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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Leonard Hines (May 21, 1868 – October 13, 1968) was an American general who served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1924 to 1926.[1]

Early career

Hines was born in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia,[2] to Irish parents, Edward and Mary. Having won a competitive examination for a congressional appointment to the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York, Hines, despite having a hard time maintaining his passing grades, nevertheless graduated and was commissioned as a second lieutenant of Infantry on June 12, 1891.[1] While he was there he took an interest in athletics, becoming a member of one of the first football teams at West Point.[3]

His first assignment upon his graduation was to the 2nd Infantry Regiment at Fort Omaha, Nebraska. Hines served with the regiment in Nebraska and later at Fort Harrison, Montana, from 1891 to 1898,[4][3] where he married Harriet Schofield "Rita" Wherry, one of the daughters of Brigadier General William M. Wherry and Alice Grammer.[5]

Hines served with the 25th Infantry Regiment in Cuba during the Spanish–American War and in the Philippines during the Philippine–American War. In 1898 he was elected as a Veteran Companion of the Pennsylvania Commandery of the Military Order of Foreign Wars. He was adjutant of the Mexican Punitive Expedition in 1916–17 under General John J. Pershing.[1][6]

World War I

Major General John L. Hines, commanding the 4th Division, and members of his divisional staff at Haudainville, Meuse, France, September 15, 1918.

During World War I, Hines rose rapidly in rank as he was promoted from major to lieutenant colonel in May 1917, then to colonel (November 1917), brigadier general (April 1918), and, in August 1918, to temporary major general—four grades in 16 months. He assumed successively larger commands—from regiment to brigade, division, and finally, corps.[7]

Hunter Liggett (1st on the left) with fellow US generals (left to right) Robert Bullard, James McAndrew, James Harbord, Charles Summerall, John Hines, Edward Lewis, Michael Lenihan, William Mitchell and Frank Parker, after having been decorated with the "Commandeur" of the Légion d'honneur by Marshal Philippe Pétain in 1919.

Hines commanded the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, from May to August 1918, during which time he received the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest decoration for valor in the United States Armed Forces, with the medal's citation reading:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Brigadier General John Leonard Hines, Sr., United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while Commanding the 1st Infantry Brigade, 1st Division, A.E.F., near Berzy-le-Sec, France, 21 July 1918. At a critical time during the battle southwest of Soissons, when liaison had been broken between the 16th Infantry and 26th Infantry, and repeated efforts to reestablish it had failed, General Hines, then in command of the 1st Infantry Brigade, personally went through terrific artillery fire to the front lines of the 16th Infantry, located its left flank, and, walking in front of the lines, encouraged the troops by his example of fearlessness and disregard of danger. He then succeeded in finding the right forward elements of the 26th Infantry and directed the linking up of the two regiments, thereby enabling the operations to be pushed forward successfully.[8]

On August 16, 1918, Hines assumed command of the 4th Division.[9] He commanded the division during the American operations at St. Mihiel and in the Meuse-Argonne until October 11, 1918.[1][9] Hines then took command of III Corps, leading it during the final engagements of the war and the occupation of the Rhineland. For his service during the war he was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the citation for which reads:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Army Distinguished Service Medal to Major General John Leonard Hines, Sr., United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility during World War I. As Regimental, Brigade, Division, and Corps Commander, General Hines displayed marked ability in each of the important duties with which he was entrusted and exhibited in the operations near Montdidier and Soissons, and in the St. Mihiel and Argonne-Meuse offensives his high attainments as a soldier and commander.[8]

Post war

Hines was promoted to permanent major general in March 1921. His post-war commands included the 5th Division, the 2nd Division and the VIII Corps Area.[1]

Oil painting of Hines
Major General John L. Hines, Brigadier General Hugh A. Drum and Major Francis B. Wilby at Capitol Hill, 1925.

In December 1922, Hines was assigned as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, and became Chief of Staff of the United States Army on September 14, 1924.[4] His army biography states that as chief of staff, he "stressed the need for balance in funding and personnel for all parts of the permanent establishment, pointed up the effects of strength deficiencies upon Army capability to meet the provisions of the National Defense Act of 1920, and urged action on housing and promotions to promote personnel retention."[10]

On May 7, 1925, Hines dedicated the landing field at the Vancouver Barracks in Vancouver, Washington, to the memory of Lieutenant Alexander Pearson Jr., who was killed on September 2, 1924, in Fairfield, Ohio while flying the Curtiss R-8 in preparation for the upcoming Pulitzer Trophy Race.[11]

In 1926, after completing his tour as Army Chief of Staff, Hines took command of the IX Corps Area in California, which he led until 1930. In 1930, Hines became commanding general of the Philippine Department.


Hines retired in May 1932.[4] He was promoted to the rank of full (4 star) general on the retired list by a Special Act of Congress on June 15, 1940.[12]

Hines died in Washington, D.C., at Walter Reed Army Medical Center at age 100. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[1] As of 2006, Hines is one of only two American generals to have celebrated their 100th birthdays, the other being James Van Fleet.

Family and legacy

On May 5, 2000, the United States Postal Service issued the Distinguished Soldiers stamps in which Hines was honored.[7]

Hines' son, Colonel John L. Hines Jr. (1905–1986), served in World War II with the 6th Armored Division, commanding the division's Combat Command A from November 1944 to March 1945. He was twice decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross and was severely wounded outside Frankfurt, Germany when an 88 mm antitank shell grazed his face.[13]

Dates of rank

Note that the date indicated is the date of rank. In some cases, the promotion was accepted at a later date.[14]

Insignia Rank Component Date
No pin insignia in 1891 Second Lieutenant Regular Army June 12, 1891
First Lieutenant Regular Army April 26, 1898
Captain Regular Army December 5, 1900
Major Regular Army May 23, 1912
Lieutenant Colonel Regular Army May 15, 1917
Colonel Temporary August 5, 1917
Brigadier General National Army April 12, 1918
Major General National Army August 8, 1918
Brigadier General Regular Army November 30, 1918
Major General Regular Army July 1, 1920
Major General Retired list May 31, 1932
General Retired list June 15, 1940

Awards and decorations

Distinguished Service Cross[15] Army Distinguished Service Medal[15] Silver Star[15]
Spanish Campaign Medal Army of Cuban Occupation Medal Philippine Campaign Medal Mexican Service Medal
World War I Victory Medal Army of Occupation of Germany Medal Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (United Kingdom) Commandeur Légion d'honneur (France)
Croix de guerre with bronze palm (France) Commander Order of Leopold (Belgium) Knight of the Order of the Crown (Italy) Medal of Solidarity, 1918 (Panama)


  1. ^ a b c d e f GO 56 General Orders No. 56 HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY. Secretary of the Army. 2010-05-24. URL: Accessed: 2010-05-24. (Archived by WebCite at Archived 2009-08-11 at the Wayback Machine)
  2. ^ Christian Albert Bach; Henry Noble Hall (1920). The Fourth Division: Its Services and Achievements in the World War. Garden City, NY: Country Life Press. p. 128.
  3. ^ a b Venzon 2013, p. 281.
  4. ^ a b c Tucker, Spencer (2009). The Encyclopedia of the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars. New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN 978-1-85109-951-1.
  5. ^ West Virginia history, Volume 38, West Virginia. Dept. of Archives and History, 1976, p. 227
  6. ^ Venzon 2013, p. 281–282.
  7. ^ a b United States Postal Service – USA Philatelic. Distinguished Soldiers (2000). Beyond the Perf – Issue 12. 2010-05-24. URL: Archived 2010-03-07 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed: 2010-05-24. (Archived by WebCite at )
  8. ^ a b "Valor awards for John Leonard Hines". Military Times.
  9. ^ a b Christian Albert Bach; Henry Noble Hall (1920). The Fourth Division: Its Services and Achievements in the World War. Garden City, NY: Country Life Press. p. 281.
  10. ^ Bell, William Gardner (2005). "John Leonard Hines". Commanding Generals and Chiefs of Staff: Portraits and Biographical Sketchs. United States Army Center of Military History. pp. 116–117. Archived from the original on 2021-04-10. Retrieved 2010-06-14.
  11. ^ Alley, William (2006). Pearson Field. New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-7385-3129-4.
  12. ^ Davis 1998, p. 181.
  13. ^ George Smith Patton; Paul Donal Harkins (May 8, 1995). War as I knew it. Mariner Books. p. 275. ISBN 0-395-73529-7.
  14. ^ Official Army Register. January 1, 1941. The Office of the Adjutant General. Washington, D.C. 1941. pg. 1084.
  15. ^ a b c "Valor awards for John Leonard Hines, Sr".


External links

Military offices
Preceded by Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Succeeded by
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