Roscoe B. Woodruff

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Roscoe Barnett Woodruff
File:General Roscoe Woodruff 1942 c.jpg
General Roscoe Barnett Woodruff at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, 1942. U.S. Army Signal Corps photo.
Born (1891-02-09)February 9, 1891
Oskaloosa, Iowa
Died April 24, 1975(1975-04-24) (aged 84)
San Antonio, Texas
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Years of service 1913-1952
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Commands held 77th Infantry Division (United States) 77th Infantry Division
VII Corps (United States) VII Corps
24th Infantry Division (United States) 24th Infantry Division
Battles/wars Mexican Border Service
World War I
World War II
*Battle of Mindanao
Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Bronze Star
Purple Heart
Commendation Ribbon

Roscoe Barnett Woodruff (February 9, 1891 – April 24, 1975) was a career U.S. Army officer who served in World War I and as a combat division and corps commander in both European and Pacific theaters of World War II.

Education and early career

Woodruff was the first captain of the corps of cadets and 1915 graduate of the United States Military Academy, often referred to as "the class the stars fell on" for the large number of World War II generals from its ranks. His classmates included future World War II generals and commanding officers, Dwight Eisenhower and Omar N. Bradley.

After graduation, he served on the Mexican border and with the 2nd Infantry Division (United States) in World War I. Major Woodruff attended various Service Schools and served as an instructor in the Department of Tactics at the U.S. Military Academy. In 1938, Lieutenant Colonel Woodruff served in the War Department General Staff operations and tactics section.

World War II

As a colonel, he commanded the 2nd Infantry Division's 23rd Infantry Regiment (United States) then posted at Fort Sam Houston, Texas from July 1941 to January 1942. His West Point classmate, Dwight Eisenhower also arrived there as newly appointed Third United States Army Chief of Staff in June 1941 and promoted to brigadier general in September 1941. Both men were at Fort Sam Houston during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.

With the nation now at war, he was promoted to Brigadier General and assistant division commander of the 77th Infantry Division. From June 1942 to May 1943, Woodruff took full command of the division during its pre-deployment training in Fort Jackson, South Carolina prior to its assignment to the Pacific Theater in the spring of 1944.

In 1943, he took command of VII Corps in England. Eisenhower, now Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, initially selected Woodruff as one of three corps commanders along with Leonard T. Gerow and Willis D. Crittenberger commander of XIX Corps for the 1944 Allied or D-Day invasion of France. All three were well known and trusted by Eisenhower.[1]

When Woodruff's West Point classmate, General Omar Bradley was selected as commander for the invasion in October 1943, Bradley's concern was that Gerow and Woodruff both lacked experience in amphibious landings or combat command of divisions and corps. Gerow was retained, but Crittenberger moved to command a reserve corps in the Italian campaign and Woodruff was shuffled off to command XIX Corps, Crittenberger's former command for a several weeks, then returned to the United States to command the 84th Infantry Division, then in training at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, from March to June 1944.[2]

In November 1944, Woodruff's chance at large-scale combat command finally came as commander in the Southwest Pacific of the 24th Infantry Division. His welcoming reception in theater was celebrated at the paratroop headquarters, fueled with five gallons of torpedo alcohol, furnished by Navy patrol boat sailors, as the key ingredient for liquid refreshments. He led his command in the five month Battle of Mindanao to liberate that island of Philippine archipelago from Japanese occupation in the closing phases of the Leyte campaign.[3]

Post-War and Cold War Era

In November 1945, Woodruff became commander of Eighth United States Army's I Corps, part of the allied occupation force in southern Japan.[4][5]

From February 1948 to March 1951, Woodruff was deputy commanding general of U.S. First Army at Fort Jay, Governors Island, New York.[6] Woodruff assumed the role of commanding general in January to March 1949 upon the retirement of General Courtney Hodges and again from October to November 1950 after the General Walter Bedell Smith was appointed the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

In 1951, he took command of XV Corps at Camp Polk (now Fort Polk), Louisiana.[7] There he retired as a major general in January 1953 after 41 years of active duty.[8]

He and his wife, Alice Gray Woodruff retired to San Antonio, Texas where he died on July 24, 1975. He was buried in the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.

Awards and decorations

Notes

  1. D'Este, p. 487-488
  2. D'Este, p. 487-488
  3. Morison, p.49.
  4. Corps - A Brief History - 1862-1953
  5. New York Times, March 9, 1948.
  6. New York Times, March 9, 1948.
  7. New York Times, February 20, 1951
  8. New York Times, February 1, 1953

References

  • Ray, Max (1980). The History of the First United States Army From 1918 to 1980. Fort Meade MD: First United States Army.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Courtney Hodges
Commanding General of the First United States Army
1949 – 1949
Succeeded by
Walter Bedell Smith
Preceded by
Walter Bedell Smith
Commanding General of the First United States Army
1950 – 1950
Succeeded by
Willis D. Crittenberger