Biography

Church, John Huston
[Gen CG 24thID]

biography

 

13 July 1950

General Walker upon verbal instructions from General MacArthur assumed command of all United States Army forces in Korea effective 0001 13 July.
[09-2]

That evening, General Church and his small ADCOM staff received orders to return to Tokyo, except for communications and intelligence personnel who were to remain temporarily with EUSAK.

[Maj. Gen. CG 24thID]

24th Infantry Division

 As a young lieutenant in World War I he had twice been wounded leading infantry units in the trenches.

 In World War II, as chief of staff of the crack 45th Infantry Division, he had been in the thick of the fighting in Sicily, at Salerno, at Anzio (where he temporarily commanded an infantry regiment), and in southern France.

Later, as assistant division commander (ADC) of Alex Bolling's 84th Infantry Division in the ETO, he had fought in Holland and Germany, where he was wounded for the third time.

In the two world wars Church had won a DSC and two Silver Stars for heroism, plus a host of other medals.

biography

 

biography

General Church (left) being met at Suwon Airfield by (left to right) Mr. E.F. Drumwright, Counselor of the U.S. Embassy at Sŏul, President Rhee, and Ambassador Muccio.

 

The 24th would be re-manned, refitted, and recommitted on the spot. Perhaps then believing Bill Dean would reappear at any hour to resume his duties, on July 22 Johnnie Walker gave command of the 24th to the frail, sickly, fifty-eight-year-old John Church, who since the arrival of the Eighth Army headquarters at Taegu and the deactivation of ADCOM no longer had a job.

John H. Church

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Huston Church
biography
Church (center in leather jacket) with generals Walton Walker and Lawton Collins in Korea
Born (1892-06-28)June 28, 1892
Glen Iron, Pennsylvania
Died November 4, 1953(1953-11-04) (aged 61)
Washington, D.C.
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia
Allegiance biography United States of America
Service/branch biography United States Army
Years of service 1917–1952
Rank biography Major General
Commands held biography 24th Infantry Division
Wars World War I
World War II
Korean War
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star

Major General John H. Church (June 28, 1892 – November 3, 1953) was a U.S. Army officer who fought in World War I, World War II and in the Korean War.

Early life

John Huston Church was born in the town of Glen Iron, Pennsylvania, on June 28, 1892. From 1915 until 1917, he was a student at New York University. When the United States entered the First World War, Church joined the army and was given the commissioned rank of second lieutenant.

Military career

In France with the 28th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division, American Expeditionary Force, Church fought valiantly and was wounded twice, earning a Distinguished Service Cross for heroism in action at Cantigny. After the war, Church decided to stay in the army. He instructed National Guard members in both Maryland and Arizona, and also served in the Philippines from 1933 to 1936.

World War II

When World War II broke out, Church became the assistant chief of staff for operations, and then chief of staff of the 45th Infantry Division. Church served with the division from 1943–1944 in Sicily, southern Italy, Anzio, and Operation Dragoon, the invasion of southern France. In September, 1944, having been promoted to brigadier general after being commanding the 157th Infantry Regiment for a time, he was sent to the 84th Infantry Division to be the assistant division commander. Church was wounded again as his division, along with several others, led the way from the Netherlands to the Elbe River towards the end of the war.

A year after the war ended, Brigadier General Church became the commander of the Infantry Replacement Training Center at Fort McClellan, Alabama. He was given the same post at Fort Jackson South Carolina, where he was soon given command of the 5th Infantry Division. From 1948 until 1949 Church served as the deputy chief of army field forces in Fort Monroe, Virginia. In 1950, Church was serving in General Douglas MacArthur's headquarters in Tokyo, Japan.

Korean War

When the communist North Korean Army invaded South Korea, MacArthur sent Church to lead a survey team of staff officers to work with Ambassador Muccio and the Korean Military Advisory Group (KMAG) and assess what assistance could be provided to the ROK Army. This task resulted in the establishment of GHQ Advance Command and Liaison Group (ADCOM) at Suwŏn.

The 24th Infantry Division, which was stationed in Japan as part of the U.S. Eighth Army, was the first army unit sent over from Japan under the command of Major General William F. Dean. A reinforced company of the division, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Brad Smith, was sent north from Pusan to try to halt the North Koreans. Meeting with Smith at Taejon, Church informed him "All we need is some men up there who won't run when they see tanks", and instructed Smith to make his stand at Osan. Task Force Smith was without tank support and had faulty communications, and was promptly overrun in its first engagement with the North Koreans. Dean gathered his troops in the city of Taejon and formed a strong defense. After a stubborn fight, the American troops retreated. Dean got separated from his troops and was captured.

