William H. Abendroth

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William Henry Abendroth, Jr.
William H. Abendroth.jpg
Abendroth as Chief, Army Division, National Guard Bureau, circa 1952
Nickname(s) Harry
Born December 24, 1895
Fort Meade, South Dakota
Died September 3, 1970(1970-09-03) (aged 74)
Washington, D.C.
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Emblem of the United States Department of the Army.svg United States Army
Years of service 1913–1919
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Unit Idaho Army National Guard
District of Columbia National Guard
National Guard Bureau
Commands held 116th Cavalry Regiment
Commandant of the IX Corps Officer Candidate School
Commandant of the IX Corps Headquarters
Adjutant General of Idaho
Chief, Army Division, National Guard Bureau
District of Columbia National Guard
Battles/wars Pancho Villa Expedition
World War I
World War II
Awards Distinguished Service Medal (U.S. Army)
Legion of Merit
Other work Purchasing Agent, Budget Director, Disbursing Officer, State of Idaho

William H. Abendroth (December 24, 1895 – September 3, 1970) was a United States Army Major General who served as Director of the Army National Guard and Commander of the District of Columbia National Guard.

Early life[edit]

William Henry Abendroth, Jr., nicknamed Harry, was the son of a career soldier who served in the American Indian Wars and the Spanish–American War before retiring as a First Sergeant and becoming an instructor in military studies at the University of Idaho.[1] The younger Abendroth was born in Fort Meade, South Dakota, on December 24, 1895. He enlisted in the Idaho National Guard in 1913, and served as a member of Company H, 2nd Idaho Infantry Regiment on the Mexican border during the Pancho Villa Expedition.[2][3]

Abendroth served with the Army in France during World War I, first in an Infantry company, and later with an Engineer unit. He achieved the rank of First Sergeant by the end of the war, and was discharged in 1919.[4]

Resumption of military service[edit]

In 1927, Abendroth rejoined the Idaho National Guard and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Cavalry. He quickly advanced through command and staff positions of increasing rank and responsibility, including serving as military aide to the Governor of Idaho with the rank of Captain.[5] He commanded the 116th Cavalry Regiment as a Colonel in the years immediately preceding the Second World War.[6][7]

Abendroth also pursued a civilian career in state government, including appointments as a Purchasing Agent and Claims Examiner in the Purchasing Department, Budget Director for the State of Idaho, Disbursing Officer in the Highway Department, and Rural Electrification Manager for Idaho Power.[8][9][10]

In 1938, Abendroth was tried on embezzlement charges, accused of taking money while working as a Purchasing Agent for the state.[11] He was charged with three counts, one each for $50, $250 and $50.[12] He received a directed verdict of acquittal from the judge after the primary witness against Abendroth impeached himself under direct examination by the prosecutor.[13]

World War II[edit]

Abendroth was called to active duty for World War II. Assigned to the Headquarters of the IX Corps, he was posted as Commandant of the Officer Candidate School, Provost Marshal for the corps area and Commandant of the corps headquarters, serving in Hawaii, the Philippines, and Japan.[14][15]

Post World War II[edit]

Upon returning to the United States Abendroth became a student at the United States Army Command and General Staff College, from which he graduated in 1946.[16]

In April, 1946 he was appointed Adjutant General of the Idaho Military Department and federal Director of Selective Service for Idaho, receiving promotion to Brigadier General.[17] He served until December, when a change in the governorship led to his resignation, enabling the new governor to appoint his own candidate.[18]

As a Colonel, Abendroth was then called to active duty, serving in the National Guard and Reserve Policy Office for the Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1947 to 1949.[19]

In 1949, Abendroth was appointed Commander of the District of Columbia National Guard. He received promotion to Major General and served until retiring in 1967, when he was succeeded by Charles L. Southward.[20][21] From 1951 to 1955, Abendroth also served as Chief of the Army Division (now Director of the Army National Guard) at the National Guard Bureau.[22][23]

Retirement and death[edit]

In retirement, Abendroth resided in Falls Church, Virginia.[24] He died at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. on September 3, 1970.[25] Abendroth is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Section 5, Lot 21.[26]

Awards and decorations[edit]

Abendroth received the Army Distinguished Service Medal at his retirement.[27] He was also a recipient of the Legion of Merit for his service in World War II.[28]


The Abendroth Trophy is awarded each year to the best Army or Air Force unit of the District of Columbia National Guard during Annual Training.[29]


  1. ^ University of Idaho, Annual Catalog, 1919, page 20
  2. ^ Marquis Who's Who, Who Was Who in American History: The Military, 1975, page 1
  3. ^ Idaho Adjutant General, Biannual Report for 1917–1918, 1918, page 24
  4. ^ National Guard Association of the United States, Official Proceedings, Volumes 87–92, 1965, page 154
  5. ^ United Press International, Bend Bulletin, Troops on Guard in Strike Zone, August 4, 1936
  6. ^ Associated Press, Spokane Spokesman-Review, National Guard Leader resigns, April 18, 1946
  7. ^ Who Was Who in American History - the Military. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1975. p. 1. ISBN 0837932017. 
  8. ^ U.S. House Agriculture Committee, Hearing Record, Exempt Certain Publicly Maintained Institutions from Processing Taxes, 1934, page 20
  9. ^ Library of Congress, Monthly checklist of state publications, 1936, page 181
  10. ^ Idaho Adjutant General, Annual Report for 1937–1938, page 16
  11. ^ Idaho Evening Gazette, Abendroth "Jury Selection Opens", May 16, 1938
  12. ^ Associated Press, Lewiston Morning Tribune, "Abendroth Jury is Selected", May 17, 1938
  13. ^ Salt Lake City Tribune, "Gets Directed Verdict," May 18, 1938
  14. ^ Marquis Who's Who, Who Was Who in America, Volume 5, 1973, page 1
  15. ^ National Guard Association of the United States, The National Guardsman, Volume 5, 1951, page 18
  16. ^ Marquis Who's Who, Who Was Who in American History: The Military, 1975, page 1
  17. ^ Associated Press, Spokane Spokesman-Review, "Adjutant General of Idaho Resigns", April 17, 1946
  18. ^ Associated Press, Spokane Spokesman-Review, "National Guard Leader Resigns", April 18, 1946
  19. ^ Associated Press, Spokane Spokesman-Review, "Gen. Abendroth Gets War Department Post", December 23, 1946
  20. ^ New York Times, "Col. Abendroth in New Post", July 17, 1949
  21. ^ National Guard Association of the United States, The National Guardsman, Volume 21, 1967, page 45
  22. ^ Associated Press, Lewiston Morning Tribune, "Ex-Idaho Guardsman Heads National Guard", October 23, 1951
  23. ^ New York Times, "Army Names Eddleman Deputy Chief for Plans", October 13, 1955
  24. ^ Social Security Death Index, entry for William H. Abendroth
  25. ^ Army and Navy Journal, Incorporated, Armed Forces Journal International, Volume 108, Issues 1–12, 1970, page 47
  26. ^ Arlington National Cemetery, entry for William H. Abendroth], accessed May 17, 2013
  27. ^ Military Times, Hall of Valor, Army Distinguished Service Medal citation, William H. Abendroth, accessed May 17, 2013
  28. ^ Marquis Who's Who, Who Was Who in American History: The Military, 1975, page 1
  29. ^ District of Columbia National Guard, DC Guardian magazine, Winter, 2011, page 8

External resources[edit]