenant general and veteran of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

Biography[edit]

William Train was born and raised in Savannah, Georgia. Orphaned when he was 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a private in 1926 and retired 41 years later as a three-star general.

In 1927, then-Private Train placed first among Army enlisted men competing for admission to the United States Military Academy at West Point. He graduated from West Point in 1931 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant.

In 1933, one his first posts was second-in-command at Camp Roosevelt, the first Civilian Conservation Corps camp established in the George Washington National Forest in central Virginia.

World War II[edit]

Shortly after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, then-Captain Train was summoned to the War Department General Staff to serve in the newly built Pentagon helping to organize the war effort.

Later during World War II, Train served in the Italian campaign in 1943 for several months and then, in October 1944, he joined the 28th Infantry Division fighting on the Siegfried Line. The Siegfried Line was the defensive barrier at the German border to which the German army had retreated in the summer and fall of 1944 after the American and British invasion at Normandy on June 6, 1944.

In trying to break through the Siegfried Line in November 1944, General Train's division was stopped by fierce German resistance during the Battle of Huertgen Forest, the bloodiest battle of the war in Europe on the American side. After suffering devastating losses, the 28th Division was moved to a quiet sector of the front line in northern Luxemburg and southern Belgium.

This put them directly in the path of the massive German surprise attack called the Battle of the Bulge, launched on December 16, 1944. Gen. Train, then a Lieutenant Colonel, was Assistant Regimental Commander of the 112th Infantry Regiment of the 28th Division. His regiment held its position for the first two days of the attack against overwhelming odds and then participated in the defense of St. Vith in southern Belgium, a key road junction. These defensive actions seriously disrupted the northern sector of the German attack, which ground to a halt on December 26. Two days earlier, on December 24, Gen. Train's regiment—which had become surrounded by the German forces—was able to safely withdraw to the new American lines with the rest of the St. Vith defenders. General Train was awarded a Silver Star medal for his leadership and bravery during the battle.

Korean War[edit]

Train served in Korea in 1950 and 1951 during the intense fighting of the first year of that war. As plans officer for Eighth Army, he was responsible for planning five campaigns beginning with the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter.

Final posts[edit]

Later in his career, General Train commanded the 4th Infantry Division from 1960 to 1962, the Army War College from 1962 to 1964. He commanded Second Army from 1964 until it was inactivated and combined with First Army January 1, 1966 at Fort Meade, Maryland. His final command of the newly combined First Army, responsible for all Army forces and facilities in the northeast United States from Virginia to Maine, concluded an active duty career on 41 years with his retirement on May 31, 1967.

Family[edit]

He was survived by Charlotte Gibner Train, his wife of 70 years. He was also survived by his daughter, Leslie Train, his son, Bruce Train, and his grandson, Zachary M. Train. He suffered the loss of his first son, Lt. William F. Train III (June 26, 1937-June 16, 1962), who was the sixth American advisor killed in South Vietnam.[1]

Decorations[edit]

Combat Infantry Badge.svg Combat Infantryman Badge
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster
Presidential Unit Citation
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four service stars
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
National Defense Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Korean Service Medal with five service stars
French Croix de guerre with palm
United Nations Korea Medal

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Family Tradition". TIME. June 29, 1962. 

References[edit]

  • (Ray, Max (1980). The History of the First United States Army From 1918 to 1980. Fort Meade, Maryland: First United States Army. pp. 120, 124.