Innis P. Swift

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Innis Palmer Swift
Krueger Chase and Swift.jpg
Innis P. Swift (in helmet behind driver) with Generals Walter Krueger and William C. Chase
Born (1882-02-07)February 7, 1882
Fort Laramie, Wyoming
Died November 3, 1953(1953-11-03) (aged 71)
San Antonio, Texas
Buried at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1904 – 1946
Rank Major General
Commands held 1st Cavalry Division
I Corps
Battles/wars Philippine-American War
Mexican Expedition
World War I
World War II
Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Order of the Aztec Eagle (Mexico)[1]
Relations Grandfathers:
Major General Innis Newton Palmer
Brigadier General Ebenezer Swift
Major General Eben Swift
Brother in law:
Brigadier General Evan Harris Humphrey

Innis Palmer Swift (February 7, 1882 – November 3, 1953) was a Major General in the United States Army. He was the grandson and namesake of Civil War Major General Innis Newton Palmer,[2] as well as the grandson of Brigadier General Ebenezer Swift. His four decades of military service culminated in his commanding a unit during the liberation of the Philippines in World War II.

Early life and career[edit]

Swift was born at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, the son of Major General Eben Swift and Susan Palmer.[1] He graduated from West Point in 1904 and was commissioned in the cavalry. He served as aide-de-camp to General John J. Pershing in the Philippines[1] and then served in Mexico. While a First Lieutenant commanding C Troop, 13th Cavalry, he accompanied First Lieutenant George S. Patton on the hunt for Julio Cardenas, commander of Pancho Villa's personal bodyguard.[3] During World War I he served as Assistant Chief of Staff for the 86th Division.

Swift attended the Army Command and General Staff School, graduating in 1923, and remained at the school as faculty until 1929.[4] He subsequently attended the Army War College and the Army Industrial College

In 1940 he was promoted to Brigadier General, and in 1941 to Major General and placed in command of the 1st Cavalry Division and Fort Bliss.[5] He participated in the Louisiana Maneuvers, where he coined the nickname used by army light observation aircraft when he told a pilot after a bumpy landing, "You looked just like a damn grasshopper!"[6]

World War II[edit]

He transitioned the division from horse cavalry to essentially an infantry division, though it retained "Cavalry" in the name. He took his division to Australia in July 1942 and remained in command through the Admiralty Islands campaign after which he was reassigned to command I Corps. He was the oldest U.S. Corps commander to serve in World War II.[4] After the war he remained a close personal friend of Douglas MacArthur.[7]

Private life and death[edit]

Swift married the former Lucille G. Paddock and the couple had four daughters. After retiring in 1946 he lived in San Antonio. He retained interest in his old command, staying active in the 1st Cavalry Division Association and avidly following the division's activity in Korea.[2] He died at Brooke Army Hospital after a heart attack and was buried in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d General Swift Taken by Death at San Antonio, El Paso Herald-Post, November 3, 1953, Page 1.
  2. ^ a b Gen. Swift, A Cavalryman, San Antonio Light, August 31, 1951, Page 21A.
  3. ^ D'Este, pp. 172-173.
  4. ^ a b Berlin, Robert H. “U.S. Army World War II Corps Commanders: A Composite Biography”. The Journal of Military History, Vol. 53, No. 2 (April, 1989), pp. 147-168.
  5. ^ Swift Quite a Gardener, San Antonio Light, December 12, 1947, Page 4B.
  6. ^ Graff, p. 109.
  7. ^ Gen. Swift Dies, Lubbock Evening Journal, Nov 3, 1953, Page 10.


  • D'Este, Carlo (1996). Patton: A Genius for War. New York: Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0-06-092762-2. 
  • Graff, Cory (2003). Shot to Hell: The Stories and Photos of Ravaged WWII Warbirds. St. Paul, MN: MBI Publishing Co. ISBN 0-7603-1609-0.