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First Name: William

Last Name: Arnold

Birthplace: Wooster, OH, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Richard

Date of Birth: 10 June 1881

Date of Death: 07 January 1965

Rank: Major General

Years Served:
William Richard Arnold


William Richard Arnold
Major General, U.S. Army

William Richard Arnold was born on 10 June 1881 in Wooster, OH, to Augustine Adam and Catherine Mary (née Dalton) Arnold. He attended St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, IN, graduating in 1902. Before beginning his studies for the priesthood, he learned his father's trade of cigar-making and later worked as a bar-straightener at a steel mill in Muncie, IN. In Peru, IN, he became acquainted and quartered with the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus.

Arnold then studied at St. Bernard's Seminary in Rochester, NY. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Fort Wayne on 13 June 1908. His first assignment was as a curate at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Peru. In April 1913, he entered the Army Chaplain Corps with the rank of First Lieutenant. Arnold then served at Fort Washington, MD, until 1915, when he was sent to Fort Mills at Corregidor in the Philippines. Returning to the U.S. in 1918, he briefly served at Fort Winfield Scott, CA, and taught at the Chaplain Training School at Camp Taylor in Louisville, KY.

Arnold subsequently served at Fort Hancock, NJ (1918-19), and was promoted to Captain in May 1919. He was Director of the Chaplain Training School at Fort Leavenworth, KS, from 1925-29 and became a Major in April 1927. He then returned to the Philippines, serving as Department Chaplain at Fort McKinley from 1929-31. After serving at Fort Bliss, TX, from 1931-37, he was Chaplain of the First Cavalry Division and Supervising Chaplain of the Arizona, New Mexico, West Texas District of the Civilian Conservation Corps. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in April 1933, and served again as Director of the Chaplain Training School at Fort Leavenworth from June to November 1937.

On 23 December 1937, Arnold was appointed Chief of the Army Chaplain Corps by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, with the rank of Colonel. He was the fifth Chief of the Army Chaplain Corps and the first Catholic to hold the office. He was named a papal chamberlain by Pope Pius XI in August 1938, and raised to the rank of domestic prelate by Pope Pius XII in January 1942. He became a Brigadier General on 21 November 1941 and was re-appointed Chief of Chaplains on 23 December. Arnold reached the rank of Major General on 17 November 1944. He continued to serve as Chief of Chaplains until 1 April 1945, when he became Assistant Inspector General of the Army.

On 5 May 1945, Arnold was appointed Military Delegate of the Armed Forces and Titular Bishop of Phocaea by Pius XII. He received his episcopal consecration the following 11 October from Archbishop Francis Spellman, with Bishops John F. Noll and John Francis O'Hara serving as co-consecrators, at St. Patrick's Cathedral. He traveled extensively during his 19-year tenure, visiting American military installations throughout the world and administering the sacraments to members of the armed services and their families. He later served as Auxiliary Bishop of New York City and wrote" Soldiers of God." 

Medals and Awards

Army Distinguished Service Medal

Death and Burial

Major General William Richard Arnold died on 7 January 1965 at St. Clare's Hospital in New York City, at age 83. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 2077   Created by: MHOH




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