Palmer, Charles Day.
[BGen. DivArty1stCD]

biography   biography

West Pointer (1924)

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Charles Day Palmer
Portrait of Palmer as a Lieutenant general
Born (1902-02-20)February 20, 1902
Chicago, Illinois
Died June 7, 1999(1999-06-07) (aged 97)
Washington, D.C.
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance biographyUnited States of America
Service/branch biography United States Army
Years of service 1924-1962
Rank biography General
Commands held biography Sixth United States Army
biography 1st Cavalry Division
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War
Awards Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Silver Star (2)
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star
Air Medal
Relations William Edward Birkhimer (grandfather)
Williston B. Palmer (brother)
Other work military consultant

Charles Day Palmer, Jr. (February 20, 1902 – June 7, 1999) was a United States Army four-star general who served as Deputy Commander in Chief, United States European Command (DCINCEUR) from 1959 to 1962. His brother, Williston B. Palmer, was also a four-star general, and his grandfather, William Edward Birkhimer, was a general and Medal of Honor recipient.

Early life

Palmer was born in Chicago, Illinois on February 20, 1902. After graduating from Washington High School in Washington, D.C., he entered the United States Military Academy, graduating in 1924.

Military career


 General Charles Day Palmer

As the United States entered World War II, the then Major Palmer was in the British West Indies working to establish military bases and on anti-submarine warfare projects. Palmer went to Europe in 1944 as chief of staff of the 2nd Armored Division, and continued in that role during the Normandy invasion, the breakout from Saint-Lô, and crossing the Siegfreid Line.

During the invasion of southern France in October 1944, he was chief of staff of the VI Corps, and during this time he received a battlefield promotion to brigadier general.

Palmer was with the 1st Cavalry Division in Japan on occupation duty when the Korean War erupted. He was the commander of the division artillery commander and later the division commander, participating in six campaigns.


 General Charles D. Palmer meeting with U.S. Army WACs.

Palmer's later posts included Commander, Sixth United States Army in California and Deputy Commander of U.S. forces in Europe. After serving as Deputy Commander in Chief, United States European Command, he retired in 1962.

Awards and decorations

biography biography biography Distinguished Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
biographybiography Silver Star with one oak leaf cluster
biography Legion of Merit
biography Distinguished Flying Cross
biography Bronze Star
biography Air Medal

Post military career

After retiring from the Army, Palmer settled in Washington and worked as a military consultant with the Research Analysis Corporation. He was also a director of both St. Albans School and the Retired Officers Association, and a member of the Army and Navy Club.

Palmer died in Washington D.C. on June 7, 1999 at the age of 97 of cardiac arrest in his home in Knollwood, a military retirement community. He was survived by Eugenia Kingman Palmer, whom he married in 1954, and a son. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, next to his brother and mother.

Palmer (left) and Crombez

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.