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Hunter Liggett
Hunter Liggett.jpg
Liggett as a brigadier general
Born (1857-03-21)March 21, 1857
Reading, Pennsylvania
Died December 30, 1935(1935-12-30) (aged 78)
San Francisco, California
Buried
San Francisco National Cemetery
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1879–1921
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held Third United States Army
First United States Army
I Corps
41st Infantry Division
Philippine Department
Battles/wars Indian Wars
Spanish–American War
Philippine–American War
World War I
Awards Army Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Honour (France)
Croix de Guerre (France)

Hunter Liggett (March 21, 1857 – December 30, 1935) was a senior United States Army officer. His 42 years of service spanned the period from the Indian campaigns to trench warfare of World War I. Additionally, he identified possible invasion sites in Luzon, particularly Lingayen Gulf, which were used during World War II in 1941 by the Japanese and in 1945 by the United States.

Early life

Liggett was born on March 21, 1857 in Reading, Pennsylvania. After his graduation from United States Military Academy at West Point, New York as a second lieutenant in 1879, he was assigned to the 5th Infantry, where he served in both the Montana and Dakota territories, as well as Texas and Florida, during which time he reached the rank of captain.

Liggett's field service in the American west, the Spanish–American War, and the Philippine–American War honed his skills as a military leader. In 1907, he assumed command of a battalion of the 13th Infantry Regiment at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. From 1909 to 1914, he served as student, faculty member, and president at the Army War College, receiving a promotion to brigadier general in February 1913.

Liggett's services in the Philippines included setting up a staff ride in 1914 to study possible invasion sites on Luzon. He was assisted in this by his aide de camp, Captain George Marshall. The staff ride established that the most likely invasion route would be through the Lingayen Gulf and that this would be all but unstoppable unless the US dramatically increased its army and navy forces in the Philippines. In 1941, the Japanese invaded through the Lingayen Gulf, as the United States did in turn in 1945.

World War I

Success in brigade commands in Texas and in the Philippines led to his promotion to major general, and selection as commander of the 41st Division in April 1917. The division served in France as part of the American Expeditionary Force. When his division was disestablished, he took command of I Corps.

Under Liggett's leadership, the I Corps participated in the Second Battle of the Marne and in the reduction of the Saint-Mihiel salient. In October 1918, as commander of the First United States Army with the rank of lieutenant general in the national army, he directed the final phases of the Meuse-Argonne offensive and the pursuit of German forces until the armistice. After commanding the post-war Army of Occupation, Liggett returned to his permanent rank of major general, and retired in 1921.

Retirement and death

Liggett wrote about his war time experiences in A.E.F.: Ten Years Ago in France (1928). In 1930, Congress passed a law permitting World War I generals officers to retire at the highest rank they had held, and Liggett was promoted to lieutenant general on the retired list. He died December 30, 1935 in San Francisco, California and is interred at the San Francisco National Cemetery. His grave can be found in the officers section 3, plot 1.

Honors and awards

Military honors

111-SC-38212 - NARA - 55235578-cropped
Hunter Liggett (1st on the left) with fellow US generals (left to right) Robert Bullard, James McAndrew, James Harbord, Charles Summerall, John Hines, Edward Lewis, Michael Lenihan, William Mitchell and Frank Parker, after having been decorated with the "Commandeur" of the Légion d'honneur by Marshal Philippe Pétain in 1919.
American awards
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Indian Campaign Medal
Spanish War Service Medal
Philippine Campaign Medal
World War I Victory Medal
Army of Occupation of Germany Medal
Foreign awards
Legion Honneur Commandeur ribbon.svg Légion d'honneur (France), class of Commandeur
Commander Ordre de Leopold.png Order of Leopold (Belgium), class of Commandeur
Commendatore SSML Regno BAR.svg Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (Italy), class of Commendatore
CroixdeGuerreFR-BronzePalm.png Croix de Guerre with palm (France)

Other honors

In his honor, the United States Army named a base on California's central coast, Fort Hunter Liggett.

Liggett Hall is a regimental-sized barracks building constructed at Fort Jay on Governors Island in New York Harbor. Completed in 1930, it was thought to be the largest building constructed by the U.S. Army and was the largest structure built under the supervision of the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps. It was superseded by the Pentagon, constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1943.

The USS Hunter Liggett was a passenger ship that was transferred to the Army and renamed Hunter Liggett in February 1939. The ship transported personnel and supplies until May 27, 1941, when she was turned over to the Navy. Converted to Navy use at Brooklyn Navy Yard, she re-commissioned as AP-27 June 9, 1941, and then again reclassified APA-14 February 1, 1943 for the United States Coast Guard.

Dates of rank

Insignia Rank Component Date
None Cadet United States Military Academy 1 July 1875
None in 1879 Second Lieutenant Regular Army 13 June 1879
US-O2 insignia.svg
First Lieutenant Regular Army 27 June 1884
US-O3 insignia.svg
Captain Regular Army 1 June 1897
US-O4 insignia.svg
Major Volunteers 13 June 1898
(Honorably discharged from Volunteers on 12 April 1899.)
US-O4 insignia.svg
Major Volunteers 13 July 1899
(Honorably discharged from Volunteers on 18 June 1901.)
US-O4 insignia.svg
Major Regular Army 5 May 1902
US-O5 insignia.svg
Lieutenant Colonel Regular Army 5 June 1909
US-O6 insignia.svg
Colonel Regular Army 12 March 1912
US-O7 insignia.svg
Brigadier General Regular Army 5 March 1913
US-O8 insignia.svg
Major General Regular Army 6 March 1917
(Date of rank 22 March 1917.)
US-O9 insignia.svg
Lieutenant General Emergency 1 November 1918
(Date of rank 16 October 1918. Discharged and reverted to
permanent rank 30 June 1920.)
US-O8 insignia.svg
Major General Retired List 21 March 1921
(Remained on active duty until 26 August 1921.)
US-O9 insignia.svg
Lieutenant General Retired List 21 June 1930

Source: Army Register, 1931

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