Biography

Gay, Hobart R. "Happy", "Hap"
[MajGen CG 1stCD]

biography

Task Force 91 . Landing Force. 

Major General Hobart Gay, USA. 


He was sacked as Patton's Third Army chief of staff. The reasons are not clear. Gay claimed it was because he had deliberately withheld important orders to Patton during the Sicily campaign which would have canceled Patton's highly publicized career enhancing capture of Palermo. However, Patton's diary suggests another reason. Eisenhower, Patton recorded, did not think Gay had sufficient "presence" to represent Patton at other high headquarters. Whatever the reasons, at Eisenhower's insistence Patton reluctantly replaced Gay but kept him in the wings of his Third Army headquarters. In early December 1944, just before the Battle of the Bulge, when Patton stood high with Eisenhower and could do no wrong, he persuaded Eisenhower to let him restore Gay to the job of Third Army's chief of staff. Eisenhower not only approved that proposal but also recommended Gay for promotion to two stars, writing Marshall that Third Army staff work under Gay had been "extraordinarily good. Gay was in the car accident with Patton in December 1945, when Patton was fatally injured.

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As George Patton's two chief lieutenants in World War II Johnnie Walker and Hap Gay became very close. Gay had been one of Walker's biggest boosters in Third Army headquarters. In his diary Gay had gushed:

"General Walker is always most willing and cooperative. He apparently will fight any time, any place, and with anything that the Army Commander desires to give him."

In September 1949, when command of the 1st Cav opened up, Walker got old cavalryman Gay for an honorary tour of duty before retirement.

Besides service together in Patton's Third Army, Walker and Gay had another bond. Both had sons who had been graduated in the West Point class of 1946 and were headed for duty in the Far East. Walker's son, Sam Sims, who had chosen the infantry and become a paratrooper, was then on his way from the 82d Airborne for duty in his fathers Eighth Army. Gay's son, Hobart, Jr., who had chosen the Air Force, was then on the way to fly with FEAF's 49th Fighter Bomber Group.

During preparations for the Normandy invasion Gay suffered a temporary but traumatic career setback:

As a troop commander Gay, like Walker, had adopted some of the techniques and mannerisms of his mentor, George Patton. He wore highly polished cavalry boots and carried a bamboo swagger stick with a silver hilt.

 "But he wasn't Patton,

 a senior 1st Cav officer remembered. Gays chief of staff, West Pointer (1925) Ernest V. Holmes, forty-seven, an artilleryman who had spent most of World War II in Hawaii, recalled:

"Gay was not a healthy or well man. I was told that he had a heart condition and was given command of the 1st Cav in Japan for rest and recuperation. However, there was nothing obvious about his illness nor did he ever miss a day's duty. Another senior 1st Cav officer said: "He was sort of old, but he took good care of himself."

Gays senior assistants were, like those in the 24th and 25th divisions,

 "European generals. The ADC was Frank A. Allen, Jr., fifty-four, a onetime cavalryman and World War II tanker who became Eisenhower's chief wartime public relations man at SHAEF and a Pentagon lobbyist in the postwar years. The artillery commander was the tough, able West Pointer (1924) Charles D. Palmer, forty-eight, who was descended from a long line of West Pointers and whose older brother, Williston B. Palmer (West Point, 1918), had commanded Joe Collins's VII Corps artillery in the ETO and in 1950 commanded the 82d Airborne Division. Palmer had been chief of staff to Edward H. ("Ted") Brooks while he commanded the famous "Hell on Wheels"

2d Armored Division and later VI Corps in the ETO. Williston and Charles Palmer both went on to wear four stars, the only brothers in Army history to do so.

Born in Rockport, Illinois, Hap Gay had been graduated from Knox College in 1917 and the same year received a commission in the cavalry. He commanded G Company in the 7th Cavalry Regiment, which during World War I was detailed to Mexican border patrols in Texas and New Mexico. Like many cavalrymen, Gay became an avid polo player. During a game in 1929 he was blinded in one eye, and because of that he was compelled to transfer to the Army Quartermaster Corps, in which he served until 1941.

