Emerson LeRoy Cummings

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Emerson LeRoy Cummings
Emerson LeRoy Cummings.jpg
Cummings presents award to Thomas H. Coulter, Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry, July 29, 1961
Born (1902-03-16)March 16, 1902
New Boston, Michigan
Died January 24, 1986(1986-01-24) (aged 83)
Zephyr Hills, Florida
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch Emblem of the United States Department of the Army.svg United States Army
Years of service 1924–1962
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Commands held Chief of Ordnance
United States Army, Japan
Fifth United States Army
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star

Emerson LeRoy Cummings (March 16, 1902 – January 24, 1986) was a United States Army Lieutenant General prominent as the Army’s Chief of Ordnance and commander of the Fifth United States Army.

Early life[edit]

Cummings was born in New Boston, Michigan on March 16, 1902.[1] He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1924 and was assigned to the Engineer branch.[2]

Start of military career[edit]

In 1926 Cummings completed a program in civil engineering at Cornell University.[3][4]

Cummings graduated from the Engineer Officer Course in 1927.[5]

In the 1920s and early 1930s Cummings served in Engineer assignments throughout the United States, including a staff position with the federal Alaska Road Commission and a posting to Fort Lewis, Washington.[6][7] Cummings received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1933.[8] In 1934 he graduated from the Ordnance Officer Course.[9]

In 1939 Cummings graduated from the Command and General Staff College and the Chemical Warfare Course.[10]

In the early 1940s Cummings served as assistant to the chief of the artillery division in the Ordnance Department’s Industrial Service Division.[11]

World War II[edit]

During World War II Cummings was head of the Army’s industrial operations in Detroit, overseeing production of combat vehicles and other materiel. He was then assigned to command of the Ordnance Department’s industrial division in Europe.[12]

Post World War II[edit]

Cummings continued his Ordnance career after World War II. In the late 1940s he was chief of the Parts and Supplies Branch in the Ordnance Branch’s Engineering Materials Division.[13]

In the early 1950s Cummings served as chief the Ordnance Corps’ Industrial Division.[14] While in this assignment Cummings also served as the Army’s Assistant Chief of Ordnance.[15]

Cummings served as the Army’s Chief of Ordnance from 1953 to 1958.[16][17][18]

After completing his term as Chief of Ordnance, from 1958 to 1960 Cummings was assigned as deputy commander of the Eighth United States Army, simultaneously serving as commander of U.S. Army, Japan.[19][20][21]

From 1961 to 1962 Cummings served as commander of the Fifth United States Army in Chicago.[22][23]

Retirement and awards[edit]

General Cummings retired in 1962.[24] His awards included two Distinguished Service Medals, the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.[25][26]


In retirement Cummings resided in Largo, Florida.[27]

He operated a woodworking shop as a hobby, and also volunteered as a set builder for the Little Theater of Clearwater, remaining active almost until his death.[28]


Cummings died in Zephyrhills, Florida on January 24, 1986.[29]


In 1972 Cummings was inducted into the Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame.[30]


  1. ^ Newspaper article, Chief of Ordnance, by United Press International, published in The Holland (Michigan) Journal, November 2, 1953
  2. ^ Genealogical Succession, Graduates of the United States Military Academy, excerpted from the Register of Graduates and Former Cadets, published by the Alumni Society, 2005, page 1
  3. ^ The Cornellian, Cornell University Yearbook, published by the University, 1926, Volume 58
  4. ^ Cornell Alumni Newsletter, May 16, 1940, page 396
  5. ^ Official U.S. Army Register, published by U.S. Army Adjutant General, 1954, page 166
  6. ^ The Cornell Civil Engineer, published by Cornell University Association of Civil Engineers, 1928, Volumes 37-38, page 1928
  7. ^ U.S. Federal Census entry, Emerson LeRoy Cummings family
  8. ^ Serving the Line with Excellence: the Development of the US Army Ordnance Corps, as Expressed Through the Lives of its Chiefs of Ordnance, 1812-1987, With a Short Sketch of the History of Army Ordnance, 1775-1987, published by U.S. Army Ordnance Corps, 1987, page 62
  9. ^ Biographical register of the officers and graduates of the United States Military Academy, by George Washington Cullum, updated by Edward Singleton Holden, Volume 8, Part 2 Page 561
  10. ^ Official U.S. Army Register, published by U.S. Army Adjutant General, 1960, page 238
  11. ^ SAE Journal, published by Society of Automotive Engineers, 1941, Volume 46, page 31
  12. ^ Newspaper article, New Ordnance Chief Takes Job, by Associated Press, published in the Anderson (Indiana) Herald, November 3, 1953
  13. ^ Hearing Record, Investigation of the National Defense Program, published by U.S. Senate, 1948, Volume 25-26, Page 11926
  14. ^ Newspaper article, Fire Power Biggest Need to Win War in Korea, Says Ordnance General, Syracuse Post-Standard, December 11, 1951
  15. ^ Hearing Record, Ammunition Shortages in the Armed Services, published by U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, 1953, page 381
  16. ^ Newspaper article, Maj. Gen. Cummings Will Head Ordnance, New York Times, October 8, 1953
  17. ^ Newspaper article, Youngest Army Ordnance Chief Takes Office, Los Angeles Times, November 3, 1953
  18. ^ List, Chiefs of Ordnance, 1918 to 1962, Principal Officials of the War Department and Department of the Army, 1900-1963, published by United States Army Center of Military History, Page 407
  19. ^ Newspaper article, U.S. to Shift Japan Command, New York Times, November 15, 1958
  20. ^ Japan Quarterly, 1959, Volume 6, page 265
  21. ^ Newspaper article, General Succeeds Admiral: 10 Other Changes in Top Assignments Made by Pentagon, White House, Reading Eagle, December 2, 1960
  22. ^ Newspaper article, Ike Appoints New 5th Army Commander, Chicago Tribune, December 3, 1960
  23. ^ Newspaper article, 5th Army Gets a New Boss on Wednesday, Chicago Tribune, January 29, 1961
  24. ^ Newspaper article, Cummings, 5th Army Chief, if Retiring at 60, Chicago Daily Tribune, March 28, 1962
  25. ^ Alphabetical Index of Recipients, Major U.S. Military Awards, Military Times, Hall of Valor
  26. ^ Official U.S. Army Register, published by U.S. Army Adjutant General, 1961, page 120
  27. ^ Newspaper article, Head of 5th Army to Retire, New York Times, February 25, 1962
  28. ^ Newspaper article, Cummings and Set Crew Deserve Hardy Applause, St. Petersburg Times, February 14, 1977
  29. ^ Social Security Death Index
  30. ^ Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame Induction by Year Page, U.S. Army Ordnance Corps Association Web Site