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First Name: Gerald

Last Name: Higgins


Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Joseph

Date of Birth: 29 August 1909

Date of Death: 20 December 1996

Rank: Major General

Years Served:
Gerald Joseph Higgins

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1934

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Gerald Joseph Higgins
Major General, U.S. Army
World War II

Gerald Joseph Higgins began his career in the U.S. Army as an enlisted man. He later received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, graduating in the class of 1934. A member of the pre-war Regular Army, Higgins had predicted the coming war with Japan as early as 1938.

Higgins, a pioneer paratrooper, joined the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division in March 1941 as a Captain. As a Lieutenant Colonel, he became Chief of Staff of the 101st Airborne Division in September 1943, under the command of Major General William C. Lee, and was its Chief of Staff on D-Day.

In March 1944, then Brigadier General (Major General in May 1944) Maxwell D. Taylor assumed command of the 101st Airborne Division. When 101st Assistant Division Commander, Brigadier General Don Pratt, was killed in a glider accident while taking part in the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, Gen. Taylor bypassed two regimental commanders senior in age and grade; Colonels Bob Sink and Howard Johnson, and named Higgins, his 34-year-old Chief of Staff, to be Assistant Division Commander. When Higgins was promoted to brigadier general in August 1944 at age 34, he became the youngest general officer in the Army Ground Forces. Higgins became Commandant of the U.S. Army Parachute School in 1945.

Twelve years after graduation, Higgins returned to the U.S. Military Academy as Commandant of the Cadet Corps (1946-48). The Academy Superintendent at the time was Major General Maxwell D. Taylor, Higgins former commander at the 101st Airborne Division during World War II.

In 1950, during the Korean War, Higgins was Chief of the Army Support Center. As a Major General, Gerald J. Higgins commanded the 82nd Airborne Division from 20 September 1952 to 14 September 1953.

Death and Burial

Major General Gerald Joseph Higgins died on 20 December 1996 and is buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, CA.


Honoree ID: 49   Created by: MHOH




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