Lt. Gen. Walter C. Short

Walter C. Short

Lt. Gen. Walter C. Short commanded the US Army, Pacific (Hawaiian Department) in 1941 during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor after which he was relieved of duty. After attending the University of Illinois in 1901, he obtained his commission in 1902. During World War I he served on the General Staff of the 1st Division and as assistant chief of staff for the 3rd Army.

After the war, Short commanded the 1st Division at Fort Hamilton, New York, from 1938-1940 before commanding the 4th Army Corps and the 1st Army Corps. Gen. George Marshall appointed him to the Hawaiian command in February of 1941. He was considered to have had a successful career at that time, especially in light of his promotions during peace time.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Gen. Short and Admiral Husband Kimmel were retired from active duty in early 1942, with Short reduced in rank from his temporary rank of Lt. Gen. to his permanent rank of Major General. He testified on his own behalf before Congress about the 1941 attack in 1946. He and his family attempted to get the Army to restore his rank of Lt. Gen. in the retired ranks on the basis that warnings from the War Department prior to the attack were vague and in conflict. Unlike some of his predecessors in Hawaii, Short was more concerned with sabotage from Japanese-Americans on Oahu, and this led to Army planes parked in such a way as to make them more vulnerable to aerial attack.

Gen. Short earned the Distinguished Service Medal. He died on 3 September 1949. The Army last visited his case in 1991 and declined to promote him posthumously to Lieutenant General. 



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