Edward Almond

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Edward Almond
Edward Almond.jpg
Birth nameEdward Mallory Almond
Nickname(s)"Ned"
BornDecember 12, 1892
Luray, Virginia, United States
DiedJune 11, 1979 (aged 86)
Anniston, Alabama, United States
Buried
Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, United States
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1916–1953
RankUS-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Service numberO-4666
UnitUSA - Army Infantry Insignia.png Infantry Branch
Commands held12th Machine Gun Battalion
3rd Battalion, 45th Infantry Regiment
92nd Infantry Division
2nd Infantry Division
X Corps
United States Army War College
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II
Korean War
AwardsDistinguished Service Cross (2)
Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Silver Star (2)
Purple Heart

Lieutenant General Edward Mallory Almond (December 12, 1892 – June 11, 1979) was a senior United States Army officer who fought in World War I, World War II where he commanded the 92nd Infantry Division, and the Korean War where he commanded the U.S. X Corps.

Early life and World War I[edit]

Born on December 12, 1892 in Luray, Virginia,[1] Almond graduated from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in 1915 and was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the United States Army on 30 November 1916.

Almond served in France during the latter stages of World War I as a major. He fought in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of late 1918 as the commander of the 12th Machine Gun Battalion of the 4th Division. During his service in France, he was wounded in action and received a Silver Star Citation (later upgraded to the Silver Star decoration). [2]

Between the wars[edit]

On returning to the United States after the war, Almond taught military science at Marion Military Institute from 1919 to 1924. He then attended Infantry School at Fort Benning in Georgia after which he resumed teaching at Marion until 1928.[1] He also taught at the Infantry School at Fort Benning, becoming acquainted with Lieutenant Colonel George C. Marshall, the assistant commandant of the school.[2]

In 1930, Almond graduated from the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. After a tour of duty in Philippines, where he commanded a battalion of Philippine Scouts,[2] he attended the Army War College in 1934 after which he was attached to the Intelligence Division of the General Staff for four years. Having been promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1938,[1] he attended the Army War College, Air Corps Tactical School,[2] and finally the Naval War College, from which he graduated in 1940. Almond was then assigned to staff duty at VI Corps HQ, Providence, Rhode Island.[1]

World War II[edit]

Major General Edward Almond, commander of the 92nd Infantry Division in Italy, inspects his troops during a decoration ceremony, March 1945.

Soon after the outbreak of World War II, Almond was promoted to brigadier general and named assistant division commander (ADC) of the 93rd Infantry Division, based in Arizona at the time.

Almond was for a time highly regarded by George C. Marshall, also a VMI graduate, who was now Army Chief of Staff. This regard accounted in part for Almond's promotion to major general ahead of most of his peers and subsequent command of the 92nd Infantry Division, made of almost exclusively African-American soldiers, a position he held from its formation in October 1942 until August 1945. He led the division in combat in the Italian campaign of 1944–1945.[3]

Major General Edward Almond, commander of the 92nd Division, during the Victory parade in Genoa, Italy, May 1945.

Although Marshall picked Almond for this assignment because Marshall believed Almond would excel at this difficult assignment, the division performed poorly in combat with Almond blaming the division's poor performance on its largely African-American troops, echoing the widespread prejudice in the segregated Army that blacks made poor soldiers[4]—and went on to advise the Army against ever again using African-Americans as combat troops.[citation needed] Almond told confidants that the division's poor combat record had cheated him of higher command.[5]

No white man wants to be accused of leaving the battle line. The Negro doesn't care.... people think being from the South we don't like Negroes.(sic.) Not at all, but we understand his capabilities. And we don't want to sit at the table with them.

— Edward Almond[6]

Occupation duty in Japan[edit]

In 1946 Almond was transferred to Tokyo as chief of personnel at General Douglas Macarthur's headquarters, normally a dead-end job. Almond very effectively handled the sizable challenge of staffing the occupation forces in Japan as American forces rapidly demobilized, standing out among MacArthur's lackluster staff. Having won MacArthur's confidence as capable and loyal,[7] Almond was the logical choice to become Chief of Staff in January 1949, when the incumbent, Paul J. Mueller, rotated home.[4]

Korean War and X Corps[edit]

Brigadier General Courtney Whitney; General Douglas MacArthur, Commander in Chief of U.N. Forces; and Major General Edward Almond, observe the shelling of Inchon from the U.S.S. Mt. McKinley, September 15, 1950.

After the initial North Korean attack in June 1950, United Nations forces were forced to withdraw and eventually fell back to the Pusan Perimeter.

MacArthur decided to counterattack with an amphibious invasion at Inchon in November. The invasion force, consisting of the 1st Marine Division and the 7th Infantry Division, was originally named "X Force" and was placed under the command of Almond. Because the name X Force was confusing to logistics officers, upon Almond's suggestion, the formation was re-designated as X Corps. MacArthur split X Corps from the 8th Army, then placed Almond, who had no experience with amphibious operations, in command of the main landing force just before the landings.

