James Edward Wharton

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James Edward Wharton
James Edward Wharton.jpg
Born (1894-12-02)December 2, 1894
Elk, Chaves County, New Mexico
Died August 12, 1944(1944-08-12) (aged 49)
Sourdeval, Normandy, France
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1917–1944
Rank US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General
Service number O-7025[1]
Unit USA - Army Infantry Insignia.png Infantry Branch
Commands held 1st Engineer Special Brigade
28th Infantry Division

World War I
World War II

Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Purple Heart

Brigadier General James Edward Wharton (December 2, 1894 — August 12, 1944) was a career United States Army officer who briefly commanded the 28th Infantry Division in the Battle of Normandy before being killed in action during World War II.

Early life and military career[edit]

Wharton was born in Elk, Chaves County, New Mexico on December 2, 1894.[2] He grew up in New Mexico and Arizona, and graduated from the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts at New Mexico State University in 1917.[3] He received his commission as a second lieutenant through the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC).[4]

Wharton was commissioned in the Infantry Branch. His World War I and subsequent assignments included the 62nd and 57th Infantry Regiments in the Philippines, and he later served at Camp Fremont, Fort Benning, Fort Lee, and with the 3rd U.S. Infantry at Fort Snelling.[5][6][7] Wharton also served as an instructor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.[8][9]

In addition to graduating from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Wharton was a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College, United States Army War College, and Army Industrial College.[10][11]

World War II and death[edit]

Wharton (left), escorts Admiral Harold Stark on Utah Beach.

He was Chief of the Officer Branch in the Personnel Division (G-1) of the War Department General Staff when the United States entered World War II.[12] In March, 1942, he was promoted to the temporary rank of brigadier general as Director of the Military Personnel Division in the Army Services of Supply.[13]

In 1943 he served as Assistant Division Commander of the 80th Infantry Division during its creation and initial training.[14]

Wharton commanded the 1st Engineer Special Brigade on Utah Beach as part of the D-Day landings in Normandy.[15] Engineer Special Brigades were large organizations (15 to 20 thousand soldiers) which were responsible for transferring equipment and personnel off the beachheads and making them available for assault operations.[16]

After the D-Day invasion he served as Assistant Division Commander of the 9th Infantry Division.[17]

On August 12, 1944 Wharton succeeded Lloyd Brown as Commanding General (CG) of the 28th Infantry Division.[18] On the same day that Wharton took command, he was visiting his front line units in order to gain an understanding of their current situation. He was shot and killed by a German sniper while at the command post of the 112th Infantry Regiment near Sourdeval, Normandy, France.[19] He was succeeded in command of the 28th Infantry Division by Norman Cota.

Wharton was temporarily interred in France. He was later buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Section 34, Site 1198.[20]


Wharton received the Legion of Merit for superior service with the Services of Supply.[21]

He was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal for his achievements with the 1st Engineer Special Brigade and the 80th and 9th Infantry Divisions.[22]

He was also awarded the Purple Heart.[23]


In 1952 the 112th Infantry Regiment was stationed in Heilbronn, Germany when the 28th Division was activated for the Korean War. The casern used as its headquarters was christened Wharton Barracks.[24] Wharton Barracks was closed in 1989.


In 1921 Wharton married Madelyn Burke of Petersburg, Virginia (1893-1952).[25][26] Their children included sons Edward B. (1927-1991) and Robert H. (born 1929). Robert H. Wharton became a priest in 1954.[27][28][29][30]


  1. ^ U.S. Rosters of World War II Dead, 1939-1945, entry for James E. Wharton, retrieved March 4, 2014
  2. ^ Port of San Francisco, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1957, U.S. Army Transport Thomas, entry for James E Wharton, April 26, 1923, page 107, retrieved February 28, 2014
  3. ^ New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, Annual Catalogue, 1919, pages 144, 165, 172, 205
  4. ^ U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, entry for James Edward Wharton, retrieved February 28, 2014
  5. ^ New Mexico World War I Records, 1917-1919, entry for James Edward Wharton, retrieved March 4, 2014
  6. ^ Army and Navy Register, The Army, April 23, 1921, page 417
  7. ^ Russell K. Brown, Fallen in Battle: American General Officer Combat Fatalities from 1775, 1988, page 153
  8. ^ Annual Report, 1936, page 3
  9. ^ Virginia Adjutant General, Annual Report, 1921, page 50
  10. ^ Wilson Allen Heefner, Twentieth Century Warrior: The Life and Service of Major General Edwin D. Patrick, 1995, page 61
  11. ^ Army and Navy Journal, Inc., The Army, 1940, Volume 77, Issues 27-52, page 606
  12. ^ John Greenwood, Normandy to Victory.
  13. ^ John Greenwood, editor, Normandy to Victory: The War Diary of General Courtney H. Hodges, 2008, page 429
  14. ^ Associated Press, Brig. Gen. Wharton Killed in Action, August 18, 1944
  15. ^ Joseph Balkoski, Utah Beach: The Amphibious Landing and Airborne Operations on D-Day, page xviii
  16. ^ Alfred M. Beck, Technical Services, the Corps of Engineers, the War Against Germany, 1985, Page 337
  17. ^ United States Department of the Army Historical Division, United States Army in World War II: The War Department, Volume 6, 1961, page 511
  18. ^ Turner Publishing, 28th Infantry (Keystone) Division (Mechanized):125 Years of Service, 2005, page 43
  19. ^ Russell K. Brown, Fallen in Battle
  20. ^ U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962, entry for James E Wharton, retrieved February 28, 2014
  21. ^ Pennsylvania National Guard Military Museum, Biography, James E. Wharton, 2009
  22. ^ Military Times, Hall of Valor, Award Recipient: James E. Wharton, retrieved February 28, 2014
  23. ^ Arlington Cemetery.net, James E. Wharton, Brigadier General, United States Army, retrieved February 28, 2014
  24. ^ Stars and Stripes, 112th RCT Dedicates Heilbronn Barracks to Gen Wharton, June 25, 2952
  25. ^ Army Navy Register, Married, March 5, 1921, page 233
  26. ^ The News (Frederick Maryland), Obituary, Mrs. James E. Wharton, February 23, 1952
  27. ^ Gettysburg Times, Mount Grad Will Head Department, September 29, 1965
  28. ^ U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014,entry for Edward B. Wharton, retrieved February 28, 2014
  29. ^ U.S. Army World War II Enlistment Records, 1938-1946, entry for Edward B. Wharton, retrieved February 28, 2014
  30. ^ U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010, entry for Edward B. Wharton, retrieved February 24, 2014

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Lloyd D. Brown
Commanding General of the 28th Infantry Division
August 1944–August 1944
Succeeded by
Norman Cota