Luckily for Gay, he had earlier met cavalryman George Patton. When Patton began drafting old calvarymen for senior posts in the Army's rapidly expanding armored corps, one-eyed quartermaster Hap Gay was among the first to get a call. Despite the fact that Gay had been sidetracked in quartermaster duties for eleven years and had attended neither the Command and General Staff School nor the Army War College, Patton appointed him to be chief of staff first of the 1st Armored Corps, next of Seventh Army, then of Third Army in North Africa, Sicily, and England and got him promoted to brigadier general. As such Hap Gay was Patton's closest professional cohort in World War II.[6-35]

During preparations for the Normandy invasion Gay suffered a temporary but traumatic career setback: He was sacked as Patton's Third Army chief of staff. The reasons are not clear. Gay claimed it was because he had deliberately withheld important orders to Patton during the Sicily campaign which would have canceled Patton's highly publicized career enhancing capture of Palermo. However, Patton's diary suggests another reason. Eisenhower, Patton recorded, did not think Gay had sufficient "presence" to represent Patton at other high headquarters. Whatever the reasons, at Eisenhower's insistence Patton reluctantly replaced Gay but kept him in the wings of his Third Army headquarters.

In early December 1944, just before the Battle of the Bulge, when Patton stood high with Eisenhower and could do no wrong, he persuaded Eisenhower to let him restore Gay to the job of Third Army's chief of staff. Eisenhower not only approved that proposal but also recommended Gay for promotion to two stars, writing Marshall that Third Army staff work under Gay had been "extraordinarily good." Gay was in the car accident with Patton in December 1945, when Patton was fatally injured.[6-36]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hobart Raymond Gay
biography Lieutenant General Hobart R. Gay
Nickname(s) "Hap"
Born (1894-05-16)May 16, 1894
Rockport, Illinois
Died August 19, 1983(1983-08-19) (aged 89)
El Paso, Texas
Allegiance biography United States of America
Service/branch biography United States Army
Years of service 1917-1955
Rank biography Lieutenant General
Commands held U.S. Fifteenth Army
U.S. 1st Armored Division
Military District of Washington
1st Cavalry Division (United States)
U.S. VI Corps
U.S. III Corps
U.S. Fifth Army
Anti-aircraft and Guided Missile Center
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War
Awards Distinguished Service Cross (2)
Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit (2)
Silver Star (3)
Bronze Star (2)
Other work Superintendent of the New Mexico Military Institute

Lieutenant General Hobart Raymond Gay (May 16, 1894 – August 19, 1983), nicknamed "Hap", was a United States Army general.

Early military career

He was first commissioned into the Army Reserve as a 2nd lieutenant following his graduation from Knox College in 1917. On October 26, 1917, Gay was commissioned into the Regular Army. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant on October 26, 1917 and captain in July 1920. In his early career, he was a cavalry officer. He transferred to the Quartermaster Corps June 11, 1934 and was promoted to major on August 1, 1935. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel on August 18, 1940 and colonel on December 24, 1941. As a captain, he tutored author Robert A. Heinlein in equitation and musketry.

World War II

General Gay was awarded the Silver Star in December 1942 for gallantry in action on November 8, 1942 at Casablanca. He was chief of staff of the I Armored Corps, commanded by General George S. Patton, in North Africa at the time. Gay would continue to serve as Patton's chief of staff until Patton's death in December 1945.

Gay was promoted to brigadier general on June 24, 1943. In the Sicily campaign he was assigned to the U.S. Seventh Army as chief of staff. He became chief of staff, Third Army, in February 1944. In this capacity, Gay was a key member of Patton's command staff during the Third Army's drive into Germany following the Normandy invasion.

When Patton took command of the U.S. Fifteenth Army in October 1945, Gay was again his chief of staff. He and Patton went pheasant hunting on December 9, 1945. Patton and Gay were seated in the back seat of the staff car, en route to the hunting lodge. There was a traffic accident, during which Patton sustained spinal injuries which later cost him his life. General Gay was uninjured.

Post World War II Europe

After Patton's death, Gay assumed command of Fifteenth Army in January 1946 for a period of one month. He then became commander of the U.S. 1st Armored Division until its return to the United States later in 1946. He then assumed command of the Second Constabulary Brigade. He served in Europe until 1947, when he returned to the United States.

Gay returned to the United States and commanded the Military District of Washington until September 1949. During his command of the district, General John J. Pershing died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on 15 July 1948. In accordance with tradition, Gen. Gay coordinated arrangements for Pershing's funeral ceremonies as the representative of the U.S. President.

