John Frank Ruggles
Commanding Officer 22nd Infantry
4th Infantry Division
March 3, 1945 - February 19, 1946
Commanding Officer 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
1942, January 1944
John F. Ruggles was born in Lyndonville, Caledonia County, Vermont on November 7, 1908.
He entered the US Military
Academy on July 1, 1927 and graduated 263 out of a class of 296,
on June 11, 1931,
when he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant of Infantry. While at the Academy his best subjects were Tactics
and Engineering and his worst subjects were Military Hygiene and Economics, Government & History.
Above and right:
The entry for John Frank
Ruggles was promoted to 1st
Lieutenant on August 1, 1935
and was assigned to the 26th Infantry Regiment.
He graduated from the Infantry School Regular Officers Course in 1938.
He was offered the temporary
rank of Captain in the Army of the United States (AUS) on
September 9, 1940,
and accepted that rank on October 2 of that year. On June 11, 1941 he was promoted to Captain in the
Regular Army. He received the temporary rank of Major (AUS) on June 25, 1942. One account has Ruggles
in command of 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry in 1942, though with no exact dates or time span mentioned.
On January 12, 1943 he was
promoted to Lieutenant Colonel (AUS). The official history of the
has Ruggles in command of 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry in January of 1944, and billeted with the Battalion
at Newton Abbey, England. He was made executive officer of the 22nd Infantry sometime before June, 1944,
and in that capacity landed with the Regiment on D-Day, June 6, 1944 on Utah Beach. On March 3, 1945
Ruggles assumed command of the 22nd Infantry Regiment. On April 27, 1945 he received a promotion
to the temporary rank of Colonel (AUS). He continued in command of the Regiment until just before its
deactivation at Camp Butner, N.C. in 1946. On May 31, 1946 his temporary rank of Colonel was terminated.
In 1946 he attended the Command
and General Staff School 2nd Command Course. On July 15, 1948 he
promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in the Regular Army. Ruggles was again promoted to the temporary rank of
Colonel (AUS) on September 7, 1950. In 1951 he was a graduate of the Army War College, the equivalent
of the Armed Forces Staff College. He was promoted to Colonel in the Regular Army on August 3, 1953.
On April 25, 1955 Ruggles
received a promotion to Brigadier General (AUS), and was assigned
Commander of the Yukon Training Command in Ladd, Alaska. He is noted in one account as personally taking
charge of a rescue effort, when an F-84 fighter jet crashed into military family housing at Eielson Air Force Base,
on November 29, 1955. In February 1957 Ruggles was temporarily in command of the 2nd Infantry Division.
His promotion to Brigadier
General in the Regular Army came on May 1, 1960. On July 1, 1961
he was appointed
a Major General in the Regular Army (with date of rank back to August 26, 1960).
Ruggles commanded the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas, from August 1961 to January 1963.
He retired from the Army as a Major General on August , 1966.
In retirement MG Ruggles was
active in the 22nd Infantry Regiment Society and the 4th Infantry
Division Association .
He was an Honorary Colonel of the 22nd Infantry Regiment and Honorary President of the National 4th Infantry
John F. Ruggles died in Phoenix,
Arizona on January 15, 1999. Memorial services were held at
Chaparral Christian Church,
6451 East Shay Road, Scottsdale, AZ on Saturday, January 23, 1999 at 10:00AM.
Lieutenant Colonel John
Photo taken in the marshalling
area of England
LT COL John Ruggles
Photo taken in France
Photo from Major "Swede"
Courtesy of John King
Lt Col John Ruggles with
the 22nd Infantry
Pistol on one side, fighting knife on the other
Photo from HISTORY OF
Official portrait of
Colonel John F. Ruggles
Photo from the 22nd Infantry Regiment
The following biography of John F. Ruggles was written in 1993 and is from the website:
John Frank, son of Albert
and Agnes (Hinds) Ruggles, was born November 7, 1908 in
Lyndonville, VT. He attended local schools
and graduated from Lyndon Institute (High School) in 1926. Undecided as to what college he wished to attend and with his belief
that his family could not afford to finance university studies, he took a post-graduate year at the Lyndon Institute. During his time
he took the competitive examinations sponsored by Congressman Ernest Gibson, of Brattleboro, VT, for an appointment to the
US Military Academy at West Point. He received the appointment and entered West Point 01 Jul 1927. He received his commission
as a 2nd Lieut on 11 Jun 1931.
John's first assignment, lasting four years, was to the 26th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Infantry Division then stationed at
Plattsburg Barracks, New York. During this time he married September 7, 1933 in Littleton, NH, Anita LeJeune, born July 1, 1907,
daughter of Joseph LeJeune of Plattsburg, NY.
After Plattsburg came an assignment to the 31st Infantry Regiment in Manila, Philippine Islands. While stationed there (1935-37),
the Philippines were granted their Commonwealth Government and the ten year transition to full independence began.
This was interrupted by the Japanese invasion in 1941 and General MacArthur arrived in Manila to supervise the training
of the Commonwealth's armed forces.
Upon returning from the Philippines, John attended the Infantry School at Fort Benning, GA, in 1937 and then went on to an
assignment in the 18th Infantry Regiment at Fort Devens, MA. This was an assignment almost back home as part of his training
was done on the artillery range at Underhill, VT.
After Hitler marched into Poland September 1, 1939, John's unit was moved to the Panama Canal Zone where he remained
until 1942. During this time Anita became ill with tuberculosis and returned to New York where she died in a sanatorium in 1941.
