Krueger, Walter, born on 26-01-1881 in Flatow, West Prussia, Germany.
His family emigrated to the United States in 1888 and he, at the age of eight, grew up in Madison, Indiana. In 1898 he enlisted for volunteer service in the Spanish-American War
and in 1899, having served in Cuba, he enlisted as a Private in the Regular Army. While serving in the Philippines with the Infantry, he was advanced to the rank of Sergeant and in 1901 was commissioned Second Lieutenant, 30th Infantry. After seeing action in the Philippines he was commissioned in 1901. He became an instructor at Fort Leavenworth where he met and became friends with George Catlett Marshall,
He returned to the U.S. in 1903, graduated from the Infantry-Cavalry School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas,
in 1906 and from the General Staff College there in 1907. After a second tour in the Philippines, he was assigned to various routine duties. In 1916, he took part in the Mexican Punitive Expedition under General John J. Pershing, Pershing died age 87, on 15-07-1948.
Krueger went to the Western Front in France during the First World War in February 1918 and served as Assistant Chief of Staff of the 26th
Division, later with the 84th
Division and as Assistant Chief of Staff with the Tank Corps, and then as Assistant Chief of Staff of VI and IV Corps in occupation duty following World War I, advancing to the rank of temporary Colonel. After the war Krueger taught at the Army War College and served with the War Plans Division in Washington. Promoted to the rank of Major General he was given command of the 2nd
Division based in Texas. In October 1940 he became head of the 3rd
Army, nicknamed “Patton’s Own”
Headquarters. In January 1943 Krueger and the 3rd
Army were sent to Australia. It was not until October 1944 that Krueger first saw action when he took part in the Leyte campaign.
General Douglas MacArthur
was critical of Krueger for advancing too slowly and considered having him replaced. Later he was involved in the capture of Luzon. Promoted to temporary General in March 1945, he reverted to Lieutenant General in January 1946, but retired as a full General in July 1946. Not only was he an expert on discipline and training, but was also noted as an historian and scholar of military affairs. After the war Krueger retired to San Antonio.
In September 1904, he had married Grace Aileen Norvell, whom he had met in the Philippines. They had three children: James Norvell, born on 29-07-1905; Walter Jr., born on 25-04-1910; and Dorothy Jane, who was born on 24-01-1913. Both James and Walter Jr. attended the United States Military Academy, James graduating with the class of 1926, and Walter Jr. with the class of 1931. Dorothy married an army officer, Aubrey Dewitt Smith,
of the class of 1930.
Krueger’s retirement was marred by family tragedies. His son James was dismissed from the army in 1947 for conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman after a drunken incident. Grace’s health deteriorated, and she suffered from heart disease and high blood pressure. She was diagnosed with cancer in 1955, and died on 13-05-1956. Most dramatically, on 03-10-1952, a lonely and depressed Dorothy fatally stabbed her husband, Colonel Aubrey Dewitt Smith, age 84 and father of two children, a son and a daughter, with a hunting knife while he slept in their Army quarters in Japan. Dorothy, who felt that her husband now regarded her no more than “a clinging handicap to his professional career”, had turned to alcohol and drugs. By six votes to three, a U.S. Army court-martial found Dorothy guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced her “to be confined at hard labor for the rest of her natural life”. A unanimous verdict of guilty would have made the death sentence mandatory. She was flown back to the United States in a Military Air Transport Service plane and was imprisoned at the Federal Prison Camp, Alderson, in West Virginia. The United States Court of Military Appeals rejected an appeal filed by Krueger’s lawyers that argued that Dorothy was not sane at the time of the incident, and that the testimony that the court-martial had heard to the contrary was military rather than medical. However, in 1955, in a similar case involving another woman, Clarice B. Covert, who had killed her husband in England with an axe, Federal District Court Judge Edward A. Tamm ruled that civilians who accompany military forces overseas could not be imprisoned by military courts. The two cases, Kinsella v. Krueger and Reid v. Covert, went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which affirmed that military trials of civilians were indeed constitutional, only to reverse itself a year later in a review of the decisions. Dorothy who died 21-11-1996 (aged 83). was released, and went to live with Krueger in San Antonio. When his old friend Fay Babson wrote a letter in 1960 complaining about not being promoted before retirement, Krueger replied that:I wish you would compare your situation with mine for a moment. You are fortunate in having a loving wife by your side and three wonderful children. I, on the other hand, have lost my precious wife, my son Jimmie’s career ended in disgrace and my only daughter’s tragic action broke my heart. All the promotions and honors that have come to me cannot possibly outweigh these heartaches and disappointments. If true happiness is the aim of life—and I believe it is—then you are more fortunate than I and I would gladly trade with you.
Death and burial ground of Krueger, Walter.
Krueger’s health began to decline in the late 1950s. He developed glaucoma in his right eye, and sciatica in his left hip. In 1960, he had a hernia operation, followed by kidney surgery in 1963. Nonetheless, he continued to attend MacArthur’s birthday in New York.Walter Krueger, died from pneumonia at the old age of 86, on 20-08-1967 in Valley Forge in Pennsylvania and is buried with his wife Grace, born Norvell, who died age 74, on 13-05-1956, on the Arlington National Cemetery, in Section 30.
Close by in Section 30, the graves of Lieutenant General, Commander of the 26th
Infantry Division, Willard Paul
. Close by the graves of Deputy Chief Operation, Richard Edwards
, Rear Admiral, Frank Akers
, Admiral Robert Ghormley
, Lieutenant General, Commanded the 5th
Marine Division in the occupation of Japan, Thomas Bourke ,
Lieutenant General, Commander 2nd
Armoured Division, Ted Brooks
Major General, Chief Signal Officer, George Back
, Lieutenant General, Commanded the 5th
Marine Division, nickname “Spearhead”
in the occupation of Japan, Thomas Bourke
. The 5th
Marine Division had the next casualties, killed 2.416 and 6.860 wounded in action. Also buried here, Infantry Major General, Commander 24th
Infantry Division, Kenneth Cramer
, Infantry Major General, Commander 9th
Infantry Division days
of combat 307, killed 4.581, wounded 16.961, missing 750 and captured 868, nickname ‘Old Reliables”, Louis Craig
, Air Force Lieutenant General. Commander 12th
U.S. Air Force, Ira Eaker
, Navy Admiral, Okinawa Campain, Louis Denfeld
, Secretary of the Navy in 1944, James Forrestal
and Thomas Handy
, and 1* General Lieutenant, Commanding Officer Artillery, 11th
Airborne Division, casualties in 204 days of combat, 2.431, nickname “Angels”
, Francis William Farrell
. Also a remembrance stone for the, age 44, missing in action Brigadier General, Charles Keerans
the assistant commander of the 82nd
under General Matthew Bunker Ridgway
Casualties of the 82nd
, 1.619 killed in action, 6.560 wounded in action and 332 died of wounds.