Palmer, Willistone Birkheimer, born 11-11-1899 in Chicago, Illinois, the oldest son of Colonel Charles Day Palmer, graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1919 after an accelerated 3-year course. During World War II, as a brigadier general, he commanded VII Corps, Artillery “The Jayhawk Corps” , former commander was Joseph Lawton Collins from the Normandy invasion to the Elbe. Following the war he served as Director of Logistics, European Command, commanded the 82nd Airborne Division “All Americans” , under General James M. Gavin in 1950, followed by command of the 2nd Armored Division “Hell on Wheels” , former commanders Georg Smith Patton
, his son George Patton IV and Edward Hale “Ted” Brooks in 1951 and X Corps in Korea later that same year. During his tenure as Director of Military Assistance, a scandal erupted over black market activities in Turkey involving military personnel. Palmer defended soldiers who refused to testify to the Senate by pointing out that the Uniform Code of Military Justice protected soldiers from self-incrimination. He caused controversy when in October 1960, while visiting Saigon, he said the United States was suspending military aid to Laos because of the “confused situation” in there, saying “we have not been sure who is responsible for anything.” After two days of confusion, the U.S. embassy in Vientiane said the announcement had been incorrect and made without instructions from Washington, D.C. During his time as Vice Chief of Staff, in order to save money, he issued an order ending the horse drawn caissons in Arlington National Cemetery. However, his order was countermanded. He retired from the army in 1962.
Death and burial ground of Palmer, Willistone Birkheimer.
Palmer died on died 10-11-1973, age 73, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He never married, and was buried with his mother in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 1 and was later joined by his brother Charles Day Palmer. In Section 1 also buried, General, Chief of Staff of the 2nd Armoured Division, Charles Palmer and General, Commander 6th Army Group, Jacob Loucks Devers, Major General, Commander Twelfth Armoured Division, “Helicat Division” , Roderick Allen and Major General, Commander Air Force , Follet Bill Bradley
. Some five months after the D-Day invasion of western Europe, the 12th Armored Division entered France through the port of Le Havre and quickly made its way eastward toward Alsace by early December. In March 1945, the “Hellcats” advanced into the Rhineland and captured the city of Ludwigshafen on March 21. Deploying southward, the unit took the city of Würzburg early the next month. During its penetration of southern Germany, the 12th overran one of the many subcamps of Dachau in the Landsberg area on 27-04-1945. By the end of April, the 12th had advanced well into Bavaria and had reached the Danube River. The division ended the war in Austria. Total battle casualties of the Twelfth Armoured Division: 3.527, total deaths in battle: 732.