Biography

Champeny,  Arthur Seymour "Art"

     Unit Info

[Col. CO 24tIR]

24th Infantry Regiment

biography

Arthur Seymour Champeny

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Arthur Seymour Champeny
Born August 13, 1893
Briggsville, Wisconsin
Died April 11, 1979 (aged 85)
Wellington, Kansas
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Rank  Brigadier General
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Korean War
Awards Distinguished Service Cross (3)
Silver Star
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star (2)
Purple Heart (5)
French Croix de Guerre
French Legion of Honor

Brigadier General Arthur Seymour Champeny (August 13, 1893 - April 11, 1979) is the only American to earn the Distinguished Service Cross in three different wars. In addition to his three Distinguished Service Crosses, he was awarded the Silver Star, two Legions of Merit, five Purple Hearts, two French Croix de Guerre, the French Legion of Honor, and the Italian Bronze Medal of Military Valor.

Early life

A native of Briggsville, Wisconsin, Champeny was a graduate of Washburn College in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was a member of the Kansas Beta Chapter of Phi Delta Theta and inducted into the schoolís exclusive Sagamore Society.

World War I

Champeny earned his first Distinguished Service Cross in September 1918 for bravery near St.-Mihiel in the northeast of France, while serving as 1st Lieutenant, 356th Infantry Regiment, 89th Infantry Division. His Distinguished Service Cross citation reads:

"The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Arthur S. Champeny, Captain, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near St. Mihiel, France, September 12, 1918. Assisting the battalion commander, who had been severely wounded in the early fighting, Captain Champeny maintained the liaison personnel, making many journeys himself through heavy shelling. When the battalion commander had been evacuated he assumed command and moved the battalion to its new position. (General Orders No. 37, W.D., 1919)"

World War II

Champeny was awarded his second Distinguished Service Cross (or more accurately a first Oak Leaf Cluster to the award) in connection with military operations near Infante Santa Maria in Italy, May 1944. His second Distinguished Service Cross citation reads:

"The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Service Cross to Arthur S. Champeny (0-8264), Colonel (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 351st Infantry Regiment, 88th Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces from 11 to 14 May 1944. Colonel Champeny's outstanding leadership, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 88th Infantry Division, and the United States Army."

Korea

Following the end of World War II, Lieutenant General John Hodge appointed Champeny the first Director of National Defense in Korea. Though he was still a colonel, he wore the rank of a brigadier general while serving in this position. Champeny was the author of the Bamboo Plan to create a police reserve or constabulary of 25,000 men. Champeny was responsible for organizing Korean Army and Navy and signed the commission documents for its first officers. He was also later the Sŏul area commander. Later, Champeny was Deputy Military Governor and then Civil Administrator of Korea.

August 6, 1950

That day, too, a sick Colonel White was relieved of command by 57-year-old Colonel Arthur S. Champeny, and Colonel Pierce of the 3/24th was wounded in action.

Col. Arthur S. Champeny succeeded Col. Horton V. White in command of the 24th Regiment in the Sobuk-san area on 6 August.

Following the outbreak of combat, Champeny was named commander of the segregated 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Division replacing Colonel Horton V. White. At the time of his appointment, Champeny was 57 years old making him more than two years older than the division commander.

August 7, 1950

This debacle resulted in the relief of Horton White. Kean sought a young, dynamic, and battle experienced commander to replace White; but none (Ned Moore, for one) at hand wanted the job, and Walker was apparently reluctant to "punish" any promising officers with the command. As a result, the job went to Arthur S. ("Art") Champeny (Washburn College, 1912), who was to be fifty-seven years old on August 13  four years older than his division commander, Bill Kean.[7-30]

 

Although Champeny was clearly past his prime and not physically fit for the rugged duty in Korea, he was not without combat experience. In World War I he had won a DSC. In World War II he had commanded the 351st Infantry (of the 88th Division) in tough fighting at Monte Cassino in Italy. In the postwar years (temporarily a brigadier general) he had served two years in the Korean occupation under John Hodge, organizing and training the Korean Constabulary. He knew Korea and its people well.[7-31]


The appointment of Champeny to command the 24th RCT was a great disappointment to most of the capable white and black officers in the outfit. Engineer Bussey, who had been fond of Horton White and even felt sympathy for him, wrote that Champeny was not only an offensive bigot but professionally incompetent. In the Carlisle-Bussey history they disparagingly described one of Champeny's "harebrained" ideas, which, had Bussey carried it out, would almost certainly have resulted in many casualties in the 77th ECC. Bussey repeatedly cited Champeny as proof of the Army's seeming determination to saddle the 24th with unqualified or incompetent white officers.[7-32]

 

Champenyís command of the Regiment was brief and controversial. The day after taking command, (on Aug 7, 1950) Champeny reportedly told members of the Regimentís 3rd battalion that his experience during World War II showed that "coloreds did not make good combat soldiers" and had a "reputation for running". Champeny later defended his comments as an attempt to stir the unitís pride and the historical evidence is mixed as to its impact. Champeny's defense of his actions did not convince many of the Regiment's black troops. "I found Colonel Champeny biased, gutless and totally inefficient." 

5 September 1950.

Colonel Champeny came under direct attack by a numerically superior enemy force which had broken through the Regimental Sector. Confusion developed throughout the area and in the burning village where the Regimental Command Post was located. Small enemy groups had infiltrated the village. Colonel Champeny calmly directed and supervised the withdrawal of his depleted Regiment and the Regimental Command Post. When the new Regimental Command Post had been established, Colonel Champeny returned to reorganize battered elements of the Regiment. He came under fire and was wounded twice. Although severely wounded, he gave instructions for organizing the new defensive positions and transmitted the plans to Division Headquarters. His military poise and battle courage inspired the regiment to withstand the assault.

biography

The Distinguished Service Cross

He was awarded his third Distinguished Service Cross and a fifth Purple Heart for military operations near Haman in Korea, serving as Commander of 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. The citation reads:

 

 

"The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting a Second Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Third Award of the Distinguished Service Cross to Arthur S. Champeny (0-8264), Colonel (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as Commanding Officer, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. Colonel Champeny distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces near Haman, Korea, on 5 September 1950. Colonel Champeny came under direct attack by a numerically superior enemy force which had broken through the Regimental Sector. Confusion developed throughout the area and in the burning village where the Regimental Command Post was located. Small enemy groups had infiltrated the village. Colonel Champeny calmly directed and supervised the withdrawal of his depleted Regiment and the Regimental Command Post. When the new Regimental Command Post had been established, Colonel Champeny returned to reorganize battered elements of the Regiment. He came under fire and was wounded twice. Although severely wounded, he gave instructions for organizing the new defensive positions and transmitted the plans to Division Headquarters. His military poise and battle courage inspired the regiment to withstand the assault. Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea: General Orders No. 127 (October 20, 1950)"

As a result of his injuries, Champeny was evacuated to Japan and replaced as regimental commander by Colonel John T. Corley.

Bernice Champeny Cradler of Hartland, Wisconsin, Champenyís sister, told the Waukesha Daily Freeman in 1953 that the general had been offered command of the 24th Infantry Division when its commander, Major General William F. Dean, was captured by North Korean forces on August 25, 1950. Champeny reportedly did not accept the post as he was still in Japan recovering from his wounds.

In 1951 Champeny was promoted to brigadier general. One of Champenyís Phi Delta Theta Fraternity brothers from Washburn, Howard S. Searle, was also a brigadier general during this time period. After 35 years on active duty, he retired in 1953. He and his wife retired to Oxford, Kansas.

 

Annotation

August 6, 1960

August August

On August 6, Company L was ambushed near the town of Sobuk with a fury and suddenness that left the unit in disarray. Company M was struck that night. During that fight, machine-gunner PFC William Thompson gave his life to stop the enemy and save many of his comrades, for which he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Meanwhile, a task force built around Company I and a platoon of another segregated unit, the black 77th Engineer Combat Company (ECC), was ambushed on its way to contact U.S. forces near Chindong-ni. At least 12 men were killed and an unknown number wounded, and seven or eight members of the 77th ECC were missing. The unit's commander, Captain Charles M. Bussey, later rescued those men in a daring foray.

