Maj. Gen. Fox Conner
Maj. Gen. Fox Conner commanded the US Army, Pacific, then called the Hawaiian Department, Fort Shafter, Territory of Hawaii, from January 1928 to October 1930. Commissioned in 1898 into the artillery, he saw action in the Spanish-American War as well as World War I. The son of a Confederate veteran who was blinded at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862, he always wanted a military career.
Conner attended the US Military Academy and later taught at the Army War College. While he never commanded troops in battle, he had a very distinguished career as a staff officer and mentor for future notable military leaders. He was described by Gen. Dwight Eisenhower as "…the ablest man I ever knew."
During World War I, Conner served on Gen. Pershing's staff as chief of operations for the American Expeditionary Force. One of the members of his team was then Lt. Col. George Marshall. During the conflict, nearly every US action came under his influence, and after the war Gen. Conner helped shape the future of the Army through the National Defense Act of 1920.
From 1921-1925, Conner commanded a brigade in Panama, where he mentored his hand-picked executive officer, Gen. Eisenhower. At the time, Eisenhower was struggling in his military career, but he came away from that assignment with a renewed sense of purpose, thanks to Gen. Conner. He especially impressed upon Eisenhower the need to work together with allies. He was also a mentor for Gen. George Patton. Gen. Conner perceived that a Second World War was inevitable because of the inequitable end to World War I, so he felt it was highly important to train future leaders to lead the US in combat.
In the inter-war years Conner held several important positions. One of these was mobilizing 24,000 men for the Civilian Corps in New England in 1933. This assignment came from President Roosevelt.
Gen. Conner retired in 1938, before the outbreak of World War II, yet the officers he mentored continued to consult with him throughout the war. Among the citations he earned were the Distinguished Service Medal and the French Croix de Guerre. He died on 13 October 1951.
USARPAC postures and prepares the force for unified land operations, responds to threats, sustains and protects the force, and builds military relationships that develop partner defense capacity in order to contribute to a stable and secure U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility.
Vincent K. Brooks