Charles T. Lanham as a Major General
Photo by Mats Edholm
Arlington Cemetery website
Charles Trueman Lanham
Commanding Officer 22nd Infantry
July 9, 1944 - March 2, 1945
The following are Official US Army Register entries for Charles T. Lanham:
Charles T. Lanham was born in Washington, D.C., on September 14, 1902.
He entered the US Military
Academy on July 3, 1920 and graduated 73 out of 406 on June 12,
On that date he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant of Infantry. he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on
March 6, 1929. He graduated from the Infantry School Company Officers Course in 1932.
On February 18, 1935 he was
assigned to the National Guard Bureau. He was promoted to Captain
on August 1, 1935. He was relieved of his assignment to the National Guard Bureau on August 30, 1938.
He graduated from the Command
and General Staff School in 1939. Lanham was offered the
rank of Major (AUS) on January 31, 1941, which he accepted on February 4, 1941. On June 12, 1941
he was promoted to Major in the Regular Army. He received a promotion to the temporary rank of Colonel
(AUS) on January 6, 1943. On May 2, 1945 Lanham received a promotion to the temporary rank of
Brigadier General (AUS). He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the Regular Army on June 12, 1947.
Lanham was appointed to the
temporary rank of Major General (AUS) On April 6, 1948. He was
to Colonel in the Regular Army on June 10, 1948, and Brigadier General in the Regular Army on April 16, 1953.
Charles T. Lanham retired from the Army on December 31, 1954.
He received the Distinguished
Service Cross, the Silver Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the
Legion of Merit,
the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart Medal.
The following is the citation for the Distinguished Service Cross to Charles T. Lanham:
Lanham commanded the 272nd
Infantry Regiment of the 69th Division from early 1943, at
Fort Benning, Georgia. In June 1944 he left that organization and was sent to Europe.
On July 9, 1944 he assumed command of the 22nd Infantry Regiment, and held that position
until March 2, 1945. He was assistant Division Commander of the 104th Division from March 5 to June 13, 1945.
Colonel Charles T.
Lanham as Commander
of the 272nd Infantry Regiment 69th Division
Photo from HISTORY OF
THE TWENTY-SECOND UNITED STATES INFANTRY
in World War II
Compiled and edited by
Dr. William Boice
When Charles T. Lanham assumed
command of the 22nd Infantry Regiment, the Regiment had already
been involved in fierce fighting in the attempt to break out from the Normandy beachead. Colonel Hervey Tribolet,
the 22nd's Commander had been relieved of his command for not achieving planned objectives, and his
replacement, Colonel Robert Foster, was about to be relieved as well. The following passage from Bill Boice's
History of the 22nd Infantry in WW2 illustrates Lanham's arrival at the 22nd Infantry Headquarters:
regiment was facing continued stiff resistance.
Once again, Division HQ was unhappy with the failure of the regiment
to attain its objectives and to break the German resistance. Accordingly, Colonel
Robert Foster was relieved of his command, and quite unknowingly, the Double
Deucers were about to begin a shot-gun association with a colorful figure who was
to change the destiny of a regiment.
A field phone rang. A Captain answered and heard, " I am Colonel Charles
T. Lanham. I have just assumed command of this regiment, and I want you to
know that if you ever yield one foot of ground without my direct order I will courtmartial you. "
It was a proper introduction to 'Buck' Lanham. But the regiment began
to fight with a skill, imagination and daring it would not have attempted before. "
Lanham's command of the 22nd
Infantry elevated the Regiment into a fighting force to be
He led the 22nd Infantry through the breakout from the Normandy hedgerows, through the mad dash across France,
the first Allied penetration of the German Siegfried Line, through the hell that was the Hurtgen Forest,
and in the determination to "hold the line" during the Battle of the Bulge.
After the battles in the Hurtgen Lanham sent this message to his 22nd Infantry Soldiers:
COMBAT TEAM 22
Command Post of the Combat Team Commander
Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
9 December 1944
TO THE OFFICERS AND MEN OF COMBAT TEAM 22
From 16 November
to 3 December 1944 you fought one of the greatest regimental
battles in military history.
By the end of the sixth day you had suffered approximately 50%casualties, the point at which a regiment is considered
to lose much of its effectiveness as a fighting instrument. Actually you fought twelve (12) days beyond that point
with constantly increasing casualties and small loss in combat efficiency.
From the night
of 16 November until our relief on 3 December our Combat Team was
the easternmost unit
in the entire army and therefore the greatest threat to the German Reich. To stern our attack, units were withdrawn
as far south as the Schnee-Eiffel sector and as far north as Merode and flung against us. Enemy forces opposing
American units on our right and left were repeatedly withdrawn from those areas and committed against us.
Every enemy unit committed against us between 16 November and 3 December was destroyed.
During the last
days of this historic battle many platoons were commanded by
private soldiers who had joined us
only two or three days earlier. Few companies had more than one officer and often these had just joined us.
The fact that Combat Team 22 took every objective assigned it and, the day before its relief,
still had the tenacity, the will, and the fighting heart to destroy a fresh enemy battalion, average age 24,
and in effectives equal to two of our battalions, is eloquent testimony to the greatness of our Combat Team.
our artillery, our engineers, our tanks, our tank destroyers, our
medical aid men, our collecting company,
combined in this operation to make the Battle of Hurtgen Forest an eternal part of our country's history
and a military classic of all time.
We have finished
that battle. We have been moved to this sector to give us an
opportunity to reorganize, refit, and retrain.
How much time we shall have here no one knows but we do know that in war, time always presses.
Therefore, in justice to our fallen comrades whose faith and courage have carried us this far we must accomplish
our present mission with the same brilliance, tenacity, and aggres siveness that characterized our great victory
in the bloody forest of Hurtgen,
There are no
words to describe my pride in you or my confidence in you. I can
only repeat what has been said to me
again and again by those who know your record and who have seen you fight--"You are one of the greatest
fighting teams in all American history.
May God keep
your courage and faith high, and may He protect and
guard you in the hard battles still before us.
C. T. LANHAM.
Colonel, 22nd Infantry J
Colonel Charles T. Lanham September 1944
The following excellent biography of
Charles T. Lanham was written by historian Charles Lewis
and is reprinted here with his permission:
Birth: Sep. 14, 1902
District of Columbia
District Of Columbia, USA
Death: Jul. 20, 1978
Major General, U.S. Army
Charles Trueman Lanham was born to Ira Clifford and Alice Bryan (O'Neil) Lanham on 14 September 1902 in Washington, DC.
He attended Eastern High School in Washington, DC.
Charles, known as "Buck," graduated from the U. S. Military Academy on 12 June 1924, and was commissioned
as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry branch of the U.S. Army. His first assignment was with the 12th Infantry Regiment.
As a newly commissioned lieutenant, Lanham married Mary Gapen. Buck and Mary had one daughter, Shirley,
and remained married until Mary's death in 1969.
On 6 March 1929, Buck was promoted to First Lieutenant. He attended the Infantry School in September 1931 and upon graduating,
remained as an Instructor. Other assignments included Company Commander, 17th Infantry Regiment and, in February 1935,
assignment to the National Guard Bureau.
Lanham's recognized abilities as a military trainer and theorist caused the Army brass to deny him field posts throughout the 1930s.
In his spare time during the 1930's, he wrote sonnets, a few of which were published in Harper's Magazine, and some in pulp fiction.
Buck was promoted to Captain on 1 August 1935. Later in 1935, he was appointed Assistant Chief, Supply Division and
Associate Editor of the Infantry Journal. In September 1938, he attended the Command and General Staff School, graduating in 1939.
He was later assigned as Company Commander of the 8th Infantry Regiment.
For Buck, 1941 was a busy year. In January, he was assigned to the Training Division Office, Chief of Infantry and on
31 January was promoted to Major. As World War II approached, Buck directed preparation of Infantry training manuals,
then went to Hollywood where he wrote and supervised a widely used series of Army training films. On 24 December 1941,
he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. In March 1942, Lanham was made Chief, Visual Aids Branch, Army Ground Forces.
Buck was promoted to Colonel on 6 January 1943 and, in March, was assigned as Regimental Commander
of the 272nd Infantry Regiment, 69th Infantry Division.
On 9 July 1944, he was assigned as Regimental Commander of the 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division.
His unit, along with the 2nd Armored Division, spearheaded the Normandy breakout and was the first unit into Paris.
Under Colonel Lanham's command, the 22nd Regiment participated in the Battle of Hürtgen Forest. That was the name given
to the series of fierce battles fought between U.S. and German forces during World War II in the Hürtgen Forest.
This became the longest battle on German ground during WWII, and the longest single battle the U.S. Army has ever fought
in its history. The battles took place between 14 September 1944 and 10 February 1945, over an area of barely 50 miles,
east of the BelgianGerman border.
Colonel Lanham's regiment attacked the Siegfried Line and on 11 September 1944, the first American Infantrymen into Germany
was a patrol from the 22nd Regiment. The 22nd Regiment sustained eighty percent casualties in nearly three weeks of combat.
The unit was pulled off the frontline to be refitted and supplemented with replacements, but was rushed back into combat
during the Battle of the Bulge, where the 22nd Regiment held a key position. For its actions, the 22nd Regiment was awarded
two Presidential Unit Citations and Lanham received the Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery under fire.
Lanham was awarded his first star as a Brigadier General in February 1945 and on 3 March was made Assistant Division
Commander of the 104th Infantry Division, which attacked Cologne and fought its way to a meeting with the Soviet Army
on the Molde River. After commanding occupying forces based in Czechoslovakia and Austria, in November of 1945,
he was called to Washington, DC to become General Omar Bradley's Chief of the War Department's Troop Information
and Education Staff. Here, he directed training and personnel policies, first for the Army and then for the three services,
which were undergoing unification. Some of the training materials came under criticism from right-wingers as being too liberal,
or not sufficiently anti-Communist. Buck retorted at one hearing that they were opposed by both the Chicago Tribune -
and the Daily Worker. He said convictions were as important as weapons, and that it was necessary to break down prejudices
among troops. However, this criticism did not adversely affect his career and, in 1946, he was named Director of Staff
of the Personnel Policy Board under Secretary of Defense Forrestal.
Brigadier General Lanham was transferred to the European Theater in 1949, where he served Belgium and Luxembourg
as Chief of the Military Aid Group. In 1951, he became Chief Press Spokesman for General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower
at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), near Paris. In that position, it was Buck that announced Eisenhower's
decision, in early 1952, to accept a draft for the Republican Party's nomination to be the President of the United States.
After his promotion to Major General, Buck took command of the 1st Infantry Division in West Germany in January 1953.
In 1954, Gen. Lanham went to Norfolk, VA, on his final assignment as Deputy Commandant of the Armed Forces Staff College.
During his military service, General Lanham's many awards included the Distinguished Service Cross;
the Distinguished Service Medal (Army); and the Bronze Star Medal.
Major General Lanham retired from active duty 31 December 1954.
A very interesting part of Buck Lanham's life began during WWII. It was in 1944, during the Battle of the Hürtgen Forrest,
that Buck first met the famous novelist, Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway was reporting on the war for Collier's,
an American magazine, and requested assignment with Lanham's 22nd Infantry Regiment. They soon became close friends
and he ended up making Lanham's command post his base as a reporter. Hemingway once described Colonel Lanham
as "The finest and bravest and most intelligent military commander I have known."
Their friendship was so close that they maintained a steady correspondence for seventeen years, ending only upon
Hemingway's death. While convalescing from his injuries, it is said that the novelist wrote to the soldier as he would
to a father confessor. It is also widely reported that he built his portrayal of Colonel Cantwell, protagonist of
"Across the River and Into the Trees," on the life of Lanham.
After his 31 December 1954 retirement and beginning with Market Relations Network, Lanham began a second career
as a public relations executive for a number of companies. Time magazine, in its 28 November 1955 issue in the
"PERSONNEL: Changes of the Week" column, reported:
"Major General Charles Trueman Lanham (ret.), 53, Dwight Eisenhower's chief press officer in SHAPE (and "prototype"
of Colonel Cantwell, hero of Hemingway's Across the River and Into the Trees), is slated to be board chairman of
Colt's Manufacturing Co., which was taken over last week by Penn-Texas Corp. (TIME, Oct. 3). Born in Washington, D.C.,
West Pointer "Buck" Lanham wrote poetry until it interfered with his Army career, later edited Infantry in Battle, a widely used
Army textbook. In World War II, he fought through Normandy and the Bulge with the 22nd Infantry Regiment,
earned a jacketful of decorations, including the Distinguished Service Cross."