That day, too, a sick Colonel White was relieved of command by 57-year-old Colonel Arthur S. Champeny, and Colonel Pierce of the 3/24th was wounded in action.

[note]

August

Col. Arthur S. Champney succeeded Col. Horton V. White in command of the 24th Regiment in the Sobuk-san area on 6 August.

[note]

August 7, 1950

August



This debacle resulted in the relief of Horton White. Kean sought a young, dynamic, and battle experienced commander to replace White; but none (Ned Moore, for one) at hand wanted the job, and Walker was apparently reluctant to "punish" any promising officers with the command. As a result, the job went to Arthur S. ("Art") Champeny (Washburn College, 1912), who was to be fifty-seven years old on August 13 four years older than his division commander, Bill Kean.[7-30]


Although Champeny was clearly past his prime and not physically fit for the rugged duty in Korea, he was not without combat experience. In World War I he had won a DSC. In World War II he had commanded the 351st Infantry (of the 88th Division) in tough fighting at Monte Cassino in Italy. In the postwar years (temporarily a brigadier general) he had served two years in the Korean occupation under John Hodge, organizing and training the Korean Constabulary. He knew Korea and its people well.[7-31]


The appointment of Champeny to command the 24th RCT was a great disappointment to most of the capable white and black officers in the outfit. Engineer Bussey, who had been fond of Horton White and even felt sympathy for him, wrote that Champeny was not only an offensive bigot but professionally incompetent. In the Carlisle-Bussey history they disparagingly described one of Champeny's "harebrained" ideas, which, had Bussey carried it out, would almost certainly have resulted in many casualties in the 77th ECC. Bussey repeatedly cited Champeny as proof of the Army's seeming determination to saddle the 24th with unqualified or incompetent white officers.[7-32]


At about the time Champeny arrived, however, the 24th did receive one highly competent senior officer, and a West Pointer (1938) at that. He was John T. Corley, thirty-six, one of about two dozen experienced battalion commanders the Army had rushed to Korea by air. A West Point boxer, Corley was a legendary fighter. As a battalion commander in the 1st Infantry Division in North Africa, Sicily, France, and Germany, Corley had won a DSC, five Silver Star medals, and numerous other awards for heroism. A devout Catholic, Corley was the father of seven children. Although he was fully qualified by dint of experience to command the 24th Regiment, he was so eager to return to combat that he willingly replaced the wounded Sam Pierce as commander of the disorganized 3/24.[7-33]

[note]

August 8, 1950

August August

Unknown to Keiser at the time he recalled Sloane, the Pentagon had sent him a batch of new senior commanders. Among them was a colonel, John G. Hill, fifty, who was directed to take command of the 9th Infantry. Hill had fought ably as an enlisted man in the AEF and afterward attended West Point (1924). But like Keiser, Hill had not commanded troops in combat in World War II. In the postwar years he had served four years in Europe as a senior staff officer. His son, John Hill Jr. (West Point, 1946), was then serving in the 7th Cav.

Keiser was very fond of Sloane and angry that the Pentagon had forced on him these new commanders, especially Hill, whom he did not know and whom he ridiculed as a "damn staff officer" (dismissing Hill's long peacetime service with troops). The upshot was that Keiser appointed Hill commander of the 9th RCT and left Sloane as 9th regimental commander. It was an unwise and completely unworkable compromise which, in effect, gave the 9th dual or co-commanders. (Note reference to BASTARD command structure)

The 9th Infantry's black battalion was its 3rd. It was composed of veterans of the deactivated 25th Infantry and other black outfits, plus a large number of postwar volunteers and draftees. Its commander was a capable, combat experienced white, former National Guard officer D. M. ("Mac") McMains, thirty-nine. He had fought in the 112th Cavalry Regiment in the Southwest Pacific, rising to battalion commander and regimental exec. After the war he had returned to civilian life, but in 1948 he went on fulltime active service, first as commander of the 3/9, then a year later (when it was decided all officers of the 3/9 should be black) as exec of the 9th Infantry.

