Littlejohn, Robert McGowan, born on 23-10-1890 in Jonesville, South Caroline, one and a half year after Adolf Hitler, attended Clemson Agricultural College for a year before entering the United States Military Academy in 1908. His student days at “the Point” left an indelible stamp and he made close ties and associations that were to last a lifetime. As a student, Littlejohn was best known for his athletic prowess. Strong, barrel-chested and determined. He quickly made his reputation as a hard-hitting tackle on the football team and a championship wrestler. Following graduation in 1912, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Cavalry and served three years with the 8th Cavalry in the Philippines, then 1 1/2 years with the 17th Cavalry out of Fort Bliss, Texas , patrolling the Mexican border during the Punitive Expedition. Captain Littlejohn returned to his Alma mater as an instructor in 1917, just three months after the U.S. declared war on Germany. He switched from Cavalry to Infantry in Spring 1918, was promoted to major and eventually took command of the 332rd Machine Gun Battalion at Camp Wadsworth, New York. He set sail for France in September as commander of the 332rd. There he served with the 39th and 4th Infantry Divisions in the last days of the war and for a few months during the occupation that followed. With the fall of France in 1940, Littlejohn was recalled to Washington to head the Clothing and Equipment Division, Office of the Quartermaster General. There he demonstrated some of the traits that would become his trademark later on: namely, an overwhelming impatience with bureaucratic red tape and a willingness to side-step “niggling regulations” and get out on a legal limb, if need be, to get the job done. By now, too, he had acquired as much logistical knowledge and firsthand experience as any Quartermaster officer in the Army-and he knew it. With the attack on Pearl Harbor, Littlejohn yearned to get out from behind a desk and take on a field command. As he later explained: “My personal ambition was always to be Chief Quartermaster in a combat theater in a major war. After two years in the Office of the Quartermaster General at Buzzard’s Point, pushing papers and being harassed, I decided it was time to break loose. It was early May 1942 and Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower, a fellow West Pointer, had just come to Washington as a newly promoted Brigadier General, fresh from the Carolina maneuvers. Littlejohn explained the situation to Ike over a lunch at the Federal Reserve cafeteria, and asked if there was anything he could do. A week later he received a call about becoming Theater Quartermaster. After a successful landing on D-Day, a stalled drive inland and failure to capture port facilities right away meant that Quartermaster supply soldiers had to continue bringing material in over the beach: sort, store and distribute it along a fairly narrow and dangerous front. If Littlejohn felt good about the initial landing, he was none the less surprisedby the effects of strenuous fighting in the Normandy hedgerows. By September the Allies were required to deliver to forward areas no less than 20.000 tons of supplies daily. As the lines stretched further and further from Cherbourg, the inevitable shortages began to be felt-with crippling effect. Whether it could have been otherwise is debatable. As for Georg Smith Patton , his and Littlejohn’s respect for each other was complete.
Old friends from way back, Littlejohn served as a pallbearer at Patton’s funeral. His device was, “Good logistics alone can’t win a war. Bad logistics alone can lose.” He retired from the Army in 1956, after which President Harry Shipp Truman appointed him War Assets Administrator.
Death and burial ground of Littlejohn, Robert McGowan.
Robert Littlejohn died of a heart attack, on 06-05-1982, 91 years old. He is buried with his wife Mary, born Lambert, who died age 82, on 09-12-1978, on the Arlington National Cemetery, Section 2.