The Penn-Texas Corporation's subsidiaries included Colt's Patent Firearms. The conglomerate went through a rapid expansion
under the guidance of the Silberstein family, with who Lanham was closely aligned. The company's attempt to acquire Fairbanks,
Morse and Company through a proxy and hostile takeover resulted in a public and acrimonious legal battle. Lanham resigned
in 1958 following a disagreement with the Silberstein's over the direction of the company.
Lanham attempted to start his own company, Lanham-Patterson-Wilson, Inc., before joining Xerox in 1960 as
Vice President for Government Relations. He retired from Xerox at the end of 1970 and spent his remaining years
in Chevy Chase, MD, with his second wife, Jane Gay.
Major General Charles Trueman "Buck" Lanham died from cancer 20 July 1978 in Chevy Chase, MD, at the age of 75.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Gapen Lanham, on 27 April 1969. On their headstone, above Mary's name,
are these words: "His Wife and Fellow Soldier."
Bio compiled by Charles
from the Find A Grave memorial
Ernest Hemingway and
Colonel Charles T. "Buck" Lanham with captured
artillery in Schweiler, Germany, 18 September 1944.
(Ed., Captured gun is German 88mm; note SGT at far right holding 88mm artillery round.
Also note that Lanham is wearing his 4th Division SSI incorrectly. The point of the Ivy Leaves
should be in line with the center of his shoulder.)
Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.
"It was the heroic charge
of an infantry regiment led by Col Lanham that first penetrated
the Siegfried Line in force
to bring the might of the American foot soldier against the Nazi hordes on the "sacred" soil of the Reich.
Shouting and singing at the top of his lungs and calling out to his men by name, the tall, slim colonel, through the sheer magnetism
of his personality and courage, rallied his men from impending retreat and, under withering fire, sent them storming
through enemy fortifications.
Their objective was gained with
the 1st Army firmly entrenched on German soil. The spirited dash
Col. Lanham left his command post after given field telephone reports as "Pinned down by heavy fire" "Tank destroyers
unable to make progress," and "The men are falling back" and stormed to the forward line where his men, without tank support
and armed only with rifles, were fighting atop enemy fortifications, while the Germans inside poured machine-gun fire into their lines.
The breach of the Siegfried Line
is not the only story told of the Colonel's valor. There was the
time his regiment attacked
camouflaged pillboxes on the top of a hill. Pinned down under heavy fire with retreat cut off, the regiment was again saved
by the colonel's quick-thinking action. Discarding his trench coat, which he never expected to use again, he signaled to
his only tank destroyer to advance and directed the fire which destroyed the pillboxes one by one. A native Washingtonian,
Col. Lanham, whose father is Clifford H. Lanham, District superintendent of trees and parks, wears the Silver Star, the Bronze Star
and the Purple Heart. In addition, his regiment part of the 4th Division, the first to enter Paris, was twice decorated with the
Presidential Unit Citation. Colonel of the Washington High School Cadets when he was attending Eastern High School in 1920,
Col Lanham was graduated from West Point in 1924. His wife, the former Mary Gapen,
lives at 104 North Columbus Street, Arlington, Va."
Article and photo from the D.C. Star, November 1944
via Karen Scott
"Say only this of me when I
'He saw proud eagles storming down the sky
He heard the braken brake where beauty fled
And, wingless, strove to fly.'"
From a contemporary news report:
"The officer whom Ernest Hemingway called "the finest and bravest and most intelligent regimental comander I have ever known"
died of cancer at home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, at July 20, 1978 at the age of 76.
"As a Colonel, he led the 22nd Regiment, 4th Infantry Division, which spearheaded the Normandy breakout, entered Paris,
attacked the Siegfried Line and held a key salient in the Battle of the Bulge. The Regiment won two Unit Citations
and he ultimately won 17 decorations. During the Battle of the Hurtgen Forrest, Hemingway made his base as a reporter
in Lanham's command post. They became close friends and kept up a steady correspondence for seventeen years.
Convalescing from injuries, the novelist wrote to the soldier as to a father confessor. It is said that he built his portrayal
of Colonel Cantwell, protagonist of "Acros the River and Into the Trees," on Lanham.
"He was himself an amateur poet and writer as well as a combat infantryman. Also was a leading military instructor,
something of a diplomat and, after retirement from the service, an industrial executive. He was born in Washington, D.C.
September 14, 1902, and graduated from West Point in 1924, from the Infantry School in 1932 and the Command and
General Staff School in 1939. In the 1930s, he helped to edit the Infantry Journal and, in his spare time, wrote sonnets,
a few of which were published in Harper's Magazine, and some pulp fiction. As World War II approached, he directed
preparation of Infantry training manuals, then went to Hollywood where he wrote and supervised
a widely used series of training films.
"In Normandy in June 1944, he took command of the 22nd Regiment and led it in the breakout from the beaches.
It was one of the first U.S. units to reach Paris, then the first to reach Germany and to penetrate the Siegfried Line.
There, in the Hurtgen Forrest, the regiment suffered 80-percent casualties in eighteen days. Brought back to Luxembourg
to reorganize and rest, it was soon caught up in the Battle of the Bulge. Some of its units were cut off, but it held.
He was promoted to Brigadier General that February and made Assistant Commander of the 104th Division, which attacked
Cologne and fought its way to a meeting with the Soviet Army on the Molde River. After commanding occupying forces
based in Czecholovakia and Austria, he was called to Washington, D.C. to direct training and personnel policies, first for
the Army and then for the three services, undergoing unification. Some training materials came under criticism from
right-wingers as too liberal or not sufficiently anti-Communist. He retorted at one hearing that they were opposed by the
Chicago Tribune and the Daily Worker. He said convictions were as important as weapons, and that it was necessary
to break down prejudices among troops.
"Transferred to the European Theater in 1949, he helped to organize the forces of Belgium and Luxembourg, then became
Chief Press Spokesman for General Dwight D. Eisenhower at the Allied Headquarters near Paris. It fell to him to announce
the commander's decision in early 1952 to accept a draft for the Republican Presidental nomination. He then took command
of the 1st Infantry Division in West Germany in January 1953. He returned the next year as Deputy Commandant
of the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, and retired at the end of 1954, as a Major General, to join the
Pennsylvania-Texas Corporation of Colt's Patent Firearms. He resigned in 1958 and joined Xerox in 1960 as
Vice President for Government Relations, retiring from that post at the end of 1970."
He is buried in Section 4 of Arlington National Cemetery.
From the Arlington Cemetery website
|Portrait of Charles T. Lanham
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, New Jersey 08540 USA
Princeton University Library
holds the collection of the Charles T. Lanham Papers 1916-1978.
The Charles T. Lanham Papers document the general's WWII and post war military service and his private sector employment
with several corporations. The papers contain correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, journals, speeches,
and legal documents. This collection is stored onsite at the Mudd Manuscript Library. Finding Aids for the Papers
can be found at the following link:
The grave of Charles T. Lanham
Photo By M. R.
Patterson, 23 April 2004
Arlington Cemetery website
Reverse side of the marker for Charles T. Lanham
Photo By M. R.
Patterson, 23 April 2004
Arlington Cemetery website
wing down the western steep,
And soon the east will burn with day,
And we shall struggle up from sleep
And sling our packs and march away.
In this brief hour before the dawn
Has struck our bivouac with flame
I think of men whose brows have borne
The iron wreath of deadly fame.
I see the fatal phalanx creep,
Like death across the world and back,
With eyes that only strive to keep
Bucephalus' immortal track.
I see the legion wheel through Gaul,
The sword and flame on hearth and home,
And all the men who had to fall
That Caesar might be first in Rome.
I see the horde of Genghis Khan
Spread outward like the dawn of day
To trample golden Khorassan
And thunder over fair Cathay.
I see the grizzled grenadier,
The dark dragoon, the gay hussar,
Whose shoulders bore for many a year
Their little emperor's blazing star.
I see these things, still am I slave
When banners flaunt and bugles blow,
Content to fill a soldier's grave
For reasons I shall never know.
written by Charles T. Lanham
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