Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr.
Commanding Officer 22nd Infantry
1938 - November 10, 1939
As a Colonel, Simon B.
Buckner commanded the 22nd Infantry Regiment
at Ft McClellan from approximately 1938-1939.
The Official US Army Register entries for Simon B. Buckner Jr.:
Born in Kentucky July 18, 1886.
He entered the US Military
Academy on June 16, 1904. He graduated 58 out of a class of 108,
on February 14, 1908.
In his graduating year he was a Lieutenant in the Corps of Cadets in Company A. Upon graduation he was commissioned
a 2nd Lieutenant in the 9th Infantry. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on August 5, 1914. On September 1, 1915
he was transferred to the 27th Infantry. He received a promotion to Captain on May 15, 1917.
On August 5, 1917 Buckner was
offered the temporary rank of Major in the Signal Corps, which he
September 27 of that year. On January 24, 1918 he was temporarily promoted to Major of Infantry, and he vacated the
Signal Corps assignment on May 27, 1918. He held the temporary rank of Major of Infantry until August 20, 1919.
On July 1, 1920 Buckner was
promoted to the permanent rank of Major in the Regular Army. In
1924 he graduated
from the Infantry School Advanced Course, and in 1925 he was a Distinguished Graduate of the Command and
General Staff School. In 1929 he graduated from the Army War College.
On April 1, 1932 Buckner was
promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He was promoted to Colonel on
January 11, 1937.
From October 17, 1939 to May 28, 1940 he was a member of the General Staff Corps.
Buckner was promoted to
Brigadier General on September 1, 1940, and to Major General on
August 4, 1941.
On May 4, 1943 he was promoted to Lieutenant General.
He was killed in action on June 18, 1945.
He received the Distinguished Service Medal.
On July 19, 1954 Buckner was posthumously promoted to the rank of General ( Four-Star ).
The following is the listing for Simon
B. Buckner Jr.,
in the 1908 "Howitzer" (West Point yearbook)
The following passage
from a US Army publication of about 1939 shows Simon B. Buckner
in command of the 22nd Infantry.
CMTC graduation certificate signed by
Simon B. Buckner at Fort McClellan 1939,
as a Colonel and Commanding Officer of the 22nd Infantry
Lt. General Simon
Bolivar Buckner, Jr. (July 18, 1886 June 18, 1945) was a
American lieutenant general
during World War II. He served in the Pacific Theater of Operations and commanded the defenses of Alaska
early in the war. After that assignment, he was promoted to command Tenth Army, which conducted
the amphibious assault (Operation Iceberg) on the Japanese island of Okinawa. He was killed during
the closing days of the Battle of Okinawa by enemy artillery fire, making him the highest-ranking American
to have been killed by enemy fire during the war, and among the highest-ranking military officers to die,
along with Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair, who was killed by friendly fire in France on July 25, 1944,
and Lt. Gen. Frank Maxwell Andrews, killed in an air crash in Iceland on May 3, 1943.
Buckner was posthumously promoted to the rank of a full four-star general on July 19, 1954
by a Special Act of Congress (Public Law 83-508).
His father was
Confederate General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Sr., who surrendered
to Ulysses S. Grant
at Fort Donelson.
Buckner was raised in
the rural hills of western Kentucky near Munfordville, and
Virginia Military Institute. He later won an appointment to West Point (class of 1908) from
President Theodore Roosevelt. He served two tours of duty in the Philippines. During World War I
he served as a brevet major, drilling discipline into budding aviators.
Sketch of Lt. General Simon
His uniform is pre-World War II
Between the wars,
Buckner returned to West Point as an instructor (19191923)
and again as instructor
and Commandant of Cadets (19321936). Though recognized as tough and fair, his insistence on
developing cadets past conventional limits caused one parent to quip, "Buckner forgets that cadets are born,
not quarried." He was also an instructor at the General Service Schools at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas,
and was executive officer at the Army War College in Washington, D.C.
Prior to Pearl Harbor,
Buckner was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned to fortify
and protect Alaska
as commander of the Army's Alaska Defense Command. Though comparatively quiet, there was some action
with the attack on Dutch Harbor on the island of Unalaska, Japanese seizure of the islands Kiska and Attu
(June 1942), Battle of Attu (Operation Landcrab, May 1943), and "invasion" of Kiska (August, 1943).
