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First Name: Isaac

Last Name: White

Birthplace: Peterborough, NH, USA


Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Davis

Date of Birth: 06 March 1901

Date of Death: 11 June 1990

Rank: General

Years Served: 1923-1961
Isaac Davis White

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


Isaac Davis White
General, U.S. Army

NOTE: Compiling this bio for General White was enigmatic. He was smart, educated, and an author who was considered a visionary and strategic thinker. Much of his military service was spent commanding troops in some key commands. This means that he was highly regarded, and well known, by superior officers. Yet, the accessible details of his military career are minimal; the availability of data for the first twenty years of his Army service is almost non-existent. For this reason, his bio is missing many details. Please do not allow this brevity to lessen your regard and gratitude for this talented general who served his country by successfully leading troops in World War II and the Korean War.

Isaac Davis White was born on 6 March 1901 in Peterborough, NH. He entered Norwich University in 1918 and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in 1922. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Cavalry (the mounted force of the U.S. Army) in 1923.

As a Major, White joined the 2nd Armored ("Hell on Wheels") Division in 1940 and led units of the Division in North Africa, Sicily, France, and Belgium.

In late 1944, at the age of 43, he was promoted to Major General and, from January-August, 1945, commanded the 2nd Armored Division. In early 1945, the Division was holding positions on the Roer River when it was ordered to help contain the German's Ardennes offensive, which became known as the Battle of the Bulge. During the Battle of the Bulge, 2nd Armored fought in Eastern Belgium, blunting the German Fifth Panzer Army's penetration of American lines. The Division helped reduce the Bulge in January, fighting in the Ardennes forest in deep snow and freezing winter conditions.

After resting in February, the Division, while under mortar fire, crossed the Rhine River on 27 March 1945, in an unprecedented seven hours. On 11 April 1945, 2nd Armored Division became the first Allied Soldiers to reach the Elbe River, where they were ordered to halt. Here, the Allies trapped several hundred thousand Wehrmacht troops in the Ruhr Pocket and White's 2nd Armored played a central role in capturing more than 45,000 prisoners. In July, the Division entered Berlin and became the first American unit to enter the German capital city and link up with the British and Soviet Armies.

For a brief time, White later served as Commanding General of the U.S. Constabulary for the European Command. This 'super-police' force controlled the population of the U.S. Zone of Germany after WWII.

Side Story

White was an expert horseman who joined the Seventh Cavalry Brigade in the 1930s. Due to his expertise, at the 1948 Olympic Games in London, he managed the U.S. Army Equestrian Team.

During the next few years, White's assignments included serving as Commandant of the Cavalry School and as Commandant for the Ground General School, at Fort Riley, KS. In 1950-51, he was the Deputy Commanding General of the 7th Army and, for a brief time in late 1951, was the Chief of Staff for the 1st Army, headquartered at Governor's Island, NY. He also briefly served as Commandant of the Armored School. During 1951, White also earned a Master of Military Science Degree from Norwich University. (He later served as a Trustee of the University.)

White was Commanding General of X Corps during 1952-53. From late 1953 to 1955, he was Commanding General of the Fourth Army at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. During 1955-57, he was Commander-in-Chief, United Nations Command, in Korea. In that command his responsibilities included supervising the training of four South Korean Army divisions. On 22 June 1955, White was promoted to the four-star rank of General.

From 1957 until his retirement in 1961, General White was Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Army, Pacific (USARPAC).

Medals and Awards

Army Distinguished Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device and Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Silver and 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal with 3 Bronze Service Stars
United Nations Service Medal
Republic of Korea War Service Medal
Army Presidential Unit Citation
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation

He was also awarded medals and awards from other nations including France, Belgium, Russia, Mexico, and Japan.


● An honorary degree of Doctor of Military Science from the University of Maryland, College Park.
● The section of U.S. Route 202 from White's birthplace of Peterborough, New Hampshire, to the Massachusetts border in Rindge, was designated the "General I.D. White Highway" in his honor.
● Much of White's Army career paralleled the development of armored tactics and weapons. As an advisor to the Army Chief of Staff, he helped speed the design and manufacture of armored weapons in the Korean War. Because of his extensive experience in tank warfare, upon his retirement, "Armor Magazine" dubbed him 'Mr. Armor.'
● After retirement and the publication of his book, "Alternative to Armageddon-the Peace Potential of Lightning War" in 1970, White was recognized as a visionary and strategic military thinker. He advocated a quick strike capability for US forces as an alternative to a nuclear exchange, or a war of attrition, as the nation was experiencing in Vietnam at that time.


General Isaac Davis White died on 11 June 1990 in Hanover, NH, of natural causes at age 89.

His wife of 61 years, the former Julia Cotton, preceded him in death on 31 July 1989.

Honoree ID: 360   Created by: MHOH




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