Malin Craig

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Malin Craig
Craig as Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Born(1875-08-05)August 5, 1875
Saint Joseph, Missouri
DiedJuly 25, 1945(1945-07-25) (aged 69)
Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, D.C.
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1898–1939
Commands heldChief of Staff of the United States Army
United States Army War College
Panama Canal Zone
United States Army Cavalry School
Battles/warsSpanish–American War
China Relief Expedition
Philippine–American War
World War I World War II
AwardsArmy Distinguished Service Medal (3)

Malin Craig (August 5, 1875 – July 25, 1945) was a general in the United States Army who served as the 14th Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1935 to 1939. He was recalled to active duty during World War II.[1]

Early life[edit]

Craig was born on August 5, 1875 in Saint Joseph, Missouri. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York on June 20, 1894, where he was a classmate of future generals Conrad S. Babcock, Lytle Brown, Fox Conner, William E. Cole, Robert C. Davis, Berkeley Enochs, Amos Fries, James B. Gowen, Guy Henry, Manus MacCloskey, Thomas E. Merrill, George A. Nugent, Marcellus G. Spinks, David L. Stone or William P. Wooten.[2]

Early career[edit]

Craig graduated from West Point on April 26, 1898 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Infantry branch, assigned to the 4th Infantry Regiment. He transferred to the Cavalry on June 23 and served with the 6th Cavalry Regiment in the Santiago Campaign, the United States invasion of Cuba during the Spanish–American War.[2] After his return from Cuba, Craig transferred to the 4th Cavalry Regiment, serving in Wyoming and Oklahoma until 1900, when he served in the China Relief Expedition and in the Philippine Insurrection until 1902. He was promoted to first lieutenant on February 2, 1901,[2] transferring back to the 6th Cavalry.[3]

Craig attended the Infantry and Cavalry School from 1903 to 1904 and the Staff College from 1904 to 1905. He was promoted to captain on May 7, 1904,[2] assigned to the 10th Cavalry Regiment and later the 1st Cavalry Regiment. Craig was garrisoned as a regimental quartermaster at Fort Clark in Kinney, Texas from 1906 to 1909. He would go on to graduate from the Army War College in 1910 and serve in a variety of administrative positions, most notable of which was assigning troops to their regiments. He would then serve with the 1st Cavalry Regiment of the western United States in 1912, then became an instructor at Fort Leavenworth located in Leavenworth, Kansas in 1916 until 1917, when he was moved to the General Staff Corps.[4]

World War I[edit]

Craig was promoted to major on May 15, 1917, shortly after the United States entered World War I. He was promoted to temporary lieutenant colonel on August 17 and temporary colonel on March 27, 1918.[5]

Craig served in France during World War I as chief of staff to General Hunter Liggett in the 41st Infantry Division and later in I Corps, where he was promoted to temporary brigadier general on July 11, 1918. He then became chief of staff of the Third Army.[5] He received the Army Distinguished Service Medal for his service during the war. His citation reads as follows:

General Craig served in turn as Chief of Staff of a division, a corps, and an Army, in each of which capacities he exhibited great ability. His personal influence, aggressiveness, and untiring efforts were repeatedly displayed in the operations of the 1st Corps in the vicinity of Chateau-Thierry, on the Oureq, and the Vesle during the St. Mihiel and Argonne-Meuse offensives.[6]

Interwar period[edit]

Craig as Chief of Cavalry in 1924

After the war, Craig reverted to his permanent rank of major on August 15, 1919 but was promoted to colonel on July 1, 1920 and to brigadier general only 15 days later.

When Craig was promoted to colonel, he was put in command of the District of Arizona in 1920 and became the commandant of the Cavalry School from 1921 to 1923, after his promotion to brigadier general in April 1921.[4] He served as Chief of Cavalry with the rank of major general from July 24, 1924 to March 20, 1926.[5] He was succeeded by Herbert B. Crosby, after which he was assigned to command the Panama Canal Zone.

Chief of Staff[edit]

Army portrait of Craig

Craig served as president of the Army War College in 1935, before being selected as Chief of Staff of the United States Army. He served as Chief of Staff from October 2, 1935 to August 31, 1939, succeeding General Douglas MacArthur and preceding George C. Marshall. That appointment carried with it a temporary promotion to full (four star) general.[5]

As Chief of Staff of the Army, Craig pointed out to Congress the army's lack of preparedness in manpower and material, stressed the necessity of lead time in military preparedness, focused attention on army planning, and, within governmental constraints, prepared the army for World War II. He retired, with the rank of general, on August 31, 1939 after forty-one years of active duty service. Upon his retirement, he received a second Distinguished Service Medal for his service as Army Chief of Staff.

