Maj. Gen. Charles P. Summerall

Charles P. Summerall

Maj. Gen. Charles P. Summerall commanded the US Army, Pacific (Hawaiian Department) from 1921-1924. He attended Porter Military Academy in South Carolina and taught school before entering West Point by competitive exam. He graduated in 1892 with a commission in the Infantry, although he quickly transferred to the Artillery.

Summerall served in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection before demonstrating his bravery in the China Relief Expedition of 1900-1901. There he advanced ahead of his unit, against enemy fire, to mark targets for his cannons with chalk on the gates of successive walls. After this exploit, he briefly served in Alaska where he sited Fort Seward.

During World War I, Summerall served on the Baker Commission, which was designed to help the Allies coordinate effectively. Then he demonstrated his ability in the field by leading his unit to the capture of an important position in the Soissons offensive. This won him the Distinguished Service Cross. Later he led his unit in breaking the Hindenburg line at a key point. His artillery tactics were considered unorthodox and aggressive, and included front line use of guns in a technique known as the rolling "Sumerall barrage." He commanded the 1st Division of V Corps, and IX Corps.

Col. William "Billy" Mitchell visited Summerall during his command in Hawaii, and criticized the lack of air defenses for the Islands. This angered the general and he attempted to preside over Mitchell's court martial trial in 1925 until the defense won his dismissal by showing his bias. He still testified as a witness in the famous trial, however.

Sumerall's last major assignment was Army Chief of Staff from 1926-1930. During this tenure, he received a promotion to general in 1929. Appointed by President Coolidge, this was a time of tight budgets. Nevertheless, he succeeded in getting increased funding from the War Department for the construction of army posts.

Summerall retired in early 1931 and went on to become President of The Citadel until 1953. Among his other awards were the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, and numerous foreign decorations. He died on 14 May 1955.



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.


General Vincent K. Brooks Commanding General

Vincent K. Brooks

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