|Birth: ||Jun. 19, 1900|
|Death: ||Apr. 2, 1982|
Member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.
"Appointment of Brig. Gen. W. Fritz Breidster, 56, of 1801 E. Fox lane, Fox Point, as commanding general of Wisconsin's 32nd infantry division of the national guard was announced Wednesday by Gov. Kohler... Gen. Breidster will take over Monday as division commander. He has been artillery commander of the 32nd division since it was reorganized as an exclusively Wisconsin division after WWII.
"A manufacturer's representative in civilian life, he has a long record of military service. Gen Breidster was born in Milwaukee and attended Riverside High School. He attended the University of Wisconsin for one year before his appointment in 1919 to the united States military academy at West Point.
"At the academy he was an all-American football guard in 1921 and 1922. In his senior year he was 1st captain of the swimming and football teams. Gen. Douglas MacArthur was superintendent of the academy at that time.
"Breidster was graduated and commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in 1923. He served for five years in the regular army, then resigned his army commission to enter private business. At the same time, he accepted a commission as captain of artillery in the Wisconsin national guard. During World War II he commanded five battalions of artillery, then was sent to India to serve as chief of staff to Lt. Gen Joseph W. Stilwell, Lt. Gen Daniel I. Sultan and Lt. Gen Raymond A. Wheeler." Excerpted from Milwaukee paper, 9/56, "32nd Division Chief Retires"
"The 32nd is the largest of all national guard divisions with an enrolment of 12,400 officers and men assigned to approximately 125 units in nearly 80 Wisconsin cities, towns, and villages. It has 17 units in Milwaukee Co., quartered in the Richards St., Whitefish Bay and South Side armories...
"Breidster attended the old 4th st. and the Bartlett av. schools. He went one year to the old East Division high school and then transferred to Riverside, where he was graduated in 1917...
"In four years at West Point, Breidster accumulated an outstanding record. He was president of his class in his second, third, and fourth years - the first year class of plebes did not elect officers - and just before graduation Breidster was elected permanent president of his graduating class of '23. During his last year at West Point, Breidster was senior cadet captain of the academy. This appointive office, the highest that can be given to a cadet, carried with the duties of a regimental commander.
"Breidster is a Lutheran 'but not very active'. His wife and sons are Episcopalians, members of St. Mark's church."
Excerpted from the excellent biographical article "New Chief a Hearty Six Footer", Sunday, October 14, 1956, The Milwaukee Journal.
"(Major General Waldemar Fritz Breidster was) a tough soldier with the unglamorous assignment of helping to build a mainland Chinese Army under Chiang Kai-shek to fight the Japanese during World War II. Lt Gen Joseph (Vinegar Joe) Stilwell was Breidster's commanding officer. From 1942 to 1944, Stilwell was the first US Army officer on active duty to command a large number of Chinese troops in the China-Burma-India theater. He was driven from Burma in a fearsome and weary 140 mile march but later he and his soldiers came back not only to Burma but also to China proper.
It was Breidster's job to help turn the Chinese into a fighting force. He became the chief field artillery liason officer to the Chinese army in India, and, finally, chief of staff to the Chinese combat command. He was in the theater from August 1943 to December 1945.
A graduate of Riverside High School, Breidster was an All-American guard at West Point in 1921 and 1922. He weighed about 240 pounds later in life and was an imposing figure who moved with the grace of an athlete.
After WWII, Breidster returned to reserve status, and in March 1947 was promoted to brigadier general and placed in command of the 32nd Division artillery. He held the post until September 1956, when he was name commander of the division. He retired in 1960.
His decorations included the Legion of Merit in 1944, and an oak leaf cluster in 1945. The Legion of Merit is awarded for exceptionally meritorious service. He also had two high Chinese honors from Chiang Kai-shek."
(excerpted from obit by Alex P. Dobish, Mke Journal, 4/4/82)
REF: Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 12: September, 1979 - August 1982. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1983.
Frederick William Breidster (1873 - 1955)
Ida Heinemann Breidster (1871 - 1949)
Roma Marion Wirth Breidster (1907 - 1989)
William Wirth Breidster (1935 - 2007)*
Wisconsin Memorial Park
Created by: Carrie and Allen
Record added: Jul 16, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 28319484