Buckner, Simon Bolivar Jr., born on 18-07-1886 in Munfordville, Kentucky, was an American Lieutenant General during World War II. He served in the Pacific Theater of Operations. He won an appointment to West Point , class of 1908 from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He served two tours of duty in the Philippines. During World War I, he served as a brevet major, drilling discipline into budding aviators. Prior to Pearl Habor, Buckner was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned to fortify and protect Alaska as commander of the Army’s Alaska Defense Command. Though comparatively quiet, there was some action with the attack on Dutch Harbor, the Japanese seizure of the islands Kiska and Attu, June 1942, Battle of Attu, Operation Landcrab, May 1943 and “invasion” of Kiska, August, 1943, Aluetian Islands campaign. Following a short assignment to the central Pacific area, he was appointed, September 1944, Commanding General of the 10th Army , holding the rank of Lieutenant General. In that post he was charged with the invasion of the strategic Ryukyu Islands, which were still held tenaciously by the Japanese, he fought and won the Pacific front’s last great land battle on Okinawa. The Army had over 102.000 soldiers, of these 38.000+ were non-divisional artillery, combat support and HQ troops, with another 9.000 service troops), over 88.000 Marines and 18.000 Navy personnel, mostly Seabees and medical personnel. At the start of Battle of Okinawa 10th Army had 182.821 men under its command. In all, Tenth Army suffered 65.631 casualties during the campaign, with 34.736 being suffered by XXIV Corps, 26.724 by III Amphibious Corps, 520 to the tactical air force attached to Tenth Army, 2.636 to the Army garrison forces of Okinawa and Ie Shima, and 1.015 to troops directly under the command of Tenth Army.
Buckner, Simon Bolivar Jr.Back to all people
As noted earlier, one of those casualties was the commander of the 10th Army himself, killed by an enemy shell burst while visiting a forward position. The day after, a second
General, Brigadier General Claudius Miller Easley , was killed by machine gun fire. Bückner was killed, age 58, on 18-06-1945, watching the fightings during these closing days of the Battle of Okinawa by enemy artillery fire,
making him the highest-ranking US military officer to have been killed by enemy fire during WWII and among the highest-ranking military officers to die during the war, along with Lieutenant General, Leslie James McNair
who was killed also by friendly fire in France on 25-07-1945. Lieutenant General Frank Maxwell Andrews killed in an air crash in Iceland on 03-05-1943. 2* Major General Maurice Rose, killed in a ambush near Heidelberg, two shots through his helmet, on 31-03-1945 while leading the 3rd Armored Division into the Rheinland.
Buckner was posthumously promoted to the rank of a full four-star General on 19-07-1954 and is buried on Frankfort Cemetery, in Kentucky.