University of Kentucky Alumni Association
Born in Hopkinsville, Ky., on November 4, 1903. Died, August 26, 1991. General, U.S. Army. University of Kentucky, B.A., cum laude, 1926.
Designated an honor graduate of the University's ROTC program, he was commissioned in the Regular Army as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry. He served in North Africa and the European Theatre during World War II.
In 1951, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his part in planning the conduct of the offense against the North Koreans and the Chinese Communists.
In 1960, he was named assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs) for Disarmament and Military Affairs.
At the University from which he graduated cum laude in 1926, he was a member of Alpha Tau Omega, Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, Keys, Mystic 13, Lamp and Cross, and Scabbard and Blade. Based upon his ROTC service, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant, Infantry, in the Regular Army of the United States, and he served continuously until his retirement October 1, 1960.
His Army promotions were:
First Lieutenant, 1932;
Lieutenant Colonel, 1942;
Brigadier General, 1951;
Major General, 1953; and
Lieutenant General, 1959.
He was a graduate of the Infantry School in 1932, the Command and General Staff School, 1940, and the National War College, 1948. He was an instructor at the U. S. Military Academy, 1937-39.
During the war, he served as a staff officer, II Corps, in England and North Africa.
During the Korean Conflict, he was staff officer with the Eighth U. S. Army in Korea.
The Eighth Army staff had been further strengthened by a new G3, replacing William Bartlett. The new man was a senior colonel, John A. Dabney (University of Kentucky, 1926), forty-six, a brainy officer whose promising career had been (like Landrum's) thwarted by an unlucky assignment in World War II. Dabney had been chief of staff to Lloyd R. Fredendall, the general in charge of American forces (II Corps) at Kasserine Pass in North Africa when they were routed in their first battle with the Germans. In the wake of this disaster Eisenhower had sacked Fredendall, and his replacements (Patton temporarily, followed by Bradley) did not want Dabney. He had returned with Fredendall to the States, where he sat out World War II as G3 of the Second (paper) Army. In the postwar years Dabney had helped establish the CIA, then transferred to Japan, first as commander of the 21st Infantry Regiment, next as a senior assistant in the G3 section of GHQ.
Dabney was introduced to Johnnie Walker's love of speed in a traumatic fashion. He remembered:
One day I accompanied General Walker in a jeep convoy to inspect ROK units on the north front. On the return trip we were going like crazy down the road, Walker's jeep leading. A ROK truck, reacting to the siren in Walker's jeep, pulled off the road to let Walker's jeep pass. But before my jeep could pass, the truck pulled onto the road again. My jeep hit it head on, going sixty miles an hour. We were all thrown out. My steel helmet probably saved my life. I woke up in a M.A.S.H. unit. The doctor wanted to send me to a hospital in Japan, but Walker sent word for him to sew me up and send me back. Forty-eight hours later, somewhat bruised and battered, I was back at my desk, doing the best I could.[8-36]
Dabney was replaced by West Pointer (1922) Gilman C. ("Gim") Mudgett, fifty, older brother of the 21st Infantry exec, Fritz Mudgett. Gim Mudgett was a distinguished cavalryman and protégé of Lev Allen's. In World War II, after helping Don Faith's father (and Oveta Culp Hobby) establish the WAACs, Mudgett briefly commanded and trained an armored regiment but did not take it into combat. In England before D day, he was drafted into Omar Bradley's G-3 section, then into Bernard Montgomery's tactical headquarters as a senior American planner and liaison officer to Bradley. When Bradley activated his Twelfth Army Group, his chief of staff, Lev Allen, brought Mudgett back to serve as G-3 in Bradley's tactical headquarters. In these jobs Mudgett and Ridgway renewed an old acquaintanceship, and after the war Mudgett had served briefly with Ridgway in Panama, before becoming an instructor at the Command and General Staff School.
His overseas service included the Philippines, 1929-31; Puerto Rico, 1934-36; Japan, 1948-50; Germany Trieste and France, 1954-57. Service in the nation's capitol included one tour with the CIA and two tours with the Department of Defense. His decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal, with oak leaf cluster.
John Albert Dabney was named to the Hall of Distinguished Alumni in February, 1965.
Trieste United States Troops
The last British and American troops boarded ships 26 October 1954 as Italian troops arrived in a heavy rain storm. The last TRUST commander, Major General John A. Dabney, drove to the airport at Udine, then flew to Livorno to join troops that had already assembled there.
AWARDS AND CITATIONS
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Army Distinguished Service Medal to Brigadier General John A. Dabney (ASN: 0-16602), United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility from 15 August 1950 to 19 March 1951.
General Orders: Department of the Army: General Orders No. 16 (March 20, 1951)
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Army Distinguished Service Medal to Lieutenant General John A. Dabney (ASN: 0-16602), United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in duties of great responsibility from July 1951 to September 1961.General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 36 (October 9, 1961), Amended by G.O. No. 41 (1961)
(Citation Needed) - SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant General John A. Dabney (ASN: 0-16602), United States Army, was awarded a Second Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Third Award of the Army Distinguished Service Medal for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility.General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 41 (1961)
Army had prepared plans to meet all eventualities anticipated as probable. In early August, General MacArthur outlined to General Walker a defense line closer to Pusan than the Naktong River line. He wanted this line prepared for occupancy in the event Eighth Army could not stop the North Koreans at the Naktong.
On 11 August, General Walker verbally instructed Brig. Gen. Garrison H. Davidson, an Engineer officer, to lay out this secondary defense line. Davidson, after looking over the ground, recommended to General Walker that because of better defensive terrain the line should be somewhat farther back toward Pusan than General MacArthur had indicated. General Walker replied that the line would be constructed where General MacArthur had indicated it should go.
General Davidson began laying out the line with very few resources. He received some help from Brig. Gen. Crump Garvin and the 2nd Logistical Command at Pusan and from the 2nd and 25th Divisions. This line, known as the Davidson Line, began on the east coast at Sodong-ni, approximately eight miles north of Ulsan, and extended generally west along high ground to a point northeast of Miryang, then curved down the ridge east of Muan-ni, turned south across the Naktong River and anchored on the high ground northeast of Masan.
General Walker would not approve Davidson's recommendation to remove all houses from in front of the line to clear a field of fire. Davidson succeeded in laying a trace of the line on the ground, cleared fields of fire except for houses, ordered material for fortifications, and was able to have a few positions dug before he reported to the 24th Division as assistant division commander on the first of September. [21-46 ]
While General Walker had many capable staff officers at his Eighth Army headquarters at this time, perhaps none was more valuable to him than Col. John A. Dabney, Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3,[appointed 8/15] who had joined the Army in Korea during July. Dabney was quiet and unassuming, possessed of a good mind, sound professional knowledge, persistent in his search of facts, and blessed with a fine judgment in evaluating combat information. He showed common sense throughout the critical Naktong battles of the Perimeter, and was a trusted and valued adviser to General Walker and his chief of staff.
August 15, 1950
On 21 March  , Eighth Army had a new assistant chief of staff, G-3, for operations. Col. William C. Mudgett replaced Brig. Gen. John A. Dabney, who had held that post since 15 August1950.
While General Walker had many capable staff officers at his Eighth Army headquarters at this time, perhaps none was more valuable to him than Col. John A. Dabney, Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, [assigned on 8/22] who had joined the Eighth Army in Korea during July.
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