· The 3/7: Commanded by West Pointer (1938) James H. Lynch, thirty-six, the younger of two sons of a West Point general and former chief of infantry, the nearly full-strength battalion (800 men) had been formed from disparate remnants of the gutted 3d Division elements at Fort Benning. Lynch, who had not commanded troops in combat in World War II, had only had time for "about two weeks' " training before embarking, but aboard ship he had rigged telephones between staterooms and rehearsed his officers in command exercises, while the NCOs directed rifle practice topside.[9-55]
James Henry Lynch was born in Washington, DC, on 31 Jul 1914, the grandson, son, nephew, and brother of West Point graduates. His father, George A. Lynch, graduated from West Point in 1903 and later held the distinction, as a major general, of serving as the last full term Chief of Infantry in preparation for World War II.
Jim attended schools in Washington, graduating from Western High School at age 16 and taking his freshman year at George Washington University and the University of the Philippines in Manila. His sophomore year was spent at Columbia University, after which he entered West Point, graduating with the Class of 1938.
His first posting was to the 29th Infantry regiment at Ft. Benning, GA. where he met Dee Butler, daughter of COL Braxton Butler. They were married in 1939, and their son Pat was born in 1942. In 1943, Jim was assigned to the tactical department at West Point. While there, daughter Sherry was born in 1944. From 1946 to 1949, he was successively military governor of Heidelberg and operations officer on the staff of the 1st Infantry Division in Germany. Returning to the United States in September 1949, he was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division at Ft. Benning, GA, as deputy chief of staff and then battalion commander in the 30th Infantry.
In June 1950, his battalion was shipped to Korea to join the 1st Calvary Division on the Pusan Perimeter to stop the initial onslaught by the North Koreans during the darkest days of the Korean War. When the turnabout came, and the UN forces took the offensive, his battalion, the 3rd Battalion of the 7th Cavalry, was selected to breakout for the 1st Cavalry Division, conducting an attack for over 100 miles to join up with the U.S. forces that had landed at Inchon. For these actions, he was twice awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. The Presidential Unit Citation and the Korean Distinguished Unit Citation were awarded to his battalion.
In 1990, the Command and General Staff College established a combat leaders memorial to recognize one leader from each of the major conflicts in U.S. history. Such names as Anthony Wayne (Revolutionary War), Winfield Scott (War of 1812), and Leonard Wood (Spanish-American War) are remembered. James H. Lynch was selected as representative of field grade commanders from the Korean War. His photograph and an appropriate narrative are on display at the College.
During 1951–52, he served on the faculty of the Infantry School at Ft. Benning, GA. In 1952–53, Jim attended the Army War College, after which he served at the Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth, KS, as instructor and, later, as Chief of Academic Staff. Following a two year tour, 1956–58, in Turkey, Jim commanded the 2nd Brigade, 30th Infantry Division at Ft. Sill, OK. In 1960, he was assigned to the Pentagon, where he assumed responsibility for the Army’s four billion dollar personnel budget. As he often said, “A large order for someone who seldom had two nickels to clack together.”
Jim was promoted to brigadier general in 1962 and assigned as deputy chief in the Office of Reserve Components during the Cuban Missile Crisis—an exciting time. He was assigned to Paris at the Headquarters of the European Command in 1963 with protestations of “Don’t throw me in that briar patch!” Later, he served as assistant division commander of the 24th Division in Munich. In 1966, he became assistant deputy chief of staff for Unit Training and Readiness, Headquarters, U.S. Continental Army Command, Ft. Monroe, VA.
He retired in 1968, and he and Dee moved to Augusta, GA. He often said what a fortunate decision it was for both of them. They came to have many friends and many meaningful activities. He worked with the Red Cross Board and enjoyed the fellowship of the Kiwanis Club. As a cadet at West Point, he had been captain of the cadet golf team, so naturally he returned to golf in his retirement and played many happy hours at the West Lake Country Club. In 1992, the City of Augusta honored him for his accomplishments in the Korean War with a memorial on the Heroes Overlook at Riverwalk.
At the age of 92, Jim and Dee moved to Little Rock and enjoyed their 68th wedding anniversary before Dee passed away in July 2007. James Henry Lynch died on 12 Feb 2008 and is buried next to Dee at Mt. Holly Cemetery in Little Rock, AR. He is survived by son James Patrick Lynch and his wife Jolynn of Colorado Springs, CO; daughter, Sherry and her husband George Worthen of Little Rock, AR; and grandchildren, Bryan Lynch and Emilie and Ellen Worthen.
He has joined the Long Gray Line.