Stafford LeRoy Irwin

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Stafford LeRoy Irwin
Stafford LeRoy Irwin.jpg
Nickname(s) "Red"
Born March 23, 1893
Fort Monroe, Virginia, United States
Died November 23, 1955 (aged 62)
Asheville, North Carolina, United States
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1915–1952
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Unit ArmyCAVBranchPlaque.png Cavalry Branch
USA - Army Field Artillery Insignia.png Field Artillery Branch
Commands held 5th Infantry Division
XII Corps
V Corps
Battles/wars Mexican Punitive Expedition
World War I
World War II
Awards Army Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit (2)
Silver Star
Bronze Star (2)
Relations Bernard J. D. Irwin (Grandfather)
George LeRoy Irwin (Father)

Lieutenant General Stafford LeRoy Irwin (March 23, 1893 – November 23, 1955) was a senior United States Army officer who served in World War II. He came from a family with a strong military tradition; he was the son of Major General George LeRoy Irwin, and his grandfather, Brigadier General Bernard J. D. Irwin, was a recipient of the Medal of Honor.

Biography[edit]

Early life and military career[edit]

Stafford LeRoy Irwin was born March 23, 1893, at Fort Monroe, Virginia, the son of Major General George LeRoy Irwin and his wife Marla Elizabeth. He attended the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York in 1911, at the age of 18. He graduated 40th in a class of 164 in June 1915 as a part of the West Point class of 1915, also known as "the class the stars fell on". Many of Irwin's classmates became general officers during World War II, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, Omar Bradley, Henry Aurand, John W. Leonard, James Van Fleet, Joseph May Swing, Charles W. Ryder, Paul J. Mueller, Roscoe B. Woodruff, Vernon Prichard, Leland Hobbs, and numerous others.[1]

He was subsequently commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Cavalry Branch of the United States Army on the same date of his graduation. Irwin subsequently served with the cavalry during the Pancho Villa Expedition, which was commanded by Brigadier General John J. Pershing, as a member of the 11th Cavalry Regiment in 1916 and the following year.[2]

During World War I he served initially with the 80th Field Artillery Regiment, and then was a student at the U.S. Army Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he was received promotion to the temporary rank of major but saw no service overseas as the war came to an end on November 11, 1918.[3]

Between the wars[edit]

During the interwar period Irwin, realizing the cavalry was becoming obsolete (which trench warfare and World War I had shown), transferred to the Field Artillery Branch. From 1919–1920 he was Professor of Military Science and Tactics at Yale University and from 1920–1924 was an instructor for the Oklahoma Army National Guard. Between 1929–1933 he was an instructor for the U.S. Army Field Artillery School and, from 1933–1936 served with the Organized Reserves. He attended the U.S. Army Field Artillery School in 1926, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff School from 1926–1927, and the U.S. Army War College in 1937.[4]

World War II[edit]

Stafford Irwin was the commander of artillery for the 9th Infantry Division in North Africa. He was noted for performing well during the Battle of Kasserine Pass. Following the North Africa Campaign he was given command of the 5th Infantry Division during Patton's drive across Europe.

General Stafford would finish the war as the commander of the XII Corps and serve in that position until September 1945.[citation needed]

Postwar and retirement[edit]

After the war, Irwin returned to the United States and became commander of V Corps in 1946 and director of the Military Intelligence Division in 1948. He finished his military career as the commander of U.S. Army forces in Austria from 1950 to 1952 when he retired due to medical problems.

Lt. Gen. Irwin died in 1955 of a coronary occlusion in Asheville, North Carolina.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Irwin married in 1921 to Helen (Hall) Irwin and together they had one son, Francis LeRoy. After Helen died in 1937, Irwin remarried in 1941 to Clare (Moran) Irwin. His second marriage also produced a son.

Decorations[edit]

Lieutenant General Irwin´s ribbon bar:

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
1st Row Army Distinguished Service Medal
2nd Row Silver Star Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster Army Commendation Medal
3rd Row Mexican Service Medal World War I Victory Medal American Defense Service Medal American Campaign Medal
4th Row European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with eight service stars World War II Victory Medal Army of Occupation Medal National Defense Service Medal
5th Row Commander of the Order of the British Empire Officer of the Legion of Honour French Croix de Guerre 1939–1945 with Palm Officer of the Belgian Order of Leopold II
5th Row Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940-1945 with Palm Luxembourg War Cross Military Order of the White Lion Czechoslovak War Cross 1939-1945

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Cortland T. Parker
Commanding General 5th Infantry Division
1943–1945
Succeeded by
Albert E. Brown
Preceded by
Manton S. Eddy
Commanding General XII Corps
April 1945 – September 1945
Succeeded by
Organization deactivated
Preceded by
Orlando Ward
Commanding General V Corps
1946–1948
Succeeded by
John R. Hodge