BG Herman Beukema

BG Herman Beukema

Birth
Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan, USA
Death 26 Nov 1960 (aged 69)
Heidelberg, Stadtkreis Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Burial West Point, Orange County, New York, USA
Plot Section X, Site 245.
Memorial ID 122526476 · View Source
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USMA Class of 1915. Cullum No. 5338. On Saturday, March 18, 1916, he married Margaret Whitman Shaw at the West Point Chapel.

Herman Beukema graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1915. Within a year, he returned to marry Margaret Peggy Shaw, the daughter of Lieut. Colonel Henry A. Shaw, USMA Chief Surgeon. After his marriage, he spent two years on the Mexican border and then took a battalion to France, where he was wounded in action. After World War I, his assignments included tours in Panama, at the Field Artillery School and as a student at Leavenworth. In 1928 he returned to West Point as an instructor. Within two years he was appointed Professor and Head of the Department of Economics, Government and History, which was later renamed the Department of Social Sciences. During World War II he was placed in charge of the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP). The goal was to select, screen, prepare curricula for and place in training in 200 colleges and universities some 200,000 young men. He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from Washington and Jefferson College and an honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Rutgers and Norwich Universities. The Army awarded its Distinguished Service Medal. He implemented the Debate Council and Forum and the annual Student Conference on United States Affairs (SCUSA). The Academy debate teams acquired a national reputation. Top colleges and universities sent representatives to SCUSA and to the annual National Debate Tournament at West Point. Many well-known educators and statesmen were brought to West Point as lecturers. He and his staff also encouraged cadets to apply for Rhodes Scholarships. General Lemnitzer wrote at the time of his retirement:
Personally, your retirement has special significance to me. Since World War II I have, as you know, been with you on many seminars and other similar meetings. I have never failed to note the deep respect and admiration accorded you by the other participants at those meetings. I have seldom seen a military officer held in higher esteem by outstanding members of the Government and of the academic and business world. In addition, I have noted the constant development and modernization of the course at the United States Military Academy. I have always attributed, and I believe rightly so, much of the credit for this progress to your own personal efforts. Needless to say, I am very sorry to see you leave West Point, but you can certainly be proud of what you have accomplished during your professorship.

In fall 1954, he retired from the United States Army and was advanced to the grade of brigadier general on the retired list. He then began his career as a civilian educator. He accepted an appointment as Director of the European Division of the University of Maryland’s overseas program for the Armed Forces, with his headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany. Teachers were sent from the Maryland or other university campuses to conduct classroom college courses for officers and enlisted men at education centers located on military bases. The students may become candidates for Maryland degrees or may apply the credits earned toward degrees at other universities which they may later attend. At the time of his death, college courses were being conducted at more than 150 education centers in Germany, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Libya, Morocco, Turkey and Ethiopia. He became ill in summer 1960. On November 26, 1960, his heart failed him as he and his wife were walking in a park on the outskirts of Heidelberg. He was buried at West Point. His funeral was attended by General of the Army Bradley; Lieutenant General Farrell; Major General Irving, a former Superintendent of the Academy; Brigadier General Boye, President of the Class of 1915 and many others. President Eisenhower cabled, Mamie and I have just learned, with the deepest distress, of Herman’s death. He was a distinguished soldier and a warm human being whose friendship I valued highly. We shall miss him very much." The President of the University of Maryland wrote, “Few men have had such a rich life and accomplished so much...Before joining the University of Maryland, he could have justified complete retirement on the basis of noteworthy accomplishments over an extended period of time. But, fortunately, he (along with you) chose to carry on his great career; and the life of the University of Maryland and thousands of young men have been enriched by his impressive personality and unusual talents. We shall miss him, but the mark he made will last forever.

He was predeceased by his only son, Major Henry S. Beukema, who died in 1954 when his jet fighter plane crashed near Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. Survivors included his wife, Peggy; Mrs. Margery Leonard, the wife of Brigadier General C.F. Leonard; Alice Miller (1920-1999), the wife of Colonel Joseph Gorrell Kearfott Miller and 10 grandchildren.
Source: United States Military Academy Association of Graduates memorial.


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  • Created by: SLGMSD
  • Added: 31 Dec 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 122526476
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for BG Herman Beukema (29 Jan 1891–26 Nov 1960), Find A Grave Memorial no. 122526476, citing United States Military Academy Post Cemetery, West Point, Orange County, New York, USA ; Maintained by SLGMSD (contributor 46825959) .