Wilhelm D. Styer

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Wilhelm D. Styer
Wilhelm D Styer.jpg
Born July 22, 1893 (1893-07-22)
Salt Lake City, Utah
Died February 26, 1975 (1975-02-27) (aged 81)
Coronado, California
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Emblem of the United States Department of the Army.svg United States Army
Years of service 1916-1947
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Commands held US Army Forces; Western Pacific
Battles/wars Pancho Villa Expedition
World War I
World War II
Awards Distinguished Service Medal (2)

Wilhelm Delp Styer (July 22, 1893 - February 26, 1975) was a Lieutenant General in the United States Army.


Styer was born on July 22, 1893, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was the son of Brigadier General Henry D. Styer (1862–1944), who led U.S. troops in Siberia at end of World War I.

Wilhelm Styer graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1916 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Engineers.

He served in the Pancho Villa Expedition from 1916 to 1917. Styer also served in France during World War I.

From 1919 to 1920 he served on the staff of the Office of the Chief of Engineers in Washington, D.C.

Styer received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1922.

During the 1920s Styer served in New York City as Executive Officer of the Army Corps of Engineers' First New York District, as the district's Chief Engineer, and as an Engineer in Europe for the American Battle Monuments Commission.

In 1931 Styer was appointed District Engineer for the Corps of Engineers district headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was assigned as Assistant Engineer for Maintenance at the Panama Canal in 1936, and in 1938 he was assigned to the Construction Office of the Army's Office of the Quartermaster General.

From 1940 to 1942 Styer was Deputy Chief of Construction for the War Department, receiving promotion to Brigadier General.

General Styer was Deputy Commander in Chief and Chief of Staff of Army Service Forces from 1940 to 1942 and was promoted to Major General in 1942.

From 1942 to 1945 Styer was a member of the Military Policy Committee, a group that included Admiral William Henry Purnell Blandy (1890–1954) and Brigadier General Leslie Groves (1896–1970). The MPC oversaw Development of Substitute Materials (DSM), the project that studied atomic energy during World War II and was later renamed the Manhattan Project. Styer was promoted to Lieutenant General in 1944.

In 1945 Styer was named Commander in Chief of US Army Forces—Western Pacific, based in Manila, Philippines. In this assignment he chaired the tribunal that tried and convicted General Tomoyuki Yamashita (1885–1946) for war crimes, and he signed Yamashita’s execution order. General Styer also chaired the tribunal that tried General Masaharu Homma (1887–1946), the Japanese conqueror of Bataan and Corregidor, for war crimes, and ordered Homma's execution.

General Styer retired from the Army in 1947. He died on February 26, 1975 in, Coronado, California, and his remains were cremated at Coronado Mortuary.

General Styer's medals and decorations included two awards of the Distinguished Service Medal.

He was the brother of Admiral Charles Wilkes Styer (1897–1976).


  • The Howitzer, United States Military Academy Yearbook, 1915, page 215
  • Newspaper article, Cadets go to Engineers, New York Times, September 9, 1916
  • Newspaper article, New District Engineer Takes Over His Duties, New Castle (Pennsylvania) News, September 17, 1931
  • Newspaper article, New Panama Canal Aide Arrives, New York Times, May 28, 1936
  • Newspaper article, Gen. H. D. Styer at Milestone: Man Who Led American Troops Into Siberia to Observe 80th Birthday, Los Angeles Times, September 21, 1942
  • Newspaper article, Brig. Gen. H. Styer, Led in Siberia in '18: Retired Officer Dies at 81, May 13, 1944
  • Newspaper article, Styer to Command West Pacific Yanks, Toronto Daily Star - Jun 19, 1945
  • Newspaper article, Gen. Yamashita Executed, Chicago Tribune, February 23, 1946
  • The Manhattan Project: the Birth of the Atomic Bomb in the Words of its Creators, Eyewitnesses and Historians, Cynthia C. Kelly, 2007, page 93
  • The Pentagon: A History: The Untold Story of the Wartime Race to Build the Pentagon – and to Restore it 60 Years Later, Steve Vogel, 2007, page 260
  • Magazine, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May 1995, volume 51, number 3, page 27
  • An Unplanned Life: A Memoir, George M. Elsey, 2005, page 45
  • Home of Heroes web site, Alphabetical Index of Recipients of Major Military Awards page, http://www.homeofheroes.com/verify/recipients_st.html
  • Newspaper article, Wilhelm Styer, General, 81, Dies: West Pacific Commander Executed Yamashita, New York Times, February 28, 1975
  • Newspaper article, General Styer Dies at 81, Pacific Stars and Stripes, March 2, 1975
  • Newspaper article, WW II General Dies at 81: Native Utahn, Salt Lake Tribune, February 28, 1975