This was the same disease which took John's elder brother Homer in 1921.
John heard, as did most Americans, over the radio on September 7 1941, of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and although they were
already on a wartime alert status, it brought on the full realization of the fact that we were engaged in another World War.
John married secondly on February 14, 1942, in Corocal, Canal Zone, Panama, Charlotte Thompson, born January 16, 1916,
daughter of Thomas and Mary (O'Neill) Thompson of Albion, Nebraska. She was stationed in Panama as an army nurse.
John and Charlotte returned from Panama in 1942 to Fort Benning, GA, where he asked for an assignment to the
4th Infantry Division, then engaged in amphibious training at nearby Camp Gordon Johnson, Carabelle, FL. He joined the 4th Division
in November 1943, and was promoted to Colonel.
After completing amphibious training, the 4th Division was shipped to Devonshire, in southern England. Here John learned
that they were to be the assault division on Utah Beach in Normandy, France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. The Division participated
in the drive across France and was the first American division to enter Paris, and to set foot on German soil. With their sister Division
"The Big Red One" they engaged in the noted "Battle of the Bulge" and by early 1945 Col. Ruggles took command of the
22nd Infantry Regiment for the crossing of the Rhine and the drive across Bavaria. They crossed the Danube River April 25, 1945,
where it was apparent that the end of German resistance was soon to come. After a short occupational stint in the Nurenberg area,
the 4th Division was returned to the US and was stationed at Camp Butner, NC. During his service in Europe he made the
acquaintance of notable personalities, among them Brigadier General "Teddy" Roosevelt, and Ernest Hemingway, who was
at the time a war correspondent who had adopted the 22nd as his own unit.
From 1945-55 he was a student at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS(1945-46); staff duty
in the Headquarters, Army Group Forces, at Fort Monroe, Washington DC (1947-50); student at the Army's top school,
the Army War College, (1950-51); staff duty again in Washington DC (1951-55), thus missing out on the Korean War.
John received orders to
Alaska in 1955 and there took command of the 4th Regimental
Combat Command stationed on
Ladd Air Force Base near Fairbanks. He was promoted to Brigadier General in 1956 and became Deputy Infantry
Commanding General of the US Army, Alaska and Commanding General of the Yukon Command. In March of 1957
General Ruggles reported to Fort Benning, GA for duty as the Deputy Infantry Center Commander.
Helmet liner of Colonel
Note insignia for Alaskan
Insignia on right side of
Photo courtesy of Bob Babcock
Promotion to Major General
and orders to South Vietnam came almost hand in hand in May 1959.
In Saigon he took over
the duties of Deputy Chief of the Military Assistance Advisory Group with primary responsibility for the training of the
Vietnamese Armed Forces. Most of his two years in South Vietnam was spent in the field visiting and inspecting units
and schools in training.
At the end of his tour in Vietnam (June 1961) General Ruggles received orders to take command of the First Infantry Division
and the Post of Fort Riley, KS. The wheel had turned full circle: he was returning to "The Big Red One", the unit in which he had
started his commissioned service some thirty years previous.
In January 1962 he was
transferred to duty in the Department of Defence in Washington as
Senior Army Member
of the Weapons Systems Evaluation Group.
General Ruggles retired from active service at the end of July 1966. During his service he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal,
Two Silver Star Medals, Two Legion of Merit Medals, three Bronze Star medals; one Purple heart, two Distinguished Unit Citations,
the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Cross of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor (France); Croix de Guerre with Palm (France)
and the Belgium Fourragere.
John and Charlotte bought a home in Fairfax, VA. In 1973 they moved to Phoenix, AZ, where their sons had settled.
John Today is continuing to enjoy his retirement through his church, the First Christian, his many friends and his immense storehouse of memories.
Brigadier General John F. Ruggles
Portrait taken during his tenure as Deputy Commanding General of the
U.S. Army Infantry Center, Fort Benning, Georgia, photo dated April 1957.
He is wearing the Belgian Fourragere around his left shoulder.
John Ruggles' decorations
He also received the Belgian Fourragere
The 4th Infantry Division monument in
The helmet at the base of the monument is the same one worn by John F. Ruggles when he came ashore at Utah Beach
with the 22nd Infantry on D-Day June 6, 1944. Sand from the beach at Normandy, and from other places where the
4th Division served was mixed in the helmet and poured into the base of the monument on the day of its dedication.
Below are closeups of the helmet pictured above:
Front of helmet:
Back of helmet:
Top of helmet:
Note crease on helmet where German shrapnel struck and glanced off.
Helmet photos courtesy of Bob Babcock
Major General John Frank Ruggles
Birth: Nov. 7, 1908
Death: Jan. 15, 1999
Greenwood Memory Lawn Cemetery
The grave monument for John Ruggles
Photo by Gloria Simpson from the Find A Grave website
John F. Ruggles was instrumental
in the construction and dedication of a monument to a fallen
of World War II, who lost his life trying to help a wounded American Soldier of the 22nd Infantry.
To view the monument and read the story go to the page on this website by clicking on the following link:
22nd Infantry Monument to Fallen German Soldier
¹ Top photo of Colonel John F. Ruggles
Photo taken near Bamberg, Germany, June 1945,
when COL Ruggles commanded the 22nd Infantry Regiment
Photo courtesy of Bob Babcock
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