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GEN John Lesesne DeWitt
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Birth: Jan. 9, 1880
Nebraska, USA
Death: Jun. 20, 1962
District of Columbia
District Of Columbia, USA

United States Army General. A combat veteran of World Wars I and II, he rose in rank to become Commandant of the US Army and Navy Staff College in Washington DC and later Norfolk, Virginia from 1943 until 1947. As the commander of the Western Defense Command at the Presidio of San Francisco, California, he is notoriously remembered for probably the worst abuse of civil liberties when he ordered the mandatory forced evacuation of over 100,000 Japanese personnel living on the US West Coast into internment camps, following the Japanese surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941. Born at Fort Sidney, Nebraska, his father was a career US Army military officer as a surgeon who later became a brigadier general. In 1898 he was attending Princeton University at Princeton, New Jersey when the Spanish-American War broke out He left Princeton to enlist in the US Army and was appointed a 2nd lieutenant in the US Army Infantry. His early assignments include four tours in the Philippines, and he participation in the Philippine Insurrection. From 1914 until 1917 he was assigned to the Office of the Quartermaster General in Washington DC, during which time he also participated in the Mexican Punitive Expedition (also known as the Pancho Villa Expedition). In 1918 he was sent to France with the 42nd Division and served as quartermaster, and promoted to the rank of colonel in July of that year. In 1919 he returned to the US and served in several different quartermaster positions, and promoted to the rank of brigadier general. In 1930 he was promoted to the rank of major general and became the Quartermaster General of the US Army and in 1934 he returned to the Philippines and became commander of the US Army Philippine Division. In July 1937 he returned to the US and became Commandant of the US Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. Two years later he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general, commanding the 4th US Army and the Western Defense Command at the Presidio of San Francisco. After the US declared war on Japan, he deemed all people of Japanese descent living on the West Coast to be a security risk and began making plans to classify, round up, and relocate them (regardless if they were US citizens or not) into internment camps, amid fears of further Japanese military attacks and potential sabotage. After convincing President Franklin D. Roosevelt of his plan, Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 and on March 23, 1942 the relocation efforts began. In early 1943 he was in charge of Operation Landgrab, the military response to the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands. Later in 1943 he became Commandant of the US Army and Navy Staff College (now the Joint Forces Staff College) in Washington DC (relocating to Norfolk, Virginia in 1946) and he retired in that position in 1947 with 49 years of continuous military service. Among his military and foreign awards and decorations include the Army Distinguished Service Medal (with one oak leaf cluster), the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Philippine Campaign Medal, the Mexican Service Medal, the World War I Victory Medal (with seven campaign clasps), the American Defense Service Medal (with one star), the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with one campaign star), the World War II Victory Medal, and the French Legion of Honor. In July 1954 he was promoted to the rank of general by an Act of Congress for his services during World War II. He died of a heart attack in Washington DC at the age of 82. His brothers, Calvin DeWitt, Jr. and Wallace DeWitt, became brigadier generals in the US Army. A side note: It wasn't until 1988 when the US Government issued an official apology for the unjust treatment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Calvin DeWitt (1840 - 1908)
  Josephine Lesesne Dewitt (1856 - 1952)
 
 Spouse:
  Martha Estes DeWitt (1883 - 1968)
 
 Children:
  John Lesesne DeWitt (1904 - 1982)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington
Arlington County
Virginia, USA
Plot: Section 2E, Site 133
 
Created by: Bill Heneage
Record added: Aug 05, 2002
Find A Grave Memorial# 6663923
GEN John Lesesne DeWitt
Added by: quebecoise
 
GEN John Lesesne DeWitt
Added by: Bill Heneage
 
GEN John Lesesne DeWitt
Cemetery Photo
Added by: James Seidelman
 
 
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- John Michael
 Added: Dec. 3, 2016
Thank you for your service ..."Preserving the memories so others will remember..."
- John Michael
 Added: Dec. 3, 2016

- bob tarte
 Added: Jun. 29, 2016
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