Sutherland, Richard Kerens.

Back to all people

- Medals

united statesArmyGeneralmajor

Sutherland, Richard Kerens, born 27-11-1893 in Hancock, Maryland, the only son among the six children of Howard Sutherland, who later became a US Senator from West Virginia and Etfie Harris Sutherland, educated at Davis and Elkins College, Phillips Academy, from which he graduated in 1911 and Yale University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1916. While at Yale, he joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps. In 1916, he enlisted as a private in the Connecticut National Guard . He served with the 2nd Division  on the Western Front during World War I. He was a student at a tank school in England. As tensions with Japan rose, Sutherland was promoted to full colonel, then to Brigadier General in July 1941 and Major General in 1941. Following the fall of Manila, Douglas MacArthur‘s   headquarters moved to the island fortress of Corregidor, where it was the target of numerous Japanese air raids, forcing the headquarters to move into the Malinta Tunnel.

   Sutherland was a frequent visitor to the front on Bataan. He was given a cash payment of $75,000 by President Manuel Luis Quezon . During his exile in the US, Manuel L. Quezón died of tuberculosis in Saranac Lake, New York. age 65. In March 1942, MacArthur was ordered by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to relocate to Australia. Sutherland selected the group of advisers and subordinate military commanders that would accompany MacArthur and flee the Philippines in four PT boats  John Fitzgerald Kennedy  (see Gerald Zinser).  Sutherland would remain MacArthur’s chief of staff for the entire war. Sutherland attracted antagonism from subordinate American and Australian officers because of perceptions that he was high-handed and overprotective of MacArthur. Sutherland was often given the role of “hatchet man”. Bad news invariably came through Sutherland rather than from MacArthur himself. According to some sources he contributed to a rift between MacArthur and the first SWPA air forces commander, Lieutenant General, George Brett, he died of cancer, age 77, on 02-12-1963. Major General George Kenny, Brett’s successor, became so frustrated with Sutherland in one meeting, that Kenney drew a dot on a plain page of paper and said: “the dot represents what you know about air operations, the entire rest of the paper what I know.” Sutherland had been taught to fly in 1940 by US Army Air Corps instructors at the Philippine Army Training Center and had been awarded a civil pilot’s licence by the Civil Aeronautics Association. Flying then became one of his favourite recreational activities and while in Australia he flew as frequently as possible. In March 1943 he asked to be formally recognised as a “service pilot”, a form of pilot restricted to non-combat duties. His request was turned down by the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Air Forces , General Henry “Happy” Arnold  on the grounds that he was over the age limit and not performing flying duties. However, Sutherland secured an official pilot’s rating under Philippine Army regulations in 1945. In 1943 Sutherland and Kenney took part in an effort to promote General MacArthur’s candidacy for the Presidency, working with Senator Arthur Hoyt Vandeberg  of Michigan to get the War Department to rescind the order that prevented MacArthur from seeking or accepting political office. It was Sutherland who represented MacArthur before the Joint Chiefs of Staff on this and other occasions. Sutherland opened, read, and frequently answered all communications with MacArthur, including those addressed to him personally or “eyes only”. Some decisions often attributed to MacArthur were actually taken by Sutherland. For example, the decision to bypass Mindanao and move on directly to Leyte was taken by Sutherland on MacArthur’s behalf, while MacArthur was traveling under radio silence. When Douglas MacArthur  discovered that Eisenhower had promoted his Chief of Staff, Walter Bedell “Beetle” Smith

  , to the rank of Lieutenant General in January 1944, he immediately arranged for Sutherland to be promoted to the same rank. Sutherland retired from the Army shortly after the Japanese surrender. Returning home, he confessed his affair to Josephine and was ultimately reconciled with her. Letters from Clarke were intercepted and destroyed by Natalie. After the death of Josephine on 30-12-1957, he married Virginia Shaw Root in 1962.

Death and burial ground of Sutherland, Richard Kerens.

   Richard Sutherland died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on 25-06-1966, age 73 of cancer. His funeral was held at the Fort Myer, Virginia Chapel on 29-06-1966 and he is buried with his wife Josephine, born Whiteside, who died age 60, on 30-12-1957, at Arlington National Cemetery, Section 30.


Message(s), tips or interesting graves for the webmaster:


Eddie Albert Eddie Albert

Share on :


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *