Lewis Ackley Riggins
Commanding Officer 22nd Infantry
4th Infantry Division
November 1950 - 1952
Lewis Ackley Riggins was born in New Jersey on November 10, 1902.
Riggins entered the U.S.
Military Academy on July 1, 1921 and graduated on June 12, 1925.
He was Company Supply Sergeant for Company "I" in the Corps Organization of Cadets.
His best subjects were Ordnance & Gunnery and Military Engineering and his worst subjects
were Military Hygiene and Military Art.
Riggins graduated 77 out of a
class of 244 and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in
the Army's Air Service.
Above: The entry for Lewis A. Riggins in the 1925 U.S. Military Academy yearbook the Howitzer
Riggins was stationed at Brooks
Field, Texas as a student officer at the Air Service Primary
until November 24, 1925 when he was transferred to the Infantry Branch.
From November 24, 1925 to June
26, 1927 he was on duty with the 20th Infantry at Fort Sam
Still with the 20th Infantry he served at Fort D.A. Russsel, Wyoming from June 26, 1927 to September 8, 1928.
On September 16, 1928 Riggins
reported to the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia as a
enrolled in the Company Officers' Course. He graduated from the Course on June 12, 1929.
From June 15 to August 5, 1929
he was attached to the 24th Infantry. Between August 5 to October
he was enroute to the Philippine Islands. He was attached to the 45th Infantry at Fort William McKinley
near Manila from October 5 to November 7, 1929. On November 7 he was assigned to the 31st Infantry
in garrison at Manila.
Riggins was promoted to 1st Lieutenant of Infantry on November 1, 1930.
From July 1 to July 31, 1931 he
was on detached service as a student officer at the School for
Bakers and Cooks
at Fort William McKinley. From February 1 to July 5, 1932 he was with the 31st Infantry at Shanghai, China
guarding the International Settlement during fighting between Chinese and Japanese troops. For their service
in Shanghai the 31st Infantry was awarded the U.S. Marine Corps Yangtze Service Medal. On July 5, 1932 he
returned with his Regiment to garrison duty at Manila. From March 11 to April 7, 1933 he was enroute from
the Philippines to the United States.
Riggins was enroute to New York
April 15 to May 2, 1933 before taking leave. On May 30, 1933 he
to command a company of the 18th Infantry at Fort Wadsworth, New York.
He was promoted to Captain of Infantry on August 1, 1935.
From May 12 to July 12, 1936 he
was on temporary duty at Camp Dix, New Jersey commanding a
of the 18th Infantry. He was on temporary duty at Trenton, New Jersey with the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps)
from July 12, 1936 to June 30, 1937. On June 30 he returned to Camp Dix again commanding a company of the 18th Infantry.
On July 5, 1940 he was assigned
as S-4 Supply (Logistics) Officer of the 13th Infantry 8th
at Camp Jackson, South Carolina as the Division was being re-activated.
On January 31, 1941 Riggins was
offered the temporary rank of Major in the Army of the United
States (AUS) which he
accepted on February 8, 1941. During that year he also graduated from the Infantry School Battalion Commanders' Course
at Fort Benning, Georgia. For the remainder of 1941 he commanded a Battalion of the 13th Infantry at Camp Jackson.
He was offered a promotion to
the temporary rank of LT Colonel (AUS) on December 24, 1941 which
he accepted on
February 1, 1942. On June 12, 1942 Riggins received a promotion to Major of Infantry in the Regular Army.
During 1942 he was assigned as
G-4 Supply (Logistics) Officer of the 89th Division then being
formed at Camp Carson,
Colorado. That same year he also graduated from the Command and General Staff School, 6th General Staff Class at
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He became a member of the General Staff Corps on July 15, 1942.
In 1943 Riggins became the G-4
Supply (Logistics) Officer of XI Corps and was attached to Fifth
Army in Italy
in the European Theater of Operations.
Cullum's Register indicates he
was promoted to the temporary rank of Colonel (AUS) On April 31,
1943 but in the
official Army Registers his date of this rank is given as January 31, 1944.
In 1944 he moved to the
Southwest Pacific Area. (XI Corps embarked for the Pacific in
March 1944 and as its
G-4 Officer Riggins most likely went with it.) While in the Pacific Area he was twice awarded the Legion of Merit.
During 1945-1947 he served with
the Army of Occupation in Japan. In 1946 his assignment as G-4
Officer XI Corps ended.
In 1946 he became the Commanding Officer of the 187th Infantry 11th Airborne Division on duty in Japan. In 1947 his
assignment to the 187th Infantry ended.
On September 9, 1947 he reported
as a student officer to the Industrial College of the Armed
Forces at Fort Lesley J. McNair,
Washington, D.C., taking a course equivalent to the Armed Forces Staff College, graduating from there in 1948. Upon
completion of the course he was assigned as Chief of Munitions Branch G-4 Officer General Staff U.S. Army
Washington, D.C., a position equivalent to today's Assistant Chief of Staff Logistics.
He was promoted to LT Colonel in the Regular Army on July 15, 1948.
He was promoted to Colonel of the Regular Army on August 16, 1949.
The exact dates of his command
of the 22nd Infantry are unknown at this time. He began that
November of 1950 and was still in command in 1952.
Lewis A. Riggins was retired from the Army on July 31, 1955.
He died on July 20, 1974 and is
buried in the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery,
San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas, USA
Plot: W, 2083
Colonel Riggins seated at his desk with his Regimental Staff of the 22nd Infantry, Germany 1951-52
From the 4th Infantry Division European Command 1951-52 yearbook:
The following biography of Lewis
A. Riggins is taken from the 4th Infantry Division
European Command 1951-52 yearbook:
COLONEL LEWIS A. RIGGINS,
commanding officer of the 22d Infantry Regiment, is a graduate of
United States Military Academy, class of 1925. He attended the company officer course at The Infantry School
at Fort Benning, the battalion commander course at Benning, the Command and General Staff College at
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
Colonel Riggins has served with
the 1st, 2d, 8th and 89th Infantry Divisions as well as with the
11th Airborne Division
and XI Corps. He has also served as commanding officer of the 31st Infantry Regiment.
During World War II he saw duty
with the 8th and 89th Divisions in the United States and with XI
The colonel was a Department of the Army observer during the first three months of the Italian campaign.
After XI Corps returned from Europe Colonel Riggins went with it to New Guinea and was a member of the organization
as it worked its way north to Japan.
Colonel Riggins served as chief
supply officer in the initial occupation of Japan by the Tokyo
After XI Corps was inactivated in Japan in 1946 the colonel qualified as a paratrooper and was assigned as
commanding officer of the 187th Infantry Regiment of the 11th Airborne Division. As commanding officer
of that organization he directed the first post-war amphibious landing exercise with the 187th Regimental Combat Team.
After he returned to the United
States, Riggins attended the Industrial College of the Armed
Forces and was subsequently
assigned as Chief of Movements Branch, Assistant Chief of Staff G4, Department of the Army. He served in that capacity
for two years (1948-50) and assumed his present command in November 1950.
Colonel Riggins has been
decorated with the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, an Army
and two Bronze Arrowheads for landings in the Pacific theater.
COL Lewis A. Riggins
(far right) inspects M-26 Pershing tank
of the Tank Company of the 22nd Infantry in Germany 1951.
At the time of this photo Riggins was Commanding Officer 22nd Infantry.
From the Command Report to the Troops 4th Infantry Division 1951
COL Lewis A. Riggins' decorations
Colonel Lewis A. Riggins died on July 20, 1974.
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
Plot: W, 2083
Lewis A. Riggins
Lewis Ackley Riggins was born 10
November 1902 in Camden, New Jersey, the son of Francis G.
Jessie Ann Patrick Riggins. He attended schools in Camden, New Jersey, and received his appointment to West Point
in 1921. He graduated in the Class of 1925 and served in the Infantry. Stationed first in San Antonio, Texas, he next served
in the Philippines with the 31st Infantry. He was a member of the American forces that were sent to Shanghai in the autumn of 1931.
Upon returning to the United States in 1933, he was stationed at Camp Dix, New Jersey where he was assigned to Civilian
Conservation Corps duty. After completion of his duties there, he was assigned to the 18th Infantry at Camp Dix until 1939
when he was transferred to South Carolina to help organize Fort Jackson. From there he went to Command and
General Staff School in 1942.
In World War II he served in Italy with the Fifth United States Army as an observer, and was then sent to the South Pacific area
where he served in G4 with the XI Corps. After the signing of the Japanese peace treaty, he was among the first troops in the
occupation of Japan. After assisting in development of the postwar government, he was stationed with the 11th Airborne in Hokido
where he attended parachutist and glider schools. He considered qualifying for and receiving his pins from these schools among
his proudest accomplishments. On his return to the States in 1947 he attended the Armed Forces Industrial College and then
was assigned to the Pentagon.
Lew and his family left for a tour of duty in Germany in 1951. He was troop commander in Schweinfurt for one year,
G4 in Frankfurt for six months and G4 in Stuttgart for eighteen months. Returning to the United States in 1954, he was
assigned as the Inspector General for the First Army at Fort Jay in New Jersey until his retirement on 30 June 1955
after thirty years service in the Army of the United States.
Desiring to get below the "frost line, he moved with his family to Bayview, Texas. There he lived a quiet life, devoting his time
to the family and the education of his children.
He is survived by his wife, Florence Edith Riggins; two daughters, Eliza Ann Schaeffer, Bethesda, Maryland and
Peggy Lou Robbins, Boulder, Colorado; and three sons, Norman, Houston, Texas, Richard, Brownsville, Texas,
and Michael also of Houston. He lost one son, Sergeant James Riggins, in Vietnam in January 1969 at the age of nineteen years.
From the West Point Association of Graduates website
Lewis A Riggins' son James was killed in action in Vietnam on January 25, 1969.
James Patrick Riggins was
serving as a Sergeant and Squad Leader with 3rd Platoon Company C
60th Infantry 9th Infantry Division in Thu Thua District, Kien Tuong Province of South Vietnam when his unit
encountered a hostile force. Leading by example he pushed forward ahead of his squad and engaged the enemy,
successfully eliminating an enemy soldier. He was then mortally wounded by heavy enemy fire from concealed
positions, however, his actions prevented the enemy from launching an ambush on his unit and he saved the lives
of his squad members. For his actions that day James was awarded the Silver Star Medal.
James Patrick Riggins
SGT James P. Riggins' decorations
James is buried with his father
Colonel Lewis A. Riggins and his mother Florence E. Riggins
at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio.
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery
Plot: W, 2083
Grave marker for James P. Riggins
Photo by Robert Sage from the Find A Grave website
Top photo of COL Lewis A. Riggins as Commanding
Officer 22nd Infantry from the 4th Infantry
European Command 1951-52 yearbook:
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