BIOGRAPHY OF HUGH A. DRUM

 

Maj. Gen., CO VI Corp Area, United States, USA

 

From Sparta Civilian Conservation Corps District, Sixth Corps Area, 1937 Annual

 

Major General Hugh A. Drum

Commanding General Sixth Corps Area, U.S.A.

 

Major General Hugh A. Drum was born at Fort Brady, Michigan, September 19, 1879. His father, Capt. John A. Drum, who was killed in action on July 1, 1898, in the battle of San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War, also served with the California Volunteers during the Civil War. General Drum, who spent most of his boyhood on western frontier Army posts, later lived in New York and Boston. He was educated at St. Francis Xavier and Boston Colleges.

 

Philippine Service

 

          At the age of eighteen, General Drum was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry, from civil life. Shortly after receiving his commission he joined the American forces in the Philippine Islands, where he participated in the Philippine Insurrection campaigns on the Island of Luzon and was cited for conspicuous conduct in action. He returned to the United States in 1901, but in 1902 was ordered back to the Philippines as a First Lieutenant for the Moro campaigns in Mindanao, during which engagements he was cited for gallantry in action. Because of his outstanding services in this campaign, he was appointed Aide-de-Camp to General Baldwin. Returning to the Philippines again in 1907, as a Captain, he was actively engaged in the pacification of the Moros in Midanao and Sulu.

 

Mexican Service

 

          His service on the Mexican Border and with the Vera Cruz Expedition began in 1910 and ended in 1917.

 

          During this period of his service, he attended and graduated as an Honor Student from the Army Command and General Staff Schools and Colleges and, from 1914 to 1916, was an instructor at these schools.

          During  his service on the Mexican Border, he commanded companies and battalions of the Twenty-third Infantry and was Assistant Chief of Staff for both General Funston and General Pershing. It was during this period that he organized the defense of our southern border and directed the concentration and training of the Regular Army and National Guard.

          He was both a Company Commander and Assistant Chief of Staff for General Funston during the Expedition to Vera Cruz. His preparation of training and defense plans, together with his special instructions relative to combat against Mexican forces led to his selection as an Aide-de-Camp by General Funston.

World War Service

          With the outbreak of the World War, General Drum was selected, among others, to accompany General Pershing to France as one of his Staff Officers to assist in the preparation of plans for the organization, operations and training of the American Forces. He assisted in the formulation of the basic A.E.F. plans, which included all of the American Army and its component parts. These comprehensive plans included the organization, supply and transportation systems, school and training projects, the tactical doctrines and active operations for the American Army, the priority of shipping of both men and material, the actual training and equipping of troops and other less extensive plans.

          From time to time during this period, General Drum served in the front lines with the British forces in Flanders, the French in the Champagne and the Forty-second American Division in the Luneville area.

          When General Pershing decided in July, 1918, to form the First American Army, General Drum was appointed its Chief of Staff, and, under General Pershing’s direct command, proceeded with the organization and preparation of the Army for independent action. General Drum was Chief of Staff of the First American Army throughout its existence, organizing 600,000 men for the battle of St. Mihiel and 1,200,000 men for the Meuse-Argonne, two of America’s greatest battles. While the preparation and plans were being made for these two battles, General Pershing was involved in such pressing inter-allied problems that he had to entrust General Drum with the organization, battle plans, supply and other matters pertaining to the First Army. Because of his efficient handling of these preparations and their execution, General Pershing promoted him from the grade of Lieutenant Colonel to that of Brigadier General. Marshals Foch and Petain recognized General Drum’s splendid efforts with the First Army, as did General Liggett, and he was given personal citations by them. The plans evolved by General Drum resulted in the American Army decisively winning the greatest battle American troops ever fought.

Service After the World War

          With the termination of the war, General Drum was detailed as Chief of Staff of the Service of Supply in France to assist in its dissolution and the movement of the American Forces back to the United States. Upon the completion of this duty, General Drum was ordered to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as Director and Assistant Commandment, and later Commandant, of the Command and General Service Schools. His service as a General Officer from 1922, when he left the Service Schools, was that of a Brigade, Division, and Coast Artillery District Commander, Assistant Chief of Staff, Inspector General of the Army, Deputy Chief of Staff, Commander of the Fifth Corps Area and Commander of the Hawaiian Department.

Service in Hawaii

          During his service as Deputy Chief of Staff, he was actively engaged in the preparation of plans and their execution for the mobilization and organization of the Civilian Conservation Corps and as a member of the Joint Army-Navy Board. Immediately following this duty, he assumed command of the Hawaiian Department. With the active support of the Administration, he laid out and constructed several strategic military roads, especially the well known Kole Kole Pass Road, improved the storage facilities for ammunition and extended the Army’s signal communications and water systems on the Island of Oahu. His personal guidance brought about the organization of the Hawaiian Service Command, an agency to provide for the feeding and safety of the residents of the Islands during any emergency.

Summary of Service

          A brief resume of General Drum’s service portrays an extraordinary career. Having been appointed a Second Lieutenant at the age of eighteen, if he serves until the statutory age limit, he will have had forty-six years of commissioned service; longer than that of any other American officer. He has served successively in all grades from Second Lieutenant to Major General and in 1937 has been a General Officer for over seventeen years. With one exception, he will have had more service as a General Officer than any other officer in the Army. He is the only living officer who has been a Chief of Staff of an American Army in actual battle. He has had all branches of the Army under his command.

          He has been a leader in the development of the American thought and teaching in both Tactics and Strategy, having written many of the first texts used at the Service Schools. His contribution to the Baker and Drum boards in their study of aviation in the United States has been considerable in the development of Army aviation. His experience and services are those had by no other officer in our Army and have given him a unique distinction.

Citations and Decorations

          Spanish-American War
          Philippine Insurrection with a citation for gallantry in action
          Mexican Border Service
          Vera Cruz Expedition
          Victory Medal with four campaign bars
          Belgian Order of the Crown
          Italian Order of the Crown
          French Legion de Honneur
          French Croix de Guerre with two palms
          U.S. Distinguished Service Medal
          Silver