Lt. Gen. John W. O'Daniel

John W. O'Daniel

Lt. Gen. John W. O'Daniel commanded the US Army, Pacific from September 1952 to April 1954. A veteran of both world wars and Korea, the most famous soldier he commanded was Audie Murphy. Commissioned in 1917 through the Reserve Officers Training Camp into the Infantry, he graduated that same year from the University of Delaware.

During World War I, O'Daniel took part in the offensives of Meuse-Argonne and St. Mihiel where he was wounded in action. During World War II, he took command of the 168th Infantry in North Africa which captured Algiers. In 1943 he served as deputy commander for the 3rd Infantry Division that landed in Sicily. In 1944 he commanded the 3rd Division in Italy. He led that same division in Germany where it broke through the Siegfried Line, crossed the Rhine, and captured Munich and Nuremburg. German Field Marshal Kesselring, who surrendered to him, said that the 3rd Division was "the best we faced." Gen. O'Daniel lost his son, a paratrooper, over Holland in 1944.

After the war, O'Daniel was named Military Attache to the Soviet Union in 1948. In 1951 he commanded I Corps in Korea before taking the Hawaiian command. His final assignment before retirement was Chief of the Military Assistance Advisory Group for Indo-China. After withdrawal of French forces there, he helped train the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN).

Among Gen. O'Daniel's awards are the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal, and the Purple Heart. He died on 27 March 1975. 



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