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First Name: Hobart

Last Name: Gay

Birthplace: Rockport, IL, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: R.

Date of Birth: 16 May 1894

Date of Death: 19 August 1983

Rank: Lieutenant General

Years Served: 1917 - 1955
Hobart R. Gay

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


Hobart R. "Hap" Gay
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army

Hobart R. Gay was born on 16 May 1894 in Rockport, IL

Gay was first commissioned into the U.S. Army Reserve as a Second Lieutenant following his graduation from Knox College in 1917. On 26 October 1917, Gay was commissioned into the Regular Army and promoted to First Lieutenant. He was promoted to Captain in July 1920. In his early career, he was a Cavalry Officer. He transferred to the Quartermaster Corps on 11 June 1934 and was promoted to Major on 1 August 1935. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 18 August 1940 and to Colonel on 24 December 1941.

World War II

Gay was awarded the Silver Star in December 1942 for gallantry in action on 8 November 1942 at Casablanca. He was Chief of Staff of the I Armored Corps in North Africa at the time. He was promoted to Brigadier General on 24 June 1943. In the Sicily campaign he was assigned to the U.S. Seventh Army as Chief of Staff. He became Chief of Staff, Third Army, under General George S. Patton in February 1944. When Patton took command of the U.S. Fifteenth Army, Gay was again his Chief of Staff. He and Patton went pheasant hunting on 9 December 1945. While Patton and Gay were seated in the back seat of the staff car, enroute to the hunting lodge, there was a traffic accident, during which Patton sustained spinal injuries that later cost him his life. Gay was uninjured.

Post-World War II Europe

After Patton's death, Gay assumed command of Fifteenth Army in January 1946 for a period of one month. He then became Commander of the U.S. 1st Armored Division until its return to the U.S. later in 1946. He then assumed command of the Second Constabulary Brigade. He served in Europe until 1947, when he returned to the U.S.

Gay commanded the Military District of Washington until September 1949. During his command of the District, General John J. Pershing died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on 15 July 1948. In accordance with tradition, Gen. Gay coordinated arrangements for Pershing's funeral ceremonies as the representative of the U.S. President.

Korean War

In September 1949, Gay took command of the 1st Cavalry Division (U.S.) in Osaka, Japan. He brought the 1st Cavalry to Korea, where it was in action on 19 July 1950. There is ongoing controversy about an incident between 26-29 July 1950 at the bridge at No Gun Ri. Just days into his first combat command, Gay had told reporters that he was sure that most persons moving south and toward American lines were "North Korean guerrillas," even though the U.S. Army itself had told civilians to head that way for their own protection. Based on this belief, Gay ordered bridges blown, even though they were crowded with civilians.

In the case of the bridge at No Gun Ri, not only was the bridge strafed, but a large number of South Korean refugees seeking safety under the bridge were killed by members of the 1st Cavalry Division firing into the groups huddled there.

In 1999, the Associated Press searched declassified military archives for information on the shooting of unarmed civilian refugees by military personnel. While they found no official Army accounts of the No Gun Ri incident, "In interviews with The Associated Press, ex-GIs speak of 100, 200 or simply hundreds dead. The South Koreans...say 300 were shot to death at the bridge and 100 died in a preceding air attack."

"U.S. archives show clear proof of intent, including 1950 communications from the U.S. Ambassador in South Korea and a top Air Force officer saying U.S. forces, to guard against infiltrators, had adopted a policy of shooting refugees approaching their lines, and a series of orders from U.S. commanders to fire on all civilians. Refugees are "fair game," said the 1st Cavalry Division's Maj. Gen. Hobart R. Gay."

Gay was appointed Deputy Commander of the U.S. Fourth Army in February 1951. In July 1952, he was appointed Commander of U.S. VI Corps at Camp Atterbury, IN, and in April 1953 was made Commanding General of U.S. III Corps at Fort MacArthur, CA. He moved to Fort Hood, TX, when III Corps was reassigned there.

Post-Korean War

In September 1954, Major General Gay was made Commander of U.S. Fifth Army in Chicago, IL. He was nominated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in October 1954 for promotion to Lieutenant General (temporary).

Hobart R. Gay's career in the U.S. Army ended in 1955 as the Commanding General, Anti-aircraft and Guided Missile Center, Fort Bliss, TX.

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Cross with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Distinguished Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Silver Star Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Legion of Merit with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Distinguished Flying Cross with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Bronze Star Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Air Medal
Army Commendation Ribbon
Mexican Service Medal
World War I Victory Medal
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal
United Nations Service Medal

Foreign Awards

Distinguished Service Order
Légion d'honneur Chevalier
Légion d'honneur Officer
Croix de guerre
Order of the White Lion Class II
Czechoslovakian War Cross

Distinguished Service Cross Citation (1st Award)

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Major General [then Brigadier General] Hobart Raymond Gay (ASN: 0-7323), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with Headquarters, 3d Army, in action against enemy forces on 11 November 1944. When the operations of the 90th Infantry Division of the Third Army were in great peril, General Gay made an inspection of the bridging operations over the flooded Moselle and of the forward elements of the Division east of the Moselle from Malling to Keonigmacker. In spite of intense enemy fires from small arms, artillery, high velocity direct fire weapons, General Gay continued his mission inspiring all ranks by his cool and courageous conduct and sound and encouraging advice. His presence and assistance at this critical moment lent new confidence to the command and insured the continued bold and determined advance to objectives. Major General Gay's gallant leadership, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 3d Army, and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, Third U.S. Army, General Orders No. 128 (June 2, 1945)

Distinguished Service Cross Citation (2nd Award)

The President of the United States of America, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Service Cross to Major General Hobart Raymond Gay (ASN: 0-7323), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while as Commanding General of the 1st Cavalry Division. Major General Gay distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces in the Republic of Korea during the period from 18 July to 1 October 1950. During this period, although faced by overwhelming numerical superiority, General Gay so skillfully led his Division that the enemy's advance was slowed and ultimately halted along the Naktong River Line. His continuous presence at the front under enemy artillery, mortar, and small-arms fire with total disregard for his own personal safety was an inspiration to his men during the critical period of the United Nations buildup. On 25 September 1950, the Division made a break-through at Tabu-dong. General Gay joined the task force formed to exploit the success, placing his quarter-ton vehicle behind the two leading tanks, taking part in numerous firefights. In one instance the lead tank was hit by enemy antitank fire, halting the column. Realizing the seriousness of the situation and the necessity for pushing forward, General Gay made his way under enemy fire to the lead tank and personally directed accurate fire at the enemy antitank guns, which eliminated them. His aggressive leadership, courage under fire, and personal heroism, enable the task force to continue its rapid advance and prevented the enemy from organizing a defensive position which would have nullified the breakthrough.

General Orders: Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea: General Orders No. 109 (October 10, 1950)

Media Portrayal

In the 1986 telefilm "The Last Days of Patton," General Gay was portrayed by Murray Hamilton. In the original theatrical film Patton (1970), the character of Brigadier General Hobart Carver, played by Michael Strong, was based on Gay.

In Retirement

Following retirement, Gay became Superintendent of the New Mexico Military Institute.

Death and Burial

Lieutenant General Hobart R. Gay died on 19 August 1983 in El Paso, TX. He is buried at the Fort Bliss National Cemetery in El Paso, TX.

Honoree ID: 2544   Created by: MHOH




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