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First Name: Emil

Last Name: Eschenburg

Birthplace: Mount Clemens, MI, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Paul

Date of Birth: 26 December 1915

Date of Death: 25 November 2004

Rank: Brigadier General

Years Served:
Emil Paul Eschenburg

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)
•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Emil Paul Eschenburg
Brigadier General, U.S. Army

Emil Paul Eschenburg was born on 26 December 1915 in Mount Clemens, MI, one of seven children born to Paul Fredrick and Ella Marie Weise Eschenburg. He graduated from Mount Clemens High School and received a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University. A farm boy, Eschenburg began his 32-year military career with the Artillery in the Michigan National Guard.

World War II

In 1942 he joined the U.S.-Canadian First Special Service Force, a commando-style, secret 1,800-man force best known for capturing German forces in the mountains of Italy. Known to the Germans as "Black Devils" because of their faces, which were blackened with shoe polish before raids; their capture of a German-held mountaintop along a highway that led to Rome, became the basis for Andrew V. McLaglen's movie "The Devil's Brigade." After the First Special Service Brigade was disbanded on 5 December 1944, as a Lieutenant Colonel he served as Assistant Chief of Staff G-3, 45th Division. During World War II, his unit was in Munich and took over the infamous Dachau Concentration Camp.

Korean War

He was later promoted to Colonel and served with the 35th Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, in Korea during the Korean War, becoming the Commander the 35th Regiment on 25 April 1953. On 14 October, Eschenburg was transferred to the I Corps General Staff.

Vietnam War

Eschenburg served in Vietnam as Assistant Commander of the 101st Airborne Division and with the Special Forces. After his promotion to Brigadier General in 1963, he became Deputy Commanding General of the Capital Military Assistance Command in Tan Son Nhut, Vietnam.

Brigadier General Eschenburg retired from the Army in 1970.

While in the Army, he graduated with high honors from the National War College, did graduate study at Harvard University and earned a Master's degree in International Relations from George Washington University.

Medals and Awards

Eschenburg earned a multitude of military honors: four Distinguished Flying Crosses, four Silver Stars, the Purple Heart, and the Combat Infantryman's Badge with one Silver Star. He had 77 awards for valor out of a total of 115 awards.

In Retirement

After retiring from the Army, Eschenburg returned to Helena in 1972 and entered the real estate business. At the time of his death, he was a Realtor at Bill Walker Realty. He remained active in civic organizations and veterans affairs and spoke at numerous organizations and schools. He was President of the Montana Kiwanis Club.

Death and Burial

Brigadier General Emil Paul Eschenburg died on 25 November 2004 at the VA Medical Center at Fort Harrison. He is buried at Montana State Veterans Cemetery in Helena, MT.

He was one of the last remaining members of the Devil's Brigade.

Preceding Emil in death were his parents, one brother and three sisters. Survivors include his wife Dolly; sons Emil (Anne) Eschenburg and Erich (Loye) Eschenburg; daughters Paula (Terry) Scott and Lise (Mike) Harrison; grandchildren Jason and Jeffrey Scott, Ean and Evan Eschenburg, Sarah, Ruth and Matthew Harrison; very special step-daughter Sharon Johns; nephew and niece Henry and Kim Flatow; special grandsons Kevin and Hank Flatow; special great-granddaughters Molly and Hailey Vidmar; brothers Elmer and Eldon Eschenburg, and many nieces and nephews.

Honoree ID: 2475   Created by: MHOH




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