Maj. Gen. Herbert E. Wolff

Herbert E. Wolff

Maj. Gen. Herbert Wolff was born 24 May 1925 in Cologne, Germany, but his family relocated to the United States in 1939 to escape the harsh rule of the Nazi Party. He commanded what is today the US Army, Pacific from December 1977 until his retirement in 1981. He was instrumental in elevating the US Army, Pacific to a component command within the Pacific Command (PACOM), on par with the other services.

After the outbreak of World War II, Wolff tried to enlist in the Army, but was rejected as an “Enemy Alien.” Ironically, the Army drafted him in 1943. He served in the Pacific Theater and during the struggle on Luzon as a private first class, he earned the Silver Star for Gallantry in Action. He volunteered to serve with the Alamo Scouts, an all volunteer commando unit. In January 1945, while assigned to the Alamo Scouts, he participated in a daring raid on a Japanese prisoner of war camp at Cabanatuan (Philippines) that rescued 511 American POWs. For his demonstrated leadership, bravery, and extraordinary competence, Wolff earned a battlefield commission as a second lieutenant in 1945. During the Korean War he commanded two companies and a battalion in combat, earning his second Silver Star.

Wolff earned a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers University, a Bachelor of Science in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, and a Master’s degree in International Affairs from George Washington University during his various military assignments. He also graduated from the Army War College.

Among Wolff’s major duty assignments were Commanding Officer of the Infantry Training Center at Fort Benning, Georgia, from 1967-1968; Commanding General of the Capital Military Assistance Command in Vietnam in 1970; and the Commanding General of the US Army Security Agency, Pacific in Hawaii from 1970-1972. He came to Fort Shafter in 1977 as Commander of the US Army CINCPAC Support Group and US Army Support Command, Hawaii (USASCH). Thanks to his vision and persistence, this command converted to the US Army Western Command (WESTCOM), of which Wolff was the first commander, in March 1979.

Wolff’s other significant duty assignments include Deputy Commanding General of the US Army Training Center at Fort Dix, New Jersey from 1968-1969; Assistant Division Commander of the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam from 1969-1970; three tours with the Central Security Service at Fort Meade, Maryland from 1970-1975; and Deputy Commander for V Corps in Germany from 1975-1977.

In addition to the Silver Star Wolff earned many awards during his career, including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Purple Heart. In 2006 he received awarded the Ihe Award from the Hawaii Army Museum Society.

Following his retirement from the U.S. Army in October 1981, MG Wolff remained active and engaged in many charitable organizations including, among others, the Boy Scouts Aloha Council, as president of Hawaii Army Museum Society, the USO, the Armed Services YMCA, the March of Dimes, the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council, and the Honolulu Rotary Club. In 1985, the Sultan of Jahore (then serving as the King of Malaysia), with approval of the U.S. Department of State appointed Wolff the Honorary Consul of Malaysia. The King of Malaysia awarded MG Wolff the title of Dato' in 1993. Wolff served as Senior Vice President and Corporate Secretary of First Hawaiian Bank, Honolulu. Following a lengthy illness, MG Wolff died on April 17, 2009.



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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