On July 22, Church, without a command following the dissolution of ADCOM, was given command of the division.

The division was given a two-day period to rest, but then General Walton Walker, the commander of the U.S. Eighth Army, decided that he needed the 24th to guard the Southwest line (the Naktong Bulge) of the Pusan Perimeter. The North Korean 6th Division inflicted more losses on Church's men and gradually pushed the 24th back. Finally, Church by now promoted to major general, was able to regroup his men, and they fought bravely, especially with the help of a marine brigade. Eventually, the 25th turned the tables on the Communist divisions that were fighting them.

Frail and suffering from arthritis, Church remained in command of the 24th until early 1951. Lieutenant General Matthew Ridgway, commander of the U.S. Eighth Army following the death of Walker in December 1950, replaced Church with Brigadier General Blackshear M. Bryan. Church was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his services.

Church subsequently was appointed commandant of the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia  and served in that capacity until his retirement in June 1952.

Major General John H. Church died on 3 November 1953 in Washington, D.C.. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.

Medals and decorations

biography Combat Infantryman Badge
biography Distinguished Service Cross
biography Army Distinguished Service Medal
biography Silver Star
Church, John Huston [MGen SS CG 24thID]
biography Legion of Merit
biographybiography
biography
Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf Clusters
biographybiographybiography
biography
World War I Victory Medal with 3 battle clasps
biography Army of Occupation of Germany Medal
biography American Defense Service Medal
biography American Campaign Medal
biographybiographybiographybiography
biography
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 4 service stars
biography World War II Victory Medal
biography Army of Occupation Medal
biography National Defense Service Medal
biographybiography
biography
Korean Service Medal with 2 service stars
biography United Nations Korea Medal

 

Annotation

June 26, 1950

Korean_War

On the following day, June 26 in Tokyo, MacArthur received the four point directive which had been drawn up and approved at the Blair House meeting. Since he had already ordered the ammunition to be sent to South Korea and alerted his air and naval forces to provide protection for the evacuation of the 2,000 American civilians from Sŏul and could do nothing about the Seventh Fleet except await its arrival, that left only one unfulfilled item: dispatching the "survey party" to South Korea to find out what was going on and determine what else the ROKs might need. The very same afternoon MacArthur chose a GHQ section chief, Brigadier General John H. Church, to command the party (twelve other officers and two enlisted men) and told him to go to Korea immediately.[3-23]

John Church was then only several days shy of his fifty-eighth birthday, older even than JCS Chairman Omar Bradley. He was "homey" and "frail" and sick, almost crippled by arthritis. To relieve the agonizing pain, he kept a bottle of whiskey close at hand. Although far from well, Church was not lacking in courage. As a young lieutenant in World War I he had twice been wounded leading infantry units in the trenches. In World War II, as chief of staff of the crack 45th Infantry Division, he had been in the thick of the fighting in Sicily, at Salerno, at Anzio (where he temporarily commanded an infantry regiment), and in southern France. Later, as assistant division commander (ADC) of Alex Bolling's 84th Infantry Division in the ETO, he had fought in Holland and Germany, where he was wounded for the third time. In the two world wars Church had won a DSC and two Silver Stars for heroism, plus a host of other medals.

[note]

Korean_War

To many, however, it seemed that Church's time had come and gone, that to send him off to yet another war at his age and in his poor state of health was unfair and unwise. MacArthur, who had turned seventy in January, apparently did not share that view. One result was that by and large, Army officers sent to Korea were older and, in some cases, less robust than their World War II counterparts.[3-24]*

*At the time of the Normandy invasion Eisenhower was fifty-three, Bradley fifty-one. Army Chief of Staff George Marshall (then sixty-three) believed strongly that younger men should command in the field, but seniority and other factors tied his hands. Hence the three American Army commanders at Normandy were considered "old": Courtney Hodges (First), fifty-seven; George Patton (Third) fifty-eight; William H. Simpson (Ninth) fifty-six. Fifth Army commander Mark Clark and his classmate Joe Collins (in line for ETO Army command), both forty-eight, more nearly fitted Marshall's age criterion.

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