Conklin, John French.

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Conklin, John French, born 20-04-1891, in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the son of Army Colonel John Conklin

and Rosalie Bertha , born Wallis, Conklin. He had one sister Alvarine Howell Conklin Davidson

1897–1971. He came from the family with a long military tradition, because his maternal grandfather was Union Major General William H, enry French 13-(01-1815/ 20-05-1881) and also maternal uncle was Major General John Lincoln Clem. ( 13–08-1851/13-05-1937). So John F. Conklin attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York and graduated as a part of “the class the stars fell on” on 12-06-1915. He was also commissioned a Second lieutenant on that date. “The Class the Stars Fell On” is an expression used to describe the United States Military Academy Class of 1915. In the U.S. Army, the insignia reserved for Generals is one or more stars. Of the 164 graduates that year, 59 (36%) attained the rank of General, the most of any class in the history of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, hence the expression. Two reached the rank of five-star General of the Army, second only to General of the Armies. There were also two four-star Generals, seven three-star Lieutenant Generals, 24 two-star Major Generals and 24 one-star Brigadier Generals. Additionally, Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower, one of the five-star Generals, went on to become the 34th President of the United States. Another famous was 4* General  Omar Nelson “Brad” Bradley  He was married with Marguerite Heard Conklin (1893–1929). They had one adopted son, John Heard Conklin.

During his time at the academy, he reached the rank of cadet lieutenant and also was an expert rifleman. Conklin graduated with Bachelor of Science degree on 12-06-1915.

He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers on the date of his promotion and attached to the 2nd Battalion of Engineers, with whom he served on the Mexican Border during the Pancho Villa Expedition until April 1917. Shortly before his departure, Conklin married Marguerite Heard, a daughter of Major General John William Heard, (27-03-1860/04-02-1922) USMA Class of 1883 and Medal of Honor recipient.

John Conklin was subsequently appointed an instructor and assistant adjutant of the Officers Training Camp at Fort Myer, Virginia, and remained in that capacity for the duration of World War I.

Following the World War I, Conklin completed the courses at Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and at Army War College in Washington, D.C., and served as an instructor in the Department of Civil and Military Engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1923–1924 and later as company commander with engineers units. During that period he reached the rank of Major. Following his promotion, Conklin returned to West Point in 1931 and served as assistant professor in the Department of Natural and Experimental Philosophy mid-1934.

In July 1934, Conklin was appointed District Engineer, U.S. Engineers Office in Huntington, West Virginia, and remained in that capacity until he was attached to the 11th Engineer Regiment in July 1937. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 01-04-1936, and assumed command of the regiment at the end of September 1937. Conklin was then transferred to Norfolk, Virginia, where he served as District Engineer, U.S. Engineers Office until June 1941.

Conklin was subsequently appointed corps engineer, I Armored Corps under command of  Major-General Charles L. Scott ( 22-10-1883/27-11-1954), and was promoted to the rank of colonel in December 1941. He served in this capacity under famous General George Smith “Old Blood and Guts” Patton during desert maneuvers in Arizona and California in order to prepare the corps for deployment to North Africa. Conklin landed near Casablanca during the Operation Torch on 08-11-1942, and participated in the combat operations against Erwin Rommel s , Afrika Korps with additional duty as chief engineer, Western Task Force. He distinguished himself in that capacities and was decorated with the Legion of Merit by General Patton.

He was ordered back to the United States in January 1943 and assumed duty as army engineer, U.S. Third Army under Lieutenant General Courtney Hicks Hodges. Conklin sailed with Third Army to England in December of that year and when General Patton assumed command of the Army in January 1944, he remained in his previous capacity and took part in the intensive training until mid-1944.

Conklin sailed for France at the end of July 1944 and participated consecutively in the Battle of Normandy, Lorraine Campaign, Battle of the Bulge and the advance to Germany and Czechoslovakia. He was promoted to Brigadier General on 07-01-1945, and received several decorations for his service in European Theater from 1944 to 1945. Conklin received the Army Distinguished Service Medal and Bronze Star Medal and also was decorated with Legion of Honor, rank Chevalier by the Government of France and with Belgian and French Croix de guerres with Palm.

Following the occupation duty in Austria, Conklin returned to the United States in December 1945 and assumed duty as commanding general, Replacement Training Center at Fort Lewis, Washington. He remained in that capacity until March 1947, when he was appointed Chief of Personnel Division, Office of the Chief of Engineers under Lieutenant General Raymond A. Wheeler. (31-07-1885 in Peoria, Illinois – 09-02-1974).

In mid-May 1949, Conklin was ordered to Japan and assumed duty as civil property custodian, Far East Command under General of the Army 5* General Douglas MacArthur. He served in that capacity until mid-1951, when he was ordered back to the United States and retired from active duty.

Death and burial ground of Conklin, John French.

Brigadier General John French Conklin died on 25-01-1973, age 81, in Washington, D.C. He is buried at United States Military Academy Post Cemetery with his wife, Marguerite Heard Conklin.

 

 

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