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First Name: John

Last Name: O'Ryan

Birthplace: New York City, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Francis

Date of Birth: 21 August 1874

Date of Death: 29 January 1961

Rank: Major General

Years Served:
John Francis O’Ryan

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  Mexican Expedition (1916 - 1917)


John Francis O'Ryan
Major General, U.S. Army

John Francis O'Ryan was born on 21 August 1874 in New York, NY.

O'Ryan received a law degree from New York University and became an attorney in 1898. He enlisted in the National Guard while still a college student and received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in 1900.

In 1912 he was appointed Major General and Commander of the New York National Guard. O'Ryan graduated from the Army War College in 1914 and served in the 1916 Villa expedition.

At the start of World War I, the New York National Guard was organized as the 27th Infantry Division. The 27th saw action in Belgium and France, and O'Ryan, the Army's youngest Division Commander when he arrived in Europe, was the only National Guard General to remain in command throughout the war.

After returning to the U.S., O'Ryan was a founder of the American Legion. From 1922-26, he was New York State Transit Commissioner. In 1926 he became prominent in the development of commercial aviation as a partner in Pan American Airways, later becoming President of Colonial Airways. In 1934 he was a candidate for Mayor of New York, but withdrew and accepted appointment as Mayor LaGuardia's Police Commissioner. During World War II, he served as New York State's Civil Defense Director.

His awards included the Distinguished Service Medal and his decorations included knighthoods and other honors from Belgium, France, Italy and Great Britain. 

Death and Burial

Major General John Francis O'Ryan died on 29 January 1961 in South Salem, NY. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 2924   Created by: MHOH




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