Daniel Van Voorhis

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Daniel Van Voorhis
Daniel Van Voorhis.jpg
Born October 24, 1878 (1878-10-24)
Zanesville, Ohio
Died January 9, 1956 (1956-01-10) (aged 77)
Washington, D.C.
Place of burial Greenwood Cemetery, Zanesville, Ohio
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Emblem of the United States Department of the Army.svg United States Army
Years of service 1898–1942
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Commands held

Daniel Van Voorhis (October 24, 1878 – January 9, 1956) was a United States Army Lieutenant General and was noteworthy for his assignments as commander of V Corps and the Caribbean Defense Command, as well as his efforts in creating the Army's modern Armor branch.

Early life[edit]

The son of Congressman Henry Clay Van Voorhis, he was born on October 24, 1878 in Zanesville, Muskingum County, Ohio.[1][2][3] He attended Ohio Wesleyan University and Pennsylvania's Washington and Jefferson College, where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.[4][5][6]

Start of military career[edit]

Van Voorhis left college to enlist for the Spanish–American War as a Corporal in the 10th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. He attained the rank of Captain before the end of the war, and earned the Silver Star Citation (which was converted to the Silver Star decoration in 1932) for heroism at Jaro in the Philippines.[7][8][9][10][11][12]

After the Spanish–American War Van Voorhis accepted a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Regular Army and served primarily in the Philippines between 1900 and 1914.[13] In 1909 he was appointed as aide-de-camp to President William Howard Taft.[14] In 1914 he served on the Texas border during the Pancho Villa Expedition.[15][16][17]

World War I[edit]

At the beginning of World War I he was Chief of Staff at the Newport News, Virginia port of embarkation, and was one of only twelve Army officers to earn the Navy Cross. In 1918 he went to France as a member of the American Expeditionary Force staff and, after the war was assigned to the port of Brest, where he was responsible for coordinating the A.E.F's return to the United States, for which he received the Distinguished Service Medal.[18][19]

Post–World War I[edit]

Following World War I Van Voorhis served in Texas as commander of the 16th Cavalry Regiment, Assistant Chief of Staff of 2nd Cavalry Division, and Assistant Chief of Staff of VIII Corps. In 1924 he was assigned as Executive Officer to the Chief of Cavalry, and in 1929 he graduated from the Army War College.[20][21][22]

In 1930 Van Voorhis was appointed to command the Army's new experimental mechanized force, first called the 1st Cavalry Regiment (Mechanized), and later the 7th Cavalry Brigade (Mechanized), receiving promotion to Brigadier General. The organization he created and the tactics he developed were vital to the Army's transformation into the modern, mobile armor and mechanized infantry force that was successful in World War II, and with Adna R. Chaffee, Jr. he is recognized as a founder of the Army's Armor branch.[23][24][25][26][27][28]

General Van Voorhis served as Chief of Staff for the Hawaiian Division from 1934 to 1936.[29]

In July 1938 General Van Voorhis was promoted to Major General and became commander of V Corps Area, with its headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, in October of the same year. In October 1939 he was named to head the Caribbean Defense Command in Panama which was officially activated on 10 February 1940. Van Voorhis was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general in July 1940.[30][31][32][33]

In September 1941 Van Voorhis was administratively reduced in rank to major general and reassigned as commander of V Corps Area, where he remained until reaching the mandatory retirement age of 64 in October 1942. He received the Legion of Merit as a retirement award in 1944.[34][35][36][37][38]

Retirement and death[edit]

In retirement he resided in Zanesville, Ohio and Clearwater, Florida. General Van Voorhis died at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C. on January 9, 1956, and was buried in Zanesville's Greenwood Cemetery.[39][40][41][42] His papers, the Daniel Van Voorhis Collection, are part of the Patton Museum at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and an elementary school as well as the largest residential housing area at Fort Knox is named for him.[43][44]

Decorations and medals[edit]

Citation of Navy Cross:

Name: Van Voorhis, Daniel Rank: Colonel, U.S. Army Place of Service: Port of Embarkation, Newport News, Virginia Date: World War I Era[45]

The Navy Cross is awarded to Daniel Van Voorhis, Colonel, United States Army, for distinguished service in the line of his profession as Chief of Staff to the Commanding General, Port of Embarkation, Newport News, Va.

Citation of Distinguished Service Medal:

Name: Van Voorhis, Daniel Service: Army Rank: Colonel War Department, General Orders No. 69 (1919)[46][47]

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 (Cavalry) Daniel Van Voorhis, 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. As Chief of Staff at the Port of Embarkation, Newport News, Virginia, Colonel Van Voorhis' services in governing and controlling the Troop Movement Branch at the Port of Embarkation materially aided in the efficient transport of troops and supplies overseas.

Dates of rank[edit]

No pin insignia in 1898 Corporal, Volunteer Army: May 11, 1898
US-O3 insignia.svg Captain, Volunteer Army: May 27, 1898
(Discharged October 31, 1899)
No pin insignia in 1900 Second Lieutenant, United States Army: March 14, 1900
US-O2 insignia.svg First Lieutenant, United States Army: February 2, 1901
US-O3 insignia.svg Captain, United States Army: August 7, 1909
US-O4 insignia.svg Major, National Army: July 14, 1917
US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel, National Army: August 5, 1917
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel, Temporary: August 15, 1918
US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel, Regular Army: July 1, 1920
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel, Regular Army: January 25, 1928
US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General, Regular Army: February 14, 1936
US-O8 insignia.svg Major General, Regular Army: July 1, 1938
US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General, Regular Army: July 31, 1940
US-O8 insignia.svg Major General, Regular Army: September 18, 1941
(Retired October 21, 1942)


  1. ^ The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the World War, 1917-18, published by F. J. Heer Printing Co., 1929, Volume 18, page 17286
  2. ^ Biographical and Historical Catalogue of Washington and Jefferson College, published by George H. Buchanan and Company, Philadelphia, 1902, page 650
  3. ^ The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1967, Volume 44, page 561
  4. ^ Catalogue of Ohio Wesleyan University for 1889-1990, published by Ohio Wesleyan University, 1890, page 126
  5. ^ Hollanders Who Helped Build America, American Biographical Company, 1942, Page 288
  6. ^ Official U.S. Army Directory, published by U.S. Army Adjutant General, 1939, page 329
  7. ^ Record of Pennsylvania Volunteers in the Spanish–American War, published by Pennsylvania Adjutant General, 1901, page 936
  8. ^ More Volunteer Officers, President McKinley Sends the Names of Conspicuous Americans to the Senate, New York Times, May 13, 1898
  9. ^ Missing Morrill Island; U.S.S. Iroquois May Seek the Lost Pacific Land, New York Times, March 18, 1900
  10. ^ History of the 110th Infantry (10th Pa.) of the 28th Division, U.S.A., published by Association of the 110th Infantry, 1920, page 16
  11. ^ Life of the Soldier and the Airman, published by United States Army Recruiting Publicity Bureau, Volumes 20–21, 1938
  12. ^ Who Was Who In America, published by Marquis Who's Who, Inc., Volume 3, 1960, page 876
  13. ^ The Rasp, published by U.S. Mounted Service School, 1913, page 139
  14. ^ Ohio Man Gets Place, Boston Globe, August 13, 1909
  15. ^ To Forces of Land and Sea: Orders Issued To Members Of Both Branches Of The Service, The Baltimore Sun, August 19, 1905
  16. ^ Army and Navy News, Christian Science Monitor, November 16, 1910
  17. ^ A Brief History of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, by Frank Cushman Pierce, 1917, page 178
  18. ^ Soldiers Fire On Stevedores, Troy (New York) Sunday Budget, March 3, 1918
  19. ^ The Fighting Yankees Overseas, by Bert Ford, 1919, page 228
  20. ^ History of Polo in the Sixteenth Cavalry, The Cavalry Journal, published by United States Cavalry Association, Volume 30, page 439
  21. ^ U.S. Army Register, published by U.S. Army Adjutant General, 1949
  22. ^ Hell on Wheels: the 2d Armored Division, Donald Eugene Houston, 1977, Volume 2, Part 4, page 13
  23. ^ Prepare Camps For Training Of Citizens In Arts Of Soldiery, Gettysburg Times, June 29, 1931
  24. ^ 110 Miles An Hour For Test Of Flying Tank, Cape Girardeau Southeast Missourian, July 27, 1932
  25. ^ The Ten Lean Years: From the Mechanized Force (1930) To the Armored Force (1940), by Robert W. Grow, Armor magazine, pages 22 to 30, January–February, 1987
  26. ^ Tanks as Cavalry Hold Manoeuvres; Mechanized Branch Operates With, New York Times, September 4, 1932
  27. ^ Magazine article, The Cabinet: Gold Storage, Time magazine, January 25, 1937
  28. ^ Motorized Cavalry Speeds 'in High' To Attack On Fort Knox, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, May 25, 1938
  29. ^ 12 Army Officers Win Advancement; Roosevelt Recommends Promotions, New York Times, January 31, 1936
  30. ^ Gen. Van Voorhis Transferred, New York Times, September 4, 1938
  31. ^ Van Voorhis Ordered to Command at Canal, New York Times, October 19, 1939
  32. ^ Canal Zone Troops Are Reorganized; Gen. Van Voorhis Rearranges Mobile and Artillery Units, New York Times, February 17, 1940
  33. ^ Army to Unify All Defenses of Caribbean, Chicago Tribune, January 10, 1941
  34. ^ Newspaper photos and caption, Involved in Army Shuffle, The Fredericksburg Free Lance Star, July 18, 1941
  35. ^ Magazine article, Army: General of the Caribbean, Time magazine, September 1, 1941
  36. ^ Army Shifts Officers in High Command, The Baltimore Sun, June 26, 1942
  37. ^ Ohio General Receives Medal For Defense Job, Portsmouth (Ohio) Times, May 1, 1944
  38. ^ Magazine article, Unity of Command in the Pacific During World War II, by Phillip S. Meilinger, Joint Force Quarterly, Issue 56, 1st Quarter, 2010
  39. ^ Obituary, Mrs. Daniel Van Voorhis; Wife of General, St. Petersburg Times, January 13, 1955
  40. ^ Gen. Van Voorhis, Served in 2 Wars; Retired Army Officer Dies in Capital, New York Times, January 10, 1956
  41. ^ Van Voorhis, General, Dies, Baltimore Sun, January 10, 1956
  42. ^ General Van Voorhis Dies in Washington Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 10, 1956
  43. ^ Through Mobility We Conquer: The Mechanization of U.S. Cavalry, George F. Hofmann, 2006, page 237
  44. ^ Welcome to Van Voorhis Elementary, Van Voorhis Elementary School Web Page, U.S. Department of Defense Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools
  45. ^ U.S. Army Recipients of the Navy Cross, Military Times, Hall of valor website
  46. ^ Distinguished Service Medal Citation, Daniel Van Voorhis, Military Times, Hall of valor website
  47. ^ Heroes All!, edited by Harry R. Stringer, published by Fassett Publishing Company, Washington, D.C., 1919, page 487

External links[edit]