James Edward Wharton
|James Edward Wharton|
December 2, 1894|
Elk, Chaves County, New Mexico
|Died||August 12, 1944
Sourdeval, Normandy, France
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1917–1944|
|Commands held||1st Engineer Special Brigade
28th Infantry Division
|Awards||Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
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
Wharton was born in Elk, Chaves County, New Mexico on December 2, 1894. 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. He received his commission as a second lieutenant through the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC).
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. Wharton also served as an instructor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
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.
World War II and death
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. 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.
Wharton commanded the 1st Engineer Special Brigade on Utah Beach as part of the D-Day landings in Normandy. 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.
On August 12, 1944 Wharton succeeded Lloyd Brown as Commanding General (CG) of the 28th Infantry Division. 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. He was succeeded in command of the 28th Infantry Division by Norman Cota.
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. Wharton Barracks was closed in 1989.
In 1921 Wharton married Madelyn Burke of Petersburg, Virginia (1893-1952). Their children included sons Edward B. (1927-1991) and Robert H. (born 1929). Robert H. Wharton became a priest in 1954.
- U.S. Rosters of World War II Dead, 1939-1945, entry for James E. Wharton, retrieved March 4, 2014
- 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
- New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, Annual Catalogue, 1919, pages 144, 165, 172, 205
- U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, entry for James Edward Wharton, retrieved February 28, 2014
- New Mexico World War I Records, 1917-1919, entry for James Edward Wharton, retrieved March 4, 2014
- Army and Navy Register, The Army, April 23, 1921, page 417
- Russell K. Brown, Fallen in Battle: American General Officer Combat Fatalities from 1775, 1988, page 153
- Annual Report, 1936, page 3
- Virginia Adjutant General, Annual Report, 1921, page 50
- Wilson Allen Heefner, Twentieth Century Warrior: The Life and Service of Major General Edwin D. Patrick, 1995, page 61
- Army and Navy Journal, Inc., The Army, 1940, Volume 77, Issues 27-52, page 606
- John Greenwood, Normandy to Victory.
- John Greenwood, editor, Normandy to Victory: The War Diary of General Courtney H. Hodges, 2008, page 429
- Associated Press, Brig. Gen. Wharton Killed in Action, August 18, 1944
- Joseph Balkoski, Utah Beach: The Amphibious Landing and Airborne Operations on D-Day, page xviii
- Alfred M. Beck, Technical Services, the Corps of Engineers, the War Against Germany, 1985, Page 337
- United States Department of the Army Historical Division, United States Army in World War II: The War Department, Volume 6, 1961, page 511
- Turner Publishing, 28th Infantry (Keystone) Division (Mechanized):125 Years of Service, 2005, page 43
- Russell K. Brown, Fallen in Battle
- U.S. National Cemetery Interment Control Forms, 1928-1962, entry for James E Wharton, retrieved February 28, 2014
- Pennsylvania National Guard Military Museum, Biography, James E. Wharton, 2009
- Military Times, Hall of Valor, Award Recipient: James E. Wharton, retrieved February 28, 2014
- Arlington Cemetery.net, James E. Wharton, Brigadier General, United States Army, retrieved February 28, 2014
- Stars and Stripes, 112th RCT Dedicates Heilbronn Barracks to Gen Wharton, June 25, 2952
- Army Navy Register, Married, March 5, 1921, page 233
- The News (Frederick Maryland), Obituary, Mrs. James E. Wharton, February 23, 1952
- Gettysburg Times, Mount Grad Will Head Department, September 29, 1965
- U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014,entry for Edward B. Wharton, retrieved February 28, 2014
- U.S. Army World War II Enlistment Records, 1938-1946, entry for Edward B. Wharton, retrieved February 28, 2014
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010, entry for Edward B. Wharton, retrieved February 24, 2014
- Army Distinguished Service Medal, James E. Wharton at Military Times Hall of Valor
- James Edward Wharton at Arlington Cemetery.net
- James Edward Wharton at Find a Grave
Lloyd D. Brown
|Commanding General of the 28th Infantry Division
August 1944–August 1944