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First Name: Edward

Last Name: King

Birthplace: Atlanta, GA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Postell

Date of Birth: 04 July 1884

Date of Death: 31 August 1958

Rank: Major General

Years Served: 1908 - 1946
Edward Postell King, Jr.

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Edward Postell King, Jr.
Major General, U.S. Army

Edward Postell King, Jr. was born on 4 July 1884 in Atlanta, GA. As the grandson and nephew of Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War, King had a strong desire to be a soldier. He entered the University of Georgia, where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and graduated in 1902.

Early Military Career

Initially, his family wanted him to be a lawyer but he desired a more adventurous career. He applied for and received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1908. He served with distinction during World War I, earning the Distinguished Service Medal. As Principal Assistant to the Chief of Field Artillery, from 23 March to 11 November 1918, Major King contributed largely to the successful solution of the difficult problems of expansion, organization, and training which then confronted the Field Artillery. Between World War I and World War II, King held several important assignments including that of Instructor in both the Army and Navy War Colleges. In 1940 he was sent to the Philippines where he was promptly promoted to Brigadier General and served as General Douglas MacArthur's second highest ranking ground officer, after General Jonathan Wainwright.

World War II

On 11 March 1942, by order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, MacArthur left for Australia. Wainwright was appointed to succeed MacArthur as General of the Armies of the Philippines while King became the Commanding General of the Philippine-American forces on the Bataan Peninsula. At the time, King was the commander of the Artillery.

After months of fighting the invading Japanese Army, and with food and medicine exhausted, King himself, accepting sole responsibility to disobey MacArthur's and Wainwright's orders, chose to surrender his troops on 9 April 1942. (This day is commemorated in the Philippines as Araw ng Kagitingan "Day of Valor"). A combined American and Filipino force of over 75,000 surrendered; this was the largest surrender of a military force in American history. Thousands of these soldiers would die under Japanese captivity during the ensuing Bataan Death March and imprisonment.

Wainwright and his men, numbering 10,000, held on to Corregidor until they too were forced to surrender on 6 May 1942.

King spent three and half years as a captive of the Japanese and was often mistreated by them because of his rank. Both Wainwright and King expected court-martial for disobeying the no-surrender order. However, they were treated as heroes when they were finally freed.


After the war, King returned to the U.S. and retired from the Army. He returned to a home in Georgia and devoted himself to many volunteer causes, such as the Red Cross.

Medals and Awards

Army Distinguished Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
World War I Victory Medal
American Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Stars
Philippine Defense Ribbon
World War Ii Victory Medal

Death and Burial

Major General Edward Postell King, Jr. died on 31 August 1958. He is buried at Saint John in the Wilderness Cemetery in Flat Rock, NC.

Honoree ID: 2710   Created by: MHOH




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