Maj. Gen. Charles Douglas Herron
In May 1910, the Army reassigned Herron as the adjutant of his old regiment, the 18th Infantry, which he joined at Fort Mackenzie, a post near Sheridan, Wyoming. The regiment transferred to San Antonio, Texas, for Mexican border duty, where Herron assumed duties as regimental adjutant until 13 May 1911. From 1 June 1911 until 1 August 1912, he functioned as inspector-instructor of the Organized Militia of Indiana, Indianapolis. He then transferred to the 23d Infantry at Fort Benjamin Harrison, located at Indianapolis, Indiana, where he served from December 1912 to February 1913.
While assigned at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Herron met Louise Milligan of Indianapolis, a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, and the daughter of another Crawfordsville, Indiana, family. The two married on 12 November 1912. They had two children, a son and daughter, both of whom followed their parents' path, at West Point and Bryn Mawr, respectively. Herron served briefly at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, and then went to Texas City, Texas, for further border duty. He commanded a company at the post until 1 December 1914.
From Texas, Herron transferred to the Panama Canal Zone on 2 January 1915, just months after the Panama Canal opened on 15 August 1914. He acted as the regimental adjutant for the 10th Infantry, Camp E.S. Otis, on 26 April 1915 and remained in the position until 30 April 1916. The Commander of United States Troops, Canal Zone, Brig. Gen. Clarence R. Edwards, noted of Captain Herron: "An excellent soldier. A man of character, fearless and dependable." Herron assumed command of the Machine Gun Company, 10th Infantry on 1 May 1916 and led the unit until 11 March 1917.
He received a promotion to major on 1 July 1916. Shortly thereafter, Herron went on detached service as an instructor to Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood's Citizen's Training Camp at Plattsburgh, New York. He performed duties there from 5 July 1916 to 28 November 1916. This camp, which trained 16,000 men, served as the first training camp established under the National Defense Act of 1916. This training gave increased publicity to national preparedness and the concept of citizens' universal military obligation. It also resulted in hundreds of men trained at the camp joining the new Officers' Reserve Corps and ROTC. In a letter to Major Herron, dated 28 September 1916, Gen. Wood stated, "Your performance of duty added greatly to the success of the camps."
Col. Herron as the commander, 313th Field Artillery Battalion, taken circa 1917-18. (US Military Academy)
Just before the United States entered World War I, Herron transferred to the Field Artillery Corps on 13 January 1917, and the Army recomputed his date of branch affiliation from 2 November 1906. On 1 April 1917, he assumed command of a battalion of the 3d Field Artillery at Laredo, Texas. The unit trained in Texas. After the nation entered the war, Herron advanced to the rank of lieutenant colonel on 15 May 1917.
He left Laredo on 20 May 1917 for the east coast, where he initially commanded the field artillery section of the Fort Myer, Virginia, training camp for field artillery officers. While commanding the battalion and camp, he quickly received promotion to colonel in the National Army on 5 August 1917. At that time, he relinquished command of his artillery battalion and assumed command of the 12th Field Artillery Battalion on 6 August. On 23 August, he subsequently assumed command of the 313th Field Artillery Battalion at Camp Lee, Virginia. The 313th Field Artillery supported the 80th Infantry Division during the war from 1917 to 1918.
In Chaumont, France, Herron assumed duties on 21 July 1918 in the Operations Section of Gen. Pershing's General Staff, General Headquarters and remained on the staff until 9 September. While assigned to the staff, Herron once again worked with George Marshall.
During the St. Mihiel Offensive, Herron became the deputy chief of staff of the 1st Infantry Division, serving from 9 September to 18 September 1918. From 18 September to 26 December 1918, he functioned as chief of staff of the 78th Infantry Division, which participated in the Meuse-Argonne Operations from 10 October to 5 November 1918. Herron received the Distinguished Service Medal for "exceptionally meritorious and distinguished service as chief of staff of the 78th Infantry Division." At the end of the war, the Army listed Herron in the select "Initial General Staff List," from which the Army made a vast majority of important assignments for several years to come.
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.
Vincent K. Brooks