Horace H. Fuller

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Horace H. Fuller
Horace H. Fuller.jpg
Major General Horace H. Fuller
Born (1886-08-10)August 10, 1886
Fort Meade, South Dakota
Died September 18, 1966(1966-09-18) (aged 80)
Allegiance United States United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1909-1946
Rank Major General
Commands held 41st Infantry Division

World War I:

World War II:

Awards Army Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Legion of Merit

Major General Horace H. Fuller (10 August 1886 – 18 September 1966) was an American soldier and general in the first half of the 20th century. He is best known for his command of the 41st Infantry Division in the South West Pacific Area during World War II.

Education and early life[edit]

Horace Hayes Fuller was born on 10 August 1886 in Fort Meade, South Dakota,[1] the son of Major Ezra B. Fuller. He was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point — where his father had graduated with the class of 1873 — by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1904.[2] He graduated 59th in the class of 1909, a distinguished class that also included future generals George S. Patton (46), Jacob L. Devers (39), John C. H. Lee (12), Edwin F. Harding (74), Robert L. Eichelberger (68), and William H. Simpson (101).[3] He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 11th Cavalry. He was stationed with the 11th Cavalry at Fort Oglethorpe until April 1914 when he transferred to the 7th Cavalry which was then based at Fort William McKinley. He remained in the Philippines until 1916, transferring to the 8th Cavalry. He was promoted to First Lieutenant on 12 June 1916. He transferred to the field artillery on 1 July 1916 but returned to United States to serve with the 17th Cavalry at Fort Bliss. He was promoted to captain on 15 May 1917.[4]

Great War[edit]

Fuller transferred to the 11th Field Artillery in July 1917, and attended a course of instruction at Fort Sill. He was promoted to temporary Major on 8 January 1918. He sailed for France in October 1918 and joined the 108th Field Artillery at Véronnes. He participated in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and commanded the 108th Field Artillery in the Battle of the Sambre, earning promotion to temporary Lieutenant Colonel on 11 September 1918. He commanded the 109th Field Artillery until March 1919 and then served with the Motor Transport Corps and Graves Registration Service.[4]

Interwar years[edit]

Fuller reverted to his permanent rank of Captain on 15 April 1920 but was promoted to major on 1 July 1920. On returning to the United States he was posted to the 83rd Field Artillery at Fort Benning. He attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth from 1922 to 1923 and, a distinguished graduate, stayed on as an instructor until 1927 when he left to attend the U.S. Army War College. Regimental duty followed with the 76th Field Artillery at the Presidio of Monterey, California but he returned to Washington, D.C. in 1929 for duty on the War Department General Staff. In 1933 he was posted to the 6th Field Artillery at Fort Hoyle, Maryland. He was finally promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 1 May 1934.[4]

After attending a chemical warfare course at Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland, Fuller was posted to Paris as military attaché to France. He remained there until August 1940, watching the Fall of France first hand. While there he was promoted to Colonel on 1 July 1938.[4]

World War II[edit]

On returning to the United States Fuller attended a refresher course at Fort Sill before being posted to command the artillery of the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Lewis. As such, he was promoted to the temporary rank of Brigadier General on 1 October 1940.[4]

Fuller returned to the Command and General Staff College as its commandant in June 1941 but in December 1941 following the sudden death of Major General George A. White he became commander of the 41st Infantry Division. He was promoted to the temporary rank of Major General on 15 December 1941.[4]

Fuller led the 41st Infantry Division in the attacks on Salamaua, Hollandia, and Biak. At Biak, tenacious defence by well dug in Japanese defenders frustrated his attempt to rapidly secure the island. Running afoul of General Douglas MacArthur's need to have the island secured quickly, Fuller found himself superseded in command at Biak by Lieutenant General Robert L. Eichelberger, a West Point classmate. Fuller then asked to be relieved of his command, becoming the only divisional commander to be relieved in the Western New Guinea campaign.[5]

He was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal. His citation read:

For service in the Southwest Pacific from 6 April 1942 to 17 June 1944. Commanding one of the first infantry divisions to arrive in the theater, he demonstrated exceptional ability and sound judgement in bringing his division to a high standards of efficiency in preparation for jungle combat. He successfully commanded his division in the defense of the Oro bay-Gona area and in operations against the enemy from Gona to Morobe, while elements of his division participated in the landing at Nassau Bay and the subsequent drive on Salamaua. Later he led his division in the amphibious assaults against Hollandia and Biak Island. Elements of his division made the successful landing at Aitape and in the Wakde Island-Sarmi area. In all his attacks he inflicted decisive defeat on an experienced enemy. His personal courage and inspiring leadership made possible the able expedition of assigned missions, and contributed materially to our success in dislodging the enemy and forcing him to relinquish his conquests.[4]

Fuller became President of the U.S. Army Forces Far East in August 1944. In November he became Deputy Chief of Staff at South East Asia Command.[1]

Later life[edit]

Fuller retired from the army in August 1946 and died on 18 September 1966.[1]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Edmund L. Gruber
Commandant of the Command and General Staff College
June 1941 - November 1941
Succeeded by
Converse R. Lewis