World War II and death[edit]

Craig's retirement was short-lived, however. On September 26, 1941, with war on the horizon, he was recalled to active duty to head the War Department's Personnel Board, a body responsible for selecting individuals who were to receive direct commissions in the army. He headed the board until shortly before his death.

Craig died at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. on July 25, 1945, where he had been ill for the previous year.[1] He was posthumously awarded a third Distinguished Service Medal and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[5]

Personal life[edit]

In April 1901, Craig married Genevieve Woodruff, a daughter of General Charles Woodruff.[3] They were the parents of a son, Malin Craig Jr. (1902–1981).[7] Malin Craig Jr. was a career Army officer and World War II veteran who retired as a colonel.[7] After his military retirement, he taught geometry in the public schools of Montgomery County, Maryland.[7]

Craig was a son of Army officer Louis A. Craig and Georgie (Malin) Craig.[8] His siblings included Louis A. Craig.[8]


Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
1st Row Army Distinguished Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
2nd Row Spanish Campaign Medal China Relief Expedition Medal Philippine Campaign Medal Mexican Border Service Medal
3rd Row World War I Victory Medal with five battle clasps Army of Occupation of Germany Medal American Defense Service Medal American Campaign Medal
4th Row World War II Victory Medal Companion of the Order of the Bath (United Kingdom) Commandeur of the Legion of Honor (France) Croix de guerre 1914–1918 with Palm (France)
5th Row Commander of the Order of the Crown (Belgium) Commander of the Order of the Crown of Italy Order of Abdon Calderón, 1st Class (Ecuador) Missouri State Medal of Merit

Dates of rank[edit]

No insignia Cadet, United States Military Academy: June 20, 1894
No pin insignia in 1898 Second lieutenant, Regular Army: April 26, 1898
US-O2 insignia.svg First lieutenant, Regular Army: February 2, 1901
US-O3 insignia.svg Captain, Regular Army: May 7, 1904
US-O4 insignia.svg Major, Regular Army: May 15, 1917
US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant colonel, National Army: August 17, 1917
(Date of rank August 5, 1917.)
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel, National Army: March 27, 1918
(Date of rank February 6, 1918.)
US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier general, National Army: July 11, 1918
(Date of rank June 26, 1918.)
US-O4 insignia.svg Major, Regular Army: August 15, 1919
(Reverted to permanent rank.)
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel, Regular Army: July 1, 1920
US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier general, Regular Army: July 16, 1920
(Date of rank July 3, 1920.)
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel, Regular Army: March 4, 1921
(Reverted to permanent rank.)
US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier general, Regular Army: May 9, 1921
(Date of rank was April 28, 1921.)
US-O8 insignia.svg Major general, temporary: July 24, 1924
US-O8 insignia.svg Major general, Regular Army: March 21, 1926
US-O10 insignia.svg General, temporary: October 2, 1935
US-O10 insignia.svg General, Retired List: August 31, 1939
US-O10 insignia.svg General, Retired on Active Duty: September 26, 1941
(Recalled to active duty.)



  1. ^ a b "Gen. Craig Is Dead. Ex-Chief Of Staff. Distinguished Army Leader Succumbs in Washington After a Year's Illness. Planned 1918 Battles. Helped Map the Strategy for Our Offensives in France. Enlisted Man's Champion Forty Years a Soldier Had Scholastic Difficulty Served With First Corps Sought Increase in Army". New York Times. July 26, 1945.
  2. ^ a b c d Davis, pp. 85–86
  3. ^ a b Bell 2013, p. 124.
  4. ^ a b Tucker, Spencer C., ed. World War II: the definitive encyclopedia and document collection. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, an imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2016. Web. p. 475
  5. ^ a b c d e Davis, p. 86
  6. ^ "Malin Craig". Military Times Hall of Valor. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "Malin Craig Jr., 79, a Retired Colonel in Army Field Artillery". Washington Post. Washington, DC. June 24, 1981.
  8. ^ a b "Mrs. Stout Dies, Sister of Gen. Craig". Plainfield Courier-News. Plainfield, NJ. April 10, 1944. p. 13 – via
  9. ^ Official Register of Commissioned Officers of the United States Army, 1944. pg. 1122.


Further reading[edit]

  • "Craig, Malin". 1999. American National Biography. 5.
Military offices
Preceded by
Douglas MacArthur
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Succeeded by
George C. Marshall