Issue #33

KIA: US Generals

By Lee Enderlin

The US military fielded approximately 1,100 general-grade officers during World War II. Of them, though 40 lost their lives during the conflict, only 12 died as a result of combat (killed in action or KIA). Most of the others died in incidents, such as plane or car crashes or heart attacks or other natural causes. Two were executed by the Japanese. (In comparison, 135 German generals were killed in action while Hitler executed 84 others.)

Of the 12 KIA Americans, one held a high-ranking staff position; one was an army commander; three were division commanders and seven were assistant division commanders. Half of the 12 died under unusual circumstances. The remaining six died more mundanely, in what might be called “wartime happenstance.”


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