Almond earned the scorn of Marine officers when, during the early phase of the Inchon landing, he asked if the amphibious tractors used to land the Marines could float.[8] The invasion succeeded, but Almond did not pursue effectively and most of the routed North Korean Army escaped northwards.[citation needed]

During this time, Major General O. P. Smith,[8] commander of the 1st Marine Division, which was part of X Corps (and therefore under Almond's overall command) from October until December 1950 had many conflicts with Almond.[citation needed]

Almond also had a poor relationship with Lieutenant General Walton Walker, commander of the 8th Army, and “his singularly unfortunate rivalry with Walker left an indelible stamp on what happened” in Korea.[9]

Colonel Edward H. Forney, Deputy Chief of Staff of X Corps, receiving the Legion of Merit by Major General Edward Almond, commander of X Corps, for his part in the Hungnam evacuation in December 1950.

Historians have criticized Almond for the wide dispersal of his units during the X Corps advance into north-eastern part of North Korea, in November–December 1950. This dispersal contributed to the defeat of X Corps by Chinese troops, including the destruction of Task Force Faith, and the narrow escape of the Marines at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.[5] Almond was slow to recognize the scale of the Chinese attack on X Corps, urging Army and Marine units forward despite the huge Chinese forces arrayed against them. Displaying his usual reckless boldness, he underestimated the strength and skill of the Chinese forces, at one point telling his subordinate officers "The enemy who is delaying you for the moment is nothing more than remnants of Chinese divisions fleeing north. We're still attacking and we're going all the way to the Yalu. Don't let a bunch of Chinese laundrymen stop you." As stated by a close associate: "When it paid to be aggressive, Ned was aggressive. When it paid to be cautious, Ned was aggressive."[4]

Despite these mistakes and partly due to his close relationship with General MacArthur, the new Eighth Army commander Lieutenant General Matthew Ridgway, who became the commander of the 8th Army following the death of General Walker in December 1950, retained Almond as commander of X Corps. Ridgway admired Almond's aggressive attitude, but felt he needed close supervision to ensure his boldness did not jeopardize his command. Almond and X Corps later took part in the defeat of the Chinese offensives during February and March 1951, as well as the Eighth Army's counter-offensive, Operation Killer.[4] Almond was promoted to lieutenant general in February 1951.[citation needed]

Future general and secretary of state Alexander Haig served as aide-de-camp to General Almond in the Korean War.[citation needed]

Post Korea[edit]

The grave of Lieutenant General Edward Almond at Arlington National Cemetery.

In July 1951, Almond was reassigned and became commandant of the United States Army War College.[10]

He retired from the Army on 31 January 1953 and worked as an insurance executive until his death in 1979, aged 86.

He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia near his son, Edward Mallory Almond Jr., a captain in the 157th Infantry Regiment, killed in action on March 19, 1945 in France.[11]

Orders, decorations and medals[edit]

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Distinguished Service Cross.
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Distinguished Service Medal.
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Silver Star.
Legion of Merit.
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Distinguished Flying Cross
V
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Silver oak leaf cluster
Silver oak leaf cluster
Silver oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
World War I Victory Medal
American Campaign Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Distinguished Service Cross
with Oak Leaf Cluster
Distinguished Service Medal
with Oak Leaf Cluster
Silver Star
with Oak Leaf Cluster
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Bronze Star
with "V" device and Oak Leaf Cluster
Air Medal
with 15 Oak Leaf Clusters
Army Commendation Medal
with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Purple Heart Mexican Border Service Medal
World War I Victory Medal Army of Occupation of Germany Medal American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
w/ 3 Campaign Stars
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
with "Japan" Clasp
National Defense Service Medal Korean Service Medal
with 4 Campaign Stars
Order of Abdon Calderón 1st Class
(Ecuador)
Order of Solomon
(Ethiopian Empire)
Honorary Companion of the
Order of the Bath

(United Kingdom)
Commander, Legion of Honor
(France)
Croix de guerre 1939–1945 with palm
(France)
Order of Military Merit
(Brazil)
Cheon-Su National Security Medal
(South Korea)
Presidential Unit Citation
(South Korea)
United Nations Medal for Korea

1st Distinguished Service Cross citation[edit]

General Headquarters Far East Command: General Orders No. 43 (October 23, 1950)

CITATION:

The President of the United States of America, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Major General Edward M. Almond (ASN: 0-466), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as Commanding General of X Corps. Major General Almond distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces in the Republic of Korea during the period from 15 to 25 September 1950. During the seizure of Inchon, General Almond personally visited front line units, coordinated tactical efforts, and by his own fearless example aided them in seizing assigned objectives. Following the fall of Inchon, General Almond personally led his troops in their rapid drive through enemy-held territory to seize Seoul, and to speed the disintegration of the enemy forces. During the assault of the Han River, he moved to a forward position well beyond the line of friendly forces to observe and control the river crossing. Despite heavy enemy mortar fire directed at him, General Almond remained to supervise the air and artillery support which was protecting the first units of the Seventh Infantry Division crossing the river. Disregarding enemy mine fields and sniper fire, he proceeded to the crossing site to direct fire of amphibious tanks neutralizing enemy opposition which was impeding our crossing. By his inspirational leadership, his complete indifference to danger, and personal control of the battlefield, General Almond quickly concluded tactical operations which destroyed the enemy forces in the X Corps zone of action and saved countless lives in the forces under his command.

2nd Distinguished Service Cross citation[edit]

Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea: General Orders No. 362 (May 28, 1951)

CITATION:

The President of the United States of America, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Service Cross to Lieutenant General Edward M. Almond (ASN: 0-466), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as Commanding General, X Corps. Lieutenant General Almond distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces during the massive offensive by three known Communist Armies against the X Corps, during the period from 16 through 25 May 1951. General Almond personally directed the historic defense which contained this attack and resulted in crushing losses in enemy manpower and materiel. During this period General Almond distinguished himself by countless acts of individual heroism as well as providing the inspiration, leadership and tactical skill which contributed materially the success of this operation. On 19 May 1951, while reconnoitering enemy positions in a light aircraft, he observed 250 enemy at a point forward of a friendly tank patrol. General Almond landed his plane by the tank column and sent the tank platoon leader in his aide's plane to observe the enemy group. While with the tank column the enemy set up a machine gun within 500 yards of his position. Without regard for hostile fire from this gun, he directed tank fire which silenced the weapon. The tank platoon went on to destroy the 250 enemy. On 21 May 1951, General Almond made an aerial reconnaissance before a tank column operating at Soksa-ri, Korea. While flying low over this area, General Almond received intense automatic-weapons fire. Again, without regard for personal safety, he located these weapons and personally directed their destruction. Again on 25 May 1951, he made four flights in an unarmed light plane through the enemy-held mountain pass between Hangye and the Umyang bridgehead on the Seyang River. Despite intense enemy small-arms and friendly artillery fire, he returned time and again to insure proper command and liaison between friendly forces operating at both ends of the pass. These specific acts, as well as countless visits to forward-most command posts, provided the inspiration and forceful leadership essential at this critical time.

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the novel series The Corps, General Almond is mentioned in the last two books: Under Fire and Retreat Hell! Almond is portrayed by the author (who served under Almond in the Korean War) in a positive light, with no reference made to his racial views.[citation needed]
  • In James McBride's 2002 novel Miracle at St. Anna, the commanding general of the 92nd Infantry Division, General Allman, is based on Almond.[citation needed]
  • In the 2008 Spike Lee film Miracle at St. Anna, Almond is portrayed by Robert John Burke.[citation needed]
  • In Victor H. Krulak's 1984 novel First To Fight, the Almond is critiqued by retired Lieutenant General of the Marine Corps and author of the book, Victor H. Krulak, who served alongside Almonds counterpart, Lieutenant General Shepard[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Wintermute 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Taaffe 2016, p. 67.
  3. ^ Taaffe 2016, pp. 67–68.
  4. ^ a b c d Blair, Clay (1987). The Forgotten War. New York: Times Books. pp. 32, 572.
  5. ^ a b Halberstam 2007, pp. 161–162.
  6. ^ Atkinson, Rick (2 October 2007). The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943–1944 (The Liberation Trilogy Book 2). 7635: Henry Holt and Co.CS1 maint: location (link)
  7. ^ Fehrenbach 1998, pp. 163.
  8. ^ a b Coram, Robert (2010). Brute: The Life of Victor Krulak, U.S. Marine (illustrated ed.). Little, Brown and Company. pp. 207, 213. ISBN 978-0316758468. Retrieved 2011-01-05.
  9. ^ Halberstam 2007, pp. 214.
  10. ^ "Carlisle Barracks History". U.S. Army. Retrieved 2011-01-06.
  11. ^ "Burial Detail: Almond, Edward M. (Section 2, Grave 4937-A)". ANC Explorer. Arlington National Cemetery. (Official website).

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

  • "Edward Mallory Almond". at ArlingtonCemetery•net. (Unofficial website).
  • Edward Almond at Find a Grave
  • Wilson, Dale E. (1992). "Recipe for Failure: Major General Edward M. Almond and Preparation of the U.S. 92d Infantry Division for Combat in World War II, The Journal of Military History, Vol. 56, No. 3 (Jul 1992)". The Journal of Military History. 56 (3): 473–488. doi:10.2307/1985973. JSTOR 1985973.
Military offices
Preceded by
Newly activated post
Commanding General 92nd Infantry Division
1942–1945
Succeeded by
Post deactivated
Preceded by Commanding General 2nd Infantry Division
1945–1946
Succeeded by
Post deactivated
Preceded by
Newly activated post
Commanding General X Corps
1950–1951
Succeeded by
Preceded by Commandant of the United States Army War College
1951–1953
Succeeded by