PHOTO: see caption below / click for larger image

Brig. Gen. Charles D. Herron, taken circa 1934-37.  (US Army Signal Corps)

Maj. Gen. Charles Douglas Herron
Commander, Hawaiian Department
17 March 1938 - 7 February 1941

Charles D. Herron, born on 13 March 1877 to William Parke Herron and Ada Patton, grew up in Crawfordville, Indiana. His father enlisted as a private in the Union Army during the Civil War. He returned home as a captain at the age of twenty-one, following service with Wilder's Brigade of mounted infantry at the Battle of Chickamauga, where he received serious wounds. Following the Civil War, William Parke Herron established himself as a lending banker and industrialist in his town. Ada Patton Herron, a woman of wide interests and travel, possessed musical talent. Young Charles obtained some experience in business serving as a bank clerk for a short time.

Charles Herron acquired a preparatory education of two years at Wabash College, Crawfordville, from 1892 to 1895. On 15 June 1895, Herron received an appointment to the US Military Academy at the age of 18. He later graduated 49th in a class of 72 cadets. He graduated on 15 February 1899 and accepted a commission as a second lieutenant of Infantry. His class graduated early due to the Philippine Insurrection, and many of his classmates felt anxious to get into the action.

PHOTO: see caption below / click for larger image

Cadet Charles F. Herron, US Military Academy, class of 1899. (US Military Academy)

Just a few weeks after he received his commission, Herron shipped to the Philippines, where he served in operations against insurgents from April 1899 to March 1901. Upon his arrival in the Philippines and assignment as a new platoon leader, Herron discovered that the insurgents shot his predecessor. He saw combat service, first as an infantry platoon leader, in the fight against Philippine guerilla leader, Emilio Aguinaldo, and then as commander of Company K, 18th Infantry Regiment, in the operations that ensued when the organized Philippine Army was broken up. He participated in engagements at San Blas, 12 November 1899; Passi, 26 November 1899; and Dumarao, 5 December 1899. Although not wounded during the Insurrection, Herron's daughter recalled him noting that he did have a bout with typhoid fever in early 1901. He went to Japan for recuperation.

Under the military occupation that ensued, he assumed broad powers as commander of a province of 50,000 people. As a second lieutenant, Herron performed duties of the port and the collector of customs and collector of internal revenue of the Port of Capiz, serving until 1 January 1901. He received a promotion to first lieutenant on 31 October 1900. He commanded Company M, 21st Infantry Regiment, from 1 July to 10 September 1901. From 14 September 1901 to 15 August 1906, the Army stationed Herron in the United States and in the Philippine Islands with the 18th Infantry as a company commander and as a battalion adjutant.

In September 1901, Herron returned to the United States. From 27 December 1901 to March 1903, he served at Fort D.A. Russell, Wyoming, located about 30 miles west of Cheyenne. In the Philippines, his unit had responsibilities for maintaining the peace between the sheepherders and cattlemen during one of the range wars. He returned to the Philippines with his regiment in April 1903 and was stationed at Camp Bumpus, near the little town of Tacloban, Leyte, until January 1905. In the Philippines, another young officer came to serve with Herron in 1904-Lieutenant Douglas MacArthur. Herron shared his grass shack with him and many years later recalled that he and MacArthur got along fine together, noting MacArthur's persuasive power with humor and that he "could talk the birds out of the trees."

He attended the General Service School from 1906 to 1908 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. While there, Herron befriended one of his classmates who greatly influenced his career-George C. Marshall, then a second lieutenant of the 30th Infantry. Herron advanced to the rank of captain on 2 November 1906. During that same period, he graduated as a Distinguished Graduate of the Army School of the Line (recently renamed-originally the School of Infantry and Cavalry) in August 1907. While one source claimed that Herron graduated from the Leavenworth schools second only to George Marshall, he certainly stood as one of 13 Distinguished Graduates, out of a class of 54 officers. Marshall finished one of only five honor graduates-those students with an academic average of 95 percent or better.

Herron received a master of arts degree in 1908 from Wabash College and graduated from the Army Staff College in August of the same year.*  Once again, both George Marshall and Herron graduated together, this time in a class of 22 officers. Following their Leavenworth graduation, the young Marshall and Herron both became instructors in engineering.

However, Herron very soon transferred to West Point, New York. Appointed as an assistant to quartermaster and an instructor at the US Military Academy, Herron served there from 22 August 1908 to 20 April 1910. Many years later, Herron stated that one of the cadets who attracted his attention for his "dogged determination and fierce competitive spirit. . ." was George S. Patton. Lieutenant Douglas MacArthur acted as his relief instructor while assigned to instructor duty.


* By 1906, approximately the top half of the class of the School of the Line stood eligible for the second year course in the Army War College. The Army Staff College remained the core of Leavenworth training.



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