Shortly before the Korean War broke out, McMains was routinely transferred to the Far East. While on leave he suffered severe head and face injuries in an automobile accident which required hospitalization and plastic surgery.

Upon receiving the war alert, Dutch Keiser recalled McMains to resume command of the 3/9 from the black officer who had succeeded him, H. Y. Chase. Notwithstanding his injuries, McMains was pleased to return to command the 3/9, which he had trained well. He and a new combat experienced white exec, William H. Frazier, Jr., forty-two, had supervised its preparations for shipment to Korea and combat.

August August August August

No doubt owing to the perceived problems in Champeny's 24th Infantry, Eighth Army did not fully trust the 3/9. Upon its arrival in Pusan, Johnnie Walker decided not to commit it directly into hard combat. Instead, he ordered that the 3/9, plus one of Keith's 15th FAB batteries, a company of Shermans of the 72nd Tank Battalion, engineers of the 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, and other forces, be sent to guard the FEAF airfield at Yŏnil, near P'ohang. This task force was commanded by the ADC, Sladen Bradley, and Chin Sloane. "Called Task Force Bradley" In this way the 3/9 was introduced to combat in Korea gradually and the Hill-Sloane command problem was temporarily postponed. However, the deletion of the 3/9 left the 9th Infantry with merely two infantry battalions (and two supporting artillery batteries), a composition that would considerably penalize and confuse its leaders, who were accustomed to the standard three battalion formation.[7-64]

[note]

August 12, 1950

So ended the operations of Task Force Kean. It fell far short of its main objectives of capturing Chinju, encircling the NKPA 6th Division, and attacking the NKPA 4th Division from the rear, but the operation was not without merit. The various components of the task force had inflicted severe casualties (an estimated 3,000) on the 6th Division and decisively interrupted its drive on Pusan. Marine close air support operating from two small ("jeep") aircraft carriers (USS Sicily (CVE-118) and USS Badoeng Strait (CVE-116)) had been particularly effective. In one noteworthy air attack on August 11 near Kosŏng, Marine Corsairs had wiped out most of the vehicles of the NKPA 83rd Motorcycle Regiment and killed or wounded many enemy.

The operation had also provided an opportunity to bloody two more RCTs on the offensive rather than on the defensive. The performance of the 5th RCT under Ordway was on the whole undistinguished and at times abysmal, but no more so than most Army regiments entering combat in Korea for the first time. Its men emerged from the experience chastened but wiser and determined to do better much better. The Marines lived up to their advance ballyhoo; they proved themselves to be well disciplined and well led fighters. Like Michaelis's Wolfhounds, the Marines were to become one of Walker's dependable Fire Brigades.

The offensive had also given Bill Kean an opportunity to size up his regimental commanders. He continued to be well pleased with Hank Fisher in the 35th. He had sacked Horton White in the 24th, replacing him with Art Champeny. To no one's surprise, at the conclusion of this operation he also sacked Godwin Ordway.

Bill Kean's choice to replace Ordway did cause surprise. He was the 2/5 commander, John L. Throckmorton, a cool and brainy West Pointer who stood high in the class of 1935. Throckmorton, thirty-seven, became the youngest regimental commander in Korea and the first battalion commander in Korea to move up to command a regiment.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Throckmorton was the son of a recently retired Army colonel. At West Point he was a scrub football player and cadet battalion commander for three years and was very nearly selected for cadet captain. After graduation he fell under the influence of Bill Kean, who was tough" but who significantly helped his early career. In Throckmorton's first troop assignment, Kean was his company commander. Later, while working under Bradley in the G1 section of the War Department, Kean sprung Throckmorton from a teaching post (chemistry) at West Point and got him assigned to an infantry division. Still later, when Kean became chief of staff of Bradley's First Army, he drafted Throckmorton for his G3 section, where Throckmorton remained for the rest of the war. During the peacetime years Throckmorton had been a member of the Army's celebrated Rifle Team, and in 1940 he was its coach. In the postwar years he qualified as a paratrooper.

[note]

August 15, 1950

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