Korean War

In September 1949, Gay took command of the 1st Cavalry Division in Osaka, Japan. He brought the 1st Cavalry to Korea, where it was in action on July 19, 1950, joining in the general South Korean-U.S. retreat before the North Korean invasion force.

Over three days in late July, the division's 7th Cavalry Regiment and U.S. warplanes killed a large number of South Korean refugees at No Gun Ri, an event first confirmed by The Associated Press in 1999 and later acknowledged in a U.S. Army investigation. The South Korean government in 2005 certified the names of 163 No Gun Ri dead and missing and 55 wounded, and said many more likely were killed. On July 26, the day the No Gun Ri killings began, Gay told rear-echelon reporters he was sure most refugees fleeing south were North Korean infiltrators. Two days earlier, word had been sent from his operations staff to fire on all refugees trying to cross U.S. lines. Gay himself later described refugees as "fair game," and the U.S. ambassador in South Korea said such a policy had been adopted theater-wide. On August 4, 1950, after U.S. forces withdrew across the Naktong River, Gay ordered the blowing of the Waegwan bridge, killing hundreds of refugees trying to cross.

His 1st Cavalry Division then played a crucial, costly role in the successful last-ditch defense of the Pusan Perimeter, and joined in the breakout of U.S. and South Korean units headed north in September in conjunction with the landing of U.S. forces at Inchon. Gay's troops then led the strike across the 38th Parallel and into Pyongyang, capturing the North Korean capital on Oct. 19-20. Two weeks later, his 8th Cavalry Regiment was hit hard by newly arriving Chinese Communist forces at Unsan, north of Pyongyang, with one battalion left trapped when Gay's rescue efforts were ordered halted by his superior, I Corps commander Maj. Gen. Frank W. Milburn. The Chinese drove the 1st Cavalry Division and other U.S. forces from North Korea in December, and in early 1951 Gay, along with other top officers in Korea, was relieved of his command.

Gay was appointed deputy commander of the U.S. Fourth Army in February, 1951. In July 1952 he was appointed commander of U.S. VI Corps at Camp Atterbury, Indiana and in April, 1953 made commanding general of U.S. III Corps at Fort MacArthur, California. He moved to Fort Hood in Texas when the III Corps was reassigned there.

Post Korean War

In September 1954 General Gay was made commander of U.S. Fifth Army in Chicago, Illinois. He was nominated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in October 1954 for promotion to Lieutenant General (temporary).

Hobart R. Gay’s career in the U.S. Army ended in 1955 as the Commanding General, Anti-aircraft and Guided Missile Center, Fort Bliss, Texas.

Retirement

Following retirement, Gay became superintendent of the New Mexico Military Institute.

He died in El Paso, Texas August 19, 1983, and was interred at the Fort Bliss National Cemetery.

Awards and decorations

Media Portrayal

 

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(Second Award)
Citation:
The Distinguished Service Cross (First Oak Leaf Cluster) is presented to Hobart R. Gay, Major General, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while as Commanding General of the 1st Cavalry Division. Major General Gay distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces in the Republic of Korea during the period from 18 July to 1 October 1950.


During this period, although faced by overwhelming numerical superiority, General Gay so skillfully led his Division that the enemy's advance was slowed and ultimately halted along the Naktong River Line. His continuous presence at the front under enemy artillery, mortar, and small-arms fire with total disregard for his own personal safety was an inspiration to his men during the critical period of the United Nations buildup. On September 25, 1950, the Division made a break-through at Tabu-dong. General Gay joined the task force formed to exploit the success, placing his quarter-ton vehicle behind the two leading tanks, taking part in numerous firefights. In one instance the lead tank was hit by enemy antitank fire, halting the column. Realizing the seriousness of the situation and the necessity for pushing forward, General Gay made his way under enemy fire to the lead tank and personally directed accurate fire at the enemy antitank guns, which eliminated them. His aggressive leadership, courage under fire, and personal heroism, enable the task force to continue its rapid advance and prevented the enemy from organizing a defensive position which would have nullified the breakthrough.


Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea: General Orders No. 109 (October 10, 1950)
Other Award: Distinguished Service Cross (WWII)