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First Name: John

Last Name: Palmer

Birthplace: Carlinville, IL, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: McAuley

Date of Birth: 23 April 1870

Date of Death: 26 October 1955

Rank: Brigadier General

Years Served:
John McAuley Palmer

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1892

•  Spanish-American War (1898)
•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


John McAuley Palmer
Brigadier General, U.S. Army

John McAuley Palmer was born on 23 April 1870 in Carlinville, IL, grandson of Senator John McAuley Palmer.

Palmer graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1892, served in Cuba as Aide to General Samuel Sumner during the Spanish-American War, and served with the 15th Infantry during the China Relief Expedition. Palmer was the U.S. Army's principal theorist of the early 1900s, influencing Chiefs of Staff Wood, Pershing and Marshall.

At the outset of World War I, he prepared the Draft Act and the plan for forming the American Expeditionary Force. He was Operations Officer of the AEF and commanded the National Guard's 58th Brigade in combat at Verdun and Meuse-Argonne. Convinced that citizen soldiers were essential to maintaining a democracy, Palmer countered advocates of eliminating the National Guard by proposing a standing Army that could be expanded through activating National Guard and Reserve soldiers, and he succeeded in having his ideas codified in the National Defense Act of 1920.

Palmer retired as a Brigadier General in 1923 and wrote on military topics, including 1930's "Washington, Lincoln, Wilson: Three War Statesmen"; 1937's "General von Steuben"; and 1941's "America in Arms".

Palmer's medals and awards included two Distinguished Service Medals.

Recalled in 1941 as an advisor to Marshall, he was the oldest American to see military service during World War II, after which he retired to his Washington, DC, home.

Death and Burial

Brigadier General John McAuley Palmer died on 26 October 1955 in Washington, DC. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 2929   Created by: MHOH




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