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Gen Barksdale Hamlett
Birth: Dec. 30, 1908
Hopkinsville
Christian County
Kentucky, USA
Death: Aug. 26, 1979
Washington
District of Columbia
District Of Columbia, USA

US Army General. He served as commandant of the American sector of Berlin during the 1958 Berlin crisis and as vice chief of staff of the US Army from 1962 until 1964. His father was the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of Kentucky and the family moved several times within the state. As a junior at Adair County High School in Columbia, Kentucky, he received an appointment to the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland in 1925 but it was revoked and he subsequently received an appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point New York in 1926. In 1930 he graduated from the Academy with a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the field artillery. He was assigned to the C Battery, 12th Field Artillery, 2nd Infantry Division, at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. In 1932 he was assigned as motors officer and later battery executive in B Battery, 11th Field Artillery, Hawaiian Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Two years later he transferred to the 18th Field Artillery, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, but was almost immediately reassigned as assistant post signal officer at Fort Sill, where the following year he attended the Regular Course and Advanced Motors Course at the Field Artillery School there. This was followed by a three-year tour at Fort Sam Houston as regimental motors officer and later regimental adjutant for the 15th Field Artillery, and finished his tour as an aide to Brigadier General Lesley J. McNair. In 1939 he was assigned to the 1st Balloon Squadron, Army Air Corps, Henry Post Army Airfield at Fort Sill, where he was rated as a free balloon pilot, captive balloon pilot, and motorized balloon pilot. He abandoned the Air Corps upon receiving his desired assignment as a gunnery instructor at the field artillery school at Fort Sill. He was promoted to the rank of captain in 1940 by new legislation that automatically advanced every regular officer with at least 10 years of service. Following the US entry into World War II, he became the corps artillery executive for II Corps and in 1942 he landed with the 1st Infantry Division on Arzew Beach near Oran, Morocco during the Allied invasion of North Africa. In July 1943 he returned to the US at the request of Lieutenant General McNair who commanded the Army Ground Forces and was responsible for training all stateside divisions, corps, and armies in preparation for deployment overseas. He reported to Army Ground Force Headquarters at Washington DC and was tasked to write the manual on corps artillery doctrine, based on his observations in North Africa. He remained at Army Ground Forces as assistant G-3 until September 1944. When McNair was killed on an inspection tour in France, he obtained an assignment as division artillery commander for the John L. Pierce's 16th Armored Division, in which role he was promoted to colonel. The division saw light action in Germany and advanced into Czechoslovakia, liberating Pilsen before being ordered to halt short of Prague. The division withdrew to Sudeten mountains, where he became the military governor of a district containing 187 towns and villages. Following the German surrender on May 8, 1945, the 16th Armored Division was inactivated and its artillery elements were folded into the 190th Field Artillery Group, a unit selected for the invasion of Japan. He was group commander for one month before Japan capitulated and he was transferred to the 15th Army Group to help write the after battle reports of World War II. After the end of World War II, he spent a year of study at the École Militaire in Paris, France before returning to the US to serve as director of the Gunnery Department at Fort Sill. From 1948 until 1949 he was a student at the National War College at Fort McNair, Washington DC. In December 1949 he was ordered to the headquarters of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur as executive officer of the logistics section (G-4), General Headquarters, Japan. At the start of the Korean War, he served as chief of the Supply Division and later, as G-4 chief of planning, where he supervised the logistics planning for the Inchon landing. In December 1951, he went to Korea as division artillery commander for the 24th Infantry Division. In 1952 he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and assigned to the US Army General Staff in Washington DC as assistant for planning coordination in the office of the deputy chief of staff for plans. In 1955 he returned to Europe as artillery commander for 7th Corps. In May 1956 he was promoted to the rank of major general and commanded the 10th Infantry Division in Wurzburg, Germany before being transferred to command the American garrison in West Berlin, Germany in June 1957. As commandant of the American sector of Berlin during this time, he was involved with the 1958 Berlin crisis, when Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev issued an ultimatum demanding that the occupation of Berlin be terminated within six months and the Soviets began interfering with Western access to Berlin detaining U.S. convoys on the autobahn for hours. In October 1959 the East German government declared its intention to fly its new hammer-and-compass flag over the 78 elevated railway stations in the Western sector, since the railway was operated by the East German state railroad system. On November 2, as chairman of the three-power Allied Kommandatura for that month, Hamlett informed his Soviet counterpart that should the East Germans attempt to fly the flags in the Western sector, then West German police would remove them, and that should the police be prevented from removing the flags, then Allied troops would complete the job and hold the Russians responsible for any resulting disorder. The East Germans backed down three days later and he was soon reassigned to Washington DC where, in January 1960, he assumed his duties as assistant deputy chief of staff for military operations. The following year he was elevated to deputy chief of staff, and was promoted to lieutenant general in March 1961. In 1962 he was promoted to the rank of general and assigned as Vice Chief of Staff of the US Army. In this role, he negotiated the creation of US Strike Command with Air Force chief of staff Curtis E. LeMay, played a key role in Army operations during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and participated in the escalation of the Vietnam War. In March 1964 he suffered a massive heart attack and retired from the US Army later that year, with a total of 34 years of continued military service. Among his military decorations and awards include the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three service stars, the World War II Victory Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Korean Service Medal with one service star, the Czechoslovak War Cross 1939-1945, and the United Nations Korea Medal. After his retirement, he became president of Norwich University, the oldest military college in the US. During his tenure, he dealt with student unrest and a drop in cadet enrollment that eventually compelled Norwich to merge with Vermont College in Montpelier, Vermont. He retired from this position in 1972 and relocated to Charleston, South Carolina, where he was president of the Retired Officers Association from 1974 through 1975. He died of cardiac arrest in Washington DC at the age of 70. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Frances Valencia Underwood Hamlett (1912 - 2000)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
United States Military Academy Post Cemetery
West Point
Orange County
New York, USA
Plot: Section XV, Row E, Grave 052
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: May 03, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 22000
Gen Barksdale Hamlett
Added by: Bill McKern
 
Gen Barksdale Hamlett
Added by: Bill Heneage
 
Gen Barksdale Hamlett
Added by: Bill Heneage
 
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God bless you on this 2013 Christmas season, Rest in Peace.
- Thelma
 Added: Dec. 30, 2013

- Rosita
 Added: Dec. 30, 2013

- Doug Lind
 Added: Nov. 23, 2013
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