Burress, Withers Alexander “Pinky” 24-11-1894, in Richmond, Virginia, to John Woodfin Burress and Susan Chinn Withers, the latter a collateral descendant of Sir Walter Scott. He attended and graduated from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in 1914. On 30-11-1916, he was commissioned a second lieutenant into the Infantry Branch of the United States Army. The American entry into World War I on 06-04-1917 saw him posted to the 23rd Infantry Regiment, which later became part of the newly created 2nd Infantry Division. under command of Major General Omar Bundy.
Burress saw combat on the Western Front with the regiment as a regimental operations officer, serving in nearly all of the division’s major engagements. On November 02-11-1919, a year after the war ended on 11-11-1918, he returned to the United States with the permanent rank of captain.
Burress attended the United States Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, the United States Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and the United States Army War College at Washington Barracks in Washington, D.C.
From 1935 to 1940, Burress was a professor of military science and served as commandant of the Virginia Military Institute. In 1940, he was assigned to the War Department General Staff in Washington, D.C.
In 1941, with the United States entrance into World War II, Burress had returned to Fort Benning as Assistant Commandant of the United States Army Infantry School. In early 1942, he was assigned to the Puerto Rican Department. He was given command of the 100 Infantry Division upon its mobilization at Fort Jackson, South Carolina in November 1942. Casualities of the 100 Infantry Division during their European campaign. Total casualities 50385, killed in action 883, wounded in battle 3539, missing in battle 483 and prisoner of war.
Burress continued in his command, taking the division to France in October 1944. As part of the Seventh United States Army’s VI Corps, the division went into combat in the Vosges Mountains of northeastern France then through the Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central European campaigns until November, 1945, making Burress one of eleven Generals to command one of the United States Army’s 90 divisions from mobilization to the end of the war. On 22-09-1945, he was promoted to command of the VI Corps then served as Inspector General for European Command (EURCOM).
In May 1947, Burress was one of three commanders of the United States Constabulary, the post-war occupation police force in West Germany. In 1949, he returned to EURCOM as its intelligence director, then later took command of VII Corps. He then was the Commandant of the United States Army Infantry School.
Death and burial ground of Burress, Withers Alexander “Pinky”.
President Harry S. Truman, center, holds the Infantry Center plaque presented to him by Major General Withers A. Burress, right, during Truman’s visit to Fort Benning, Georgia. Louis A. Johnson, left, Secretary of Defense applauds.
In 1952, Burress’s final posting was as commander of the First United States Army at Fort Jay at Governors Island in New York City, New York. In November 1954, he retired from the United States Army after 38 years of active duty. That same month, on 19-11-1954, he received a ticker-tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes on Broadway in Manhattan, New York.
“Pinky” Burress, a veteran of 30 years’ service, died in an Arlington, Virginia nursing home on 13-06-1977, aged 82, and is buried with his wife Virginia, born Chapell Burress, who died age 74 on 10-11-1974, at Arlington National Cemetery Section 30, Site 887-2