In July, 1944, Buckner
was sent to Hawaii to organize the Tenth Army, which was composed
Army and Marine units. The original mission of the Tenth Army was to prepare for the invasion of Taiwan;
however, this operation was canceled, and Buckner's command was instead ordered to prepare for
the Battle of Okinawa. This turned out to be the largest, slowest, and bloodiest sea-land-air battle
in American military history. On June 18, 1945, Buckner was standing between two boulders
watching the first combat operations of the 8th Marine Regiment when he was hit by shrapnel
from a Japanese 47mm anti-tank shell and killed instantly. He was succeeded in command by
Marine General Roy Geiger. Total American deaths during the battle of Okinawa were 12,500.
Buckner is interred in the family plot at Frankfort Cemetery in Frankfort, Kentucky.
Lt. General Simon B. Buckner
(foreground, holding camera),
photographed with Major General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., USMC, on Okinawa
The last picture of Lieutenant General
Buckner, Jr., (on the right)
taken just before he was killed by a Japanese artillery shell
Bolivar Buckner, Jr., graduated from West Point in 1908 and was
commissioned in the Infantry.
He served as an instructor at Fort Benning and at the Command and General Staff School-from which he graduated
in 1925 as a distinguished student. Later duties included service as an instructor, Assistant Commandant,
and Commandant of West Point.
In the early days of
World War II General Buckner directed operations against Japanese
forces on the Aleutian Islands
and subsequently converted those islands into an invasion-proof stronghold.
In 1945 General
Buckner was given command of the newly-formed Tenth U.S. Army and
with it the task
of invading and neutralizing Okinawa. During the fighting he repeatedly exposed himself to danger
by touring the frontlines to encourage his men. His dogged determination for triumph prompted the men
to nickname him "The Bull."
Four days prior to
the victory he sought LTG Buckner was mortally wounded while
directing his forces
from an advanced observation post. He was the highest ranking officer to lose his life in the Pacific Theatre.
In 1954 Congress posthumously promoted him to the rank of General.
Service at Fort Leavenworth 1924-28.
The grave marker for Simon B. Buckner
According to his marker Buckner was awarded:
Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Medal (Army)
Distinguished Service Medal (Navy)
He was first buried in the Tenth Army Cemetery on Okinawa before his remains were taken back to Kentucky
to lie beside his father, who was Civil War Confederate Lieutenant General and Kentucky Governor Simon Bolivar Buckner Sr.
From the Find A Grave website
Troop transport named after General Simon B. Buckner
USNS General Simon B. Buckner T-AP-123
USNS General Simon B. Buckner (T-AP-123),
Previously USS Admiral E. W. Eberle (AP-123) and U.S. Army Transport General Simon B. Buckner
USS Admiral E. W. Eberle, a 9,676-ton (light
displacement) Admiral W. S. Benson-class transport built by the
Maritime Commission to its P2-SE2-R1 design,
was commissioned in January 1945 with a largely Coast Guard crew. She departed San Francisco in March with troops and supplies for the Southwest Pacific,
then moved to the Philippines where she embarked over 2,000 formerly interned civilians for repatriation to the United States. After arriving at San Pedro,
California, in early May Admiral E. W. Eberle went to the Atlantic, where in June and early July she made a crossing carrying troops from Naples, Italy
to Trinidad and another returning servicemen to the United States from Le Havre, France. In July and August the transport carried troops from Marseilles,
France to the Philippines. After upkeep at Seattle, she made three voyages from the West Coast to Japan and Korea between October 1945 and March 1946
. Admiral E. W. Eberle was decommissioned in May 1946 and transferred via the Maritime Commission to the Army.
The Army soon renamed the ship General Simon B. Buckner and operated her with a civilian crew as part of its water transportation service.
She returned to the Navy in March 1950 when most of the larger Army ships became part of the newly-created Military Sea Transportation Service.
Still civilian-manned and retaining her "General" name, the ship made numerous crossings of the Pacific in support of the Korean War. In February 1955
she departed San Francisco for New York, and during the next ten years completed over 130 Atlantic voyages between New York and Bremerhaven,
West Germany, with some stops at Southampton, England, and trips to the Mediterranean. Between August and December 1965 the Buckner twice steamed
from California to Vietnam, then returned to the East Coast and made ten more trips from New York to Bremerhaven and Southampton. She moved definitively
to the West Coast in August 1966, supporting U.S. operations in Southeast Asia until March 1970, when she was placed out of service and returned to the
Maritime Administration. Laid up during the following two decades, USNS General Simon B. Buckner was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in August 1990
and sold by the Maritime Administration in June 1997 for scrapping.
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