John L. Hines

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John Leonard Hines
File:John L. Hines.jpg
General John L. Hines
Born (1868-05-21)May 21, 1868
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Died Script error: The function "death_date_and_age" does not exist.
Washington, D.C.
Place of burial
Arlington National Cemetery, Section 7, Lot 8001
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Emblem of the United States Department of the Army.svg United States Army
Years of service 1891–1932
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General (ret.)
Commands held 1st Brigade, 1st Division
5th Division
2nd Division
VIII Corps Area
Army Chief of Staff
IX Corps Area
Department of the Philippines
Battles/wars Spanish–American War
Philippine–American War
World War I
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Medal
Légion d'honneur
Croix de guerre

John Leonard Hines (May 21, 1868 – October 13, 1968) was an American soldier who served as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from 1924 to 1926.[1]

Early career

Born in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia,[2] to Irish parents, Edward and Mary, Hines graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and was commissioned as a second lieutenant of Infantry on June 12, 1891.[1] His first assignment was to the 2nd Infantry Regiment. Hines served with the regiment in Nebraska and Montana from 1891 to 1898[3] where he married Harriet Schofield "Rita" Wherry, one of the daughters of Brigadier General William M. Wherry and Alice Grammer.[4]

Hines served in Cuba during the Spanish–American War and in the Philippines during the Philippine–American War. In 1898 he was elected as a Veteran Companion of the Pennsylvania Commandery of the Military Order of Foreign Wars.

He was adjutant of the Mexican Punitive Expedition in 1916–17 under General John J. Pershing.[1]

World War I

During World War I, Hines experienced a meteoric rise in rank as he was promoted from major to lieutenant colonel in May 1917, then to colonel (November 1917), brigadier general (April 1918), and, in August 1918, to temporary major general—four grades in 16 months. He assumed successively larger commands—from regiment to brigade, division, and finally, corps.[5]

Hines commanded the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, from May to August 1918 during which Hines time he received the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest U.S. Army decoration for valor, for "extraordinary heroism in action near Berzy-le-Sec, France, July 21, 1918."

On August 16, 1918, Hines took command of 4th Division.[6] Hines commanded the 4th ID during the American operations at St. Mihiel and in the Meuse-Argonne[1] until October 11, 1918.[6] Hines then took command of III Corps, leading it during the final engagements of the war and the occupation of Germany.

Post war

Hines was promoted to permanent major general in March 1921. His post-war commands included the 5th Division, the 2nd Division and the VIII Corps Area.[1]

File:John L Hines painting.jpg
Oil painting of Hines

In December 1922, he was assigned as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, and became Army Chief of Staff on September 14, 1924.[3] His Army biography states that as Chief of Staff, he "stressed the need for balance in funding and personnel for all parts of the permanent establishment, pointed up the effects of strength deficiencies upon Army capability to meet the provisions of the National Defense Act of 1920, and urged action on housing and promotions to promote personnel retention."[7]

On May 7, 1925 Hines dedicated the landing field at the Vancouver Barracks in Vancouver, Washington to the memory of Lieutenant Alexander Pearson, Jr. who was killed on September 2, 1924 in Fairfield, Ohio while flying the Curtiss R-8 in preparation for the upcoming Pulitzer Trophy Race.[8]

In 1926, after completing his tour as Army Chief of Staff, Hines took command of the IX Corps Area in California, which he led until 1930. In 1930, Hines became commanding general of the Department of the Philippines.


Hines retired in May 1932.[3] He was promoted to the rank of full (4 star) general on the retired list by a Special Act of Congress on June 15, 1940.

General Hines died in Washington, DC, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center at age 100. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[1] The only American generals to have celebrated their 100th birthdays are John L. Hines and James Van Fleet as of 2006.

Family and Legacy

On May 5, 2000, the United States Postal Service issued the Distinguished Soldiers stamps in which Hines was honored.[5]

Hines' son, Col. John L. Hines, Jr. (1905–1986), served in World War II with the 6th Armored Division, commanding the division's Combat Command A from November 1944 to March 1945. He was twice decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross and was severely wounded outside Frankfurt, Germany when an 88 mm antitank shell grazed his face.[9]

Dates of rank

Note that the date indicated is the date of rank. In some cases, the promotion was accepted at a later date.[10]

Awards and decorations

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 GO 56 General Orders No. 56 HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY. Secretary of the Army. 2010-05-24. URL: Accessed: 2010-05-24. (Archived by WebCite at
  2. Christian Albert Bach; Henry Noble Hall (1920). The Fourth Division: Its Services and Achievements in the World War. Garden City, NY: Country Life Press. p. 128. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Tucker, Spencer (2009). The Encyclopedia of the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars. New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN 1-85109-951-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. West Virginia history, Volume 38,West Virginia. Dept. of Archives and History, 1976, p. 227
  5. 5.0 5.1 United States Postal Service – USA Philatelic. Distinguished Soldiers (2000). Beyond the Perf – Issue 12. 2010-05-24. URL: Accessed: 2010-05-24. (Archived by WebCite at
  6. 6.0 6.1 Christian Albert Bach; Henry Noble Hall (1920). The Fourth Division: Its Services and Achievements in the World War. Garden City, NY: Country Life Press. p. 281. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Bell, William Gardner (2005). "John Leonard Hines". Commanding Generals and Chiefs of Staff: Portraits and Biographical Sketchs. United States Army Center of Military History. pp. 116–117.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Alley, William (2006). Pearson Field. New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-7385-3129-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. George Smith Patton; Paul Donal Harkins (19950508). War as I knew it. Mariner Books. p. 275. ISBN 0-395-73529-7. Check date values in: |year= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Official Army Register. January 1, 1941. The Office of the Adjutant General. Washington, D.C. 1941. pg. 1084.
Military offices
Preceded by
John J. Pershing
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Succeeded by
Charles P. Summerall