Heavy, William Francis.

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Heavy, William Francis, born 29-01-1896, in Fort McPherson, Georgia, United States the eldest of three sons of the United States Army officer, Brigadier General John W. Heavey, and his wife Julia born Baggett. Heavey grew up on various Army posts, and graduated from Cheyenne High School in 1912. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point on 14-06-1913. His father, who became a Brigadier General, was also a West Point graduate, of the class of 1891, and his younger brothers Thomas J. Heavey and Wade H. Heavey would become graduates too, eventually rising to the rank of colonel. Thomas J. Heavey (1897–1951) served in the China Burma India Theater during World War II and retired as a colonel and Wade H. Heavey (1902–1961) was Assistant Comptroller of the Army and retired as a colonel

At West Point he was captain of the polo team, and a Cadet Captain. He met Julia Melcher,   a New York stage actress, on a blind date at the Army–Navy Game. They were married in 1918.

Due to the American entry into World War I, Heavey’s class graduated early on 20-04-1917. He was ranked third in his class, and although he wanted to follow his father into the infantry, the top graduates in his class were commissioned into the United States Army Corps of Engineers as second lieutenants. His fellow graduates included future General officers such as Matthew Bunker Ridgway, James Lawton Collins, Mark Wayne “Contraband”. Clark, Ernest Nason Harmon, Norman Daniel “Dutch” Cota, William Willis Eagles, John Matthew Devine . Heavey was promoted to captain on 15-05-1917, and posted to the newly-formed 6th Engineer Regiment. It was then at Camp American University, but departed for France on 01-12-1917. He was assistant to the Chief Engineer, Advance Section, Line of Communications, from 25 January to 23 April 1918, when he returned to his regiment, which was then in the vicinity of Amiens as part of the Australian Corps. It rejoined the 3rd Division on 30 May, and participated in the Second Battle of the Marne. He was wounded on 15 July, but was back in action again on 26 July. Heavey was promoted to major on 23-08-1918, and returned to the United States, becoming an instructor at Camp A. A. Humphreys on 18-09-1918.

After the war ended, Heavy was reduced in rank to captain on 16-02-1920, and posted to West Point as an instructor in August. He entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on 07-06-1921, and graduated on 06-06-1922 with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering. He was Assistant District Engineer at Louisville, Kentucky from 1 September 1922 to 14 August 1924, and then returned to Fort Humphreys as an instructor in tactics at the U.S. Army Engineer School. While there he graduated from the Company Officers’ Course in 1926. He commanded the 7th Engineer Regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia, for two years from 07-08-1928, and then the 2nd Battalion, 11th Engineer Regiment at Corozal, in the Panama Canal Zone until 11-10-1930.

Returning to the United States on 31-12-1931, Heavey was posted to Washington, D.C., for duty with the Construction Section in the Office of the Chief of Engineers. On 31-03-1932, he became Assistant Division Engineer of the Great Lakes Division, based in Cleveland, Ohio. He was promoted to Major again on 31-05-1932. He returned to Washington for duty with the Personnel Section in the Office of the Chief of Engineers from 31-07-1935 to 30-06-1937, and attended the United States Army Command and General Staff College from 14-08-1937 to 10-06-1938, followed by the Field Officers’ course at Fort Belvoir from 1 July to 6 August 1938. He then returned to Fort Benning as commander of the 1st Battalion, 5th Engineer Regiment.

Promoted to lieutenant colonel on 01-05-1940, Heavy became commander of the 20th Engineer Regiment in November 1940. In July 1941, he became Chief Engineer of IV Corps, with the rank of colonel from 11-12-1941. He became commander of the 2nd Engineer Amphibian Brigade (later renamed the 2nd Engineer Special Brigade) on 08-08-1942, with the rank of Brigadier General from 10-09-1942. He remained with this formation for the rest of the war, as it moved from Camp Edwards, Massachusetts, to Camp Carrabelle, Florida, and then to the South West Pacific Area in January 1943. There, the 2nd Engineer Special Brigade participated in 82 amphibious operations. Heavey was wounded in the New Guinea campaign and in the Battle of Leyte. He received the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Commendation Ribbon and two Oak Leaf Clusters to the Purple Heart he had won in World War I.

After the war, the 2nd Engineer Special Brigade participated in the Occupation of Japan from September to December 1945, then returned to the United States. Heavey’s appointment as Brigadier General in the Army of the United States was terminated on 05-03-1946, and he reverted to his substantive rank of colonel. He became District Engineer of the New York District. On 31-01-1948, he was retired at his own request, and was promoted to Brigadier General on the Retired List on 16-08-1948. He published a book about the 2nd Engineer Special Brigade’s experiences, titled Down Ramp! The Story of the Army Amphibian Engineers in 1947.

Death and burial ground of Heavy, William Francis.

Heavey became a consulting engineer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He drew up a master plan for the modernization of the wharves and piers, and participated in the design of the new New York International Airport. He also served as a consulting engineer for the Hoover Commission. In June 1948 he became the General Manager of the Port of Houston. He was president of its World Trade Association, president of the Texas Ports Association, and vice president of the American Association of Port Authorities. He died at his home in Washington, D.C. on 11-03-1974, age 78. He was survived by his wife, Julia Melcher Heavey, who died in 1999, and two sons, William F. Heavey Jr., and John Melcher Healey. William Heavy is buried at United States Military Academy Post Cemetery, West Point, Orange County, New York, VS Section VIII Row D Plot 210.


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