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 Garrison Holt Davidson

Garrison Holt Davidson

Birth
Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA
Death 25 Dec 1992 (aged 88)
Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA
Burial West Point, Orange County, New York, USA
Plot Section XVIII, Row D, Site 27.
Memorial ID 7037 · View Source
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US Army General. He served as the head coach of US Military Academy at West Point, New York from 1933 through 1937 and was the Superintendent of the Academy from 1956 to 1960. He was born in the Bronx, New York City, New York, the son of a New York National Guard officer. In 1923 he graduated from the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in New York City, where he was a star on the school's championship football team, and received an appointment to attend the US Military Academy and was a star football player. He graduated in 1927 and was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers with the 1st Engineer Regiment at Fort DuPont, Delaware. In 1930 he returned to West Point as an instructor in the physics department and assistant football coach and in 1933, he became head football coach (at a record young age), finishing five seasons later with a exceptional record of 35 wins, 11 losses and 1 tie. From 1938 to 1940 he was posted to Hawaii as a company commander with the 3rd Engineer Regiment, returning to San Francisco, California as the post engineer for Hamilton Army Airfield (now closed). In February 1942, after the US entry into World War II, he transferred to Washington DC as Assistant Chief, Construction Division, Office of Chief Engineer, and was involved in the of The Pentagon. The following October, he was a colonel and chief engineer for 7th Army, serving under General George S. Patton in North Africa and Sicily. As a combat engineer, he facilitated 7th Army's landing in Sicily and enabled Patton's armor to move rapidly across enemy territory, for which he received a battlefield promotion to the rank of brigadier general by Patton in September 1943. He remained with 7th Army when General Alexander Patch succeeded Patton, planning for Operation Anvil/Operation Dragoon, the Allied landing in southern France following the D-Day invasion of Normandy in June 1944, and continued with the 7th Army in its move through Germany. At the conclusion of the war, he was an engineer with 15th Army and served as president of the first Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal for military defendants. In 1946 he was assigned to the 6th US Army as its chief engineer and in 1948 became chief of staff for Generals Mark W. Clark and Albert C. Wedemeyer at the Presidio of San Francisco. In July 1950, he was sent to Korea to construct a defensive line protecting the Pusan Perimeter. Known as "Line Davidson," he had to subvert his professional better judgment to construct the line to the preferences of General Douglas MacArthur and Walker, trading away defensibility and good internal communications. After the North Korean invasion was repelled, he was assigned to the 24th Infantry Division as its assistant commander and reprised his effort at fortifying a more defensible perimeter around Pusan, Korea with the second North Korean invasion. He then headed "Task Force Davidson" as it broke out of the perimeter to hook up with the Allied forces invading south from Inchon. Afterwards, he constructed fortifications north of Seoul, Korea and concluded his tour of duty as acting commander of the Korean Military Assistance Group. From 1951 to 1954 he was a weapons system analyst with Headquarters US Army in Washington DC. In 1954 he was commander of the US Army's Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, then in 1956 he became the Superintendent at the US Military Academy. While serving in that position, he began a process of slowly prevailing over strong traditionalist viewpoints, breaking barriers and initiating a process of revision and modernization of the academy's instructional program that had changes little since the Academy's legendary Superintendent from 1817 to 1833, Sylvanus Thayer. In 1957, while at West Point, he was promoted and confirmed to the rank of lieutenant general. In 1960 he returned to 7th US Army as its commanding general, posted in West Germany as a forward deployed force during the Cold War. In 1962 he returned to the US and became commander of 1st US Army headquartered at Fort Jay, Governors Island, New York (now closed) and retired in this position in April 1964 at the rank of lieutenant general, with 37 years of continued military service. Among his military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal and the Silver Star. After his retirement, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan for a two year term to the US Military Academy Board of Visitors from 1983 until 1985. He died in Oakland, California at the age of 88.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 21 Nov 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7037
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Garrison Holt Davidson (24 Apr 1904–25 Dec 1992), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7037, citing United States Military Academy Post Cemetery, West Point, Orange County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .