Keiser, Laurence B. “Dutch”.

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Keiser, Laurence B. “Dutch”, born 01-06-1895, in Tacony, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA, to Dr. Elmer Edgar Keiser (1863–1954) and his wife Jeasnie, born Deans Keiser (1867–1941)   Laurence had one sister and one brother, Infant daughter Keiser (1892-1892) and Hubert Deans Keiser (1893-1976).. .Laurence graduated from West Point in 1917, in the same class as James Lawton Collins, Matthew Bunker Ridgway, and Mark Wayn Clark.

Dispatched to France with the American Expeditionary Force during World War I, Keiser was quickly promoted to temporary captain and appointed to command of 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, a unit of the 5th Division. under command of Major-General Sir C. Fergusson Laurence was awarded the Silver Star for actions on the Western Front.

Keiser was stationed with the 15th Infantry Regiment in Tientsin, China from March 1920 to June 1922. In 1923 he graduated from the Infantry Company Officers’ Course at Fort Benning. He then served as a battalion commander in the 23rd Infantry Regiment at Fort Sam Houston. From 1924 to 1928, Keiser was an instructor at West Point.

After his assignment at West Point, Keiser returned to Fort Sam Houston as the commander of a company in the 9th Infantry. In 1932 he completed the Infantry Officer Advanced Course at Fort Benning, after which he returned to Fort Sam Houston as advisor and mentor to units of the Army Reserve.

In 1939 Keiser graduated from the United States Army Command and General Staff College, after which he was assigned to Fort Benning as executive officer and then commander of the 29th Infantry Regiment. . In April 1942, Keiser was assigned as chief of staff of III Corps at Fort McPherson. He then served as VI Corps chief of staff during the North African and Italian Campaigns in Europe.

The 6th United States Army Group was an Allied army group that fought in the European Theater of Operations during World War II. Made up of field armies from both the United States Army and the French Army, it fought in France, Germany, Austria, and, briefly, Italy. Also referred to as the Southern Group of Armies, it was established in July 1944 and commanded throughout its duration by General Jacob Loucks “Jamie” Devers.   In a lead role in Operation Undertone, its Seventh Army fought its way across the Rhine into Germany, captured Nuremberg and then Munich. Finally it crossed the Brenner Pass and made contact with the US Fifth Army at Vipiteno, Italy.

In January 1944, he was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned as chief of staff of the Fourth Army at Fort Sam Houston. He returned to China in 1948, this time as part of the United States Military Advisory Group to the Nationalist Chinese Government.

In November 1948, Keiser was made assistant division commander of the 2nd Infantry Division. In ww2 this division crossed the Rhine on 21-03-1945 and advanced to Hadamar and Limburg an der Lahn, relieving elements of the 9th Armored Division, under command of Lieutenant General Geoffrey “Geoff” Keyes    on 28 March. Advancing rapidly in the wake of the 9th Armored, the 2nd Infantry Division crossed the Weser at Veckerhagen, 6–7 April, captured Göttingen 8 April, established a bridgehead across the Saale, 14 April, seizing Merseburg on 15 April. On 18 April the division took Leipzig, mopped up in the area, and outposted the Mulde River; elements which had crossed the river were withdrawn 24 April. Relieved on the Mulde, the 2nd moved 200 miles, 1–3 May, to positions along the German-Czech border near Schönsee and Waldmünchen, where 2 ID relieved the 97th and 99th IDs. The division crossed over to Czechoslovakia on 04-05-1945, and attacked in the general direction of Pilsen, attacking that city on VE Day. The division lost 3,031 killed in action, 12,785 wounded in action, and 457 died of wounds.

In February 1950, his former West Point classmate Joe “Lightning Joe” Collins gave him command of the division, together with a promotion to Major General. Following the outbreak of the Korean War, the 2nd Division was the first United States army unit to arrive in Korea from the mainland United States.

From August to September, the division disembarked at Pusan and moved to the Naktong Bulge to assist the 24th Infantry Division, which was then struggling to restore its front line following the crossing of the Naktong River by the North Korean 4th Division.

When the North Koreans launched the Great Naktong Offensive, four divisions faced the 2nd. Some units of the 2nd Infantry Division did not perform well on first contact with the enemy, and Keiser displayed lack of knowledge of his division’s situation when he was confronted by Lieutenant General Walton Harris “Johnnie Walker” Walker,   the commander of the Eighth Army. Keiser was already considered by some officers to be slightly too old for an outstanding division commander.

The 2nd Division was involved in the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, pushing northwest towards Kunsan, together with the 25th Infantry Division.[6] The division would advance well into North Korea, close to the China–North Korea border.

In late November 1950, a large Chinese force crossed over the Yalu River and launched a surprise attack on the United Nations forces in what was to be known as the Battle of the Ch’ongch’on River. The 2nd Division had been advancing on the right flank of IX Corps, which was then pushing to the Yalu River, and was positioned north of Kunu-ri, with the 25th Infantry Division on its left flank. In a swift week-long attack, the Chinese threatened to envelop the Eighth Army, with the 2nd Division exposed on the right and bearing the brunt of the enveloping movement. The 25th Division was able to withdraw to Anju, but Keiser was unable to obtain permission from Major General John Breitling Coulter to follow. The 2nd Division was eventually cut off and forced to fight its way through the Chinese to safety at Sunchon.

Following the Battle of the Ch’ongch’on River, during which 2nd Division suffered crippling losses of approximately 4,000 men, Keiser met with Major General Leven Cooper Allen,

the chief of staff of the Eighth Army, in Seoul. He was relieved of his command and replaced with Major General Robert Batty McClure, supposedly for medical reasons, although he felt he was being made a scapegoat for the reverses suffered by the United Nations following the Chinese intervention in the war.[8]

Death and burial ground of Keiser, Laurence B. “Dutch”.

Returning to the United States in February 1951, he assumed command of the 5th Infantry Division at Indiantown Gap Military Reservation (IGMR) an infantry basic training camp in Pennsylvania near Hershey and Harrisburg. He retired in 1953 and settled in San Francisco. On 20-10-1969, age 74 “Dutch” Keiser died in San Francisco and is buried at the West Point Cemetery, West Point, Orange County, New York, VS, Section VIII Row E Plot 238.

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