Lt. Gen. Charles D. Herron

Charles D. Herron

Lt. Gen. Charles D. Herron commanded the US Army, Pacific (Hawaiian Department) from 1938 until his mandatory retirement in March of 1941. The son of a Civil War veteran, he served in the Philippines as well as in World War I. His experience was in two different branches of the Army - first in the Infantry and later in the Field Artillery.

After two years at Wabash College in Indiana he attended and graduated from West Point in 1899. He later received a Master of Arts and doctor of law degrees from Wabash and attended the Army Staff College along with Gen. George Marshall. Before World War I, Herron served as an instructor at West Point where he taught George Patton and his relief instructor was Douglas MacArthur.

During World War I, Herron served on Gen. Pershing's staff before becoming the deputy chief of staff for the 1st Infantry Division. He then became Chief of Staff for the 78th Division of the American Expeditionary Force. He participated in the Meuse-Argonne offensive and the occupation of St. Mihiel.

After the war he attended the Army War College. He then served on the General Staff in Washington and as Chief of Staff for the Philippine Department in Manila. Back in Washington he served as Executive for Reserve Affairs. One of his aides in this assignment was Dwight Eisenhower. Before moving to Hawaii he commanded the 6th Field Artillery in Chicago.

In Hawaii, Gen. Herron advocated for the integration of Japanese-Americans into the Organized Reserve since he believed they were loyal to the US over their ancestry. While this was not a popular opinion, his efforts helped keep the Japanese-Americans in Hawaii from being interned once the war broke out. Herron was also concerned about the defense of Hawaii, citing its vulnerability to attack by aircraft carrier. During his command of the Hawaiian Department, he received a promotion to lieutenant general in July 1940.

During World War II Herron was recalled to active duty and served under Gen. Marshall at the War Department in Washington. As a member of the Personnel Board he displayed expertise in identifying generals for promotion and the evaluation of officers. His second retirement came in December 1946.

For his valor in the First World War, Gen. Herron earned the Distinguished Service Medal. He also received the Spanish War Service Medal, the Philippine Campaign Medal, the Mexican Border Service Medal, the World War I Victory Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the French Legion of Honor and the Panamanian Medal of La Solidaridad. He died on 23 April 1977 at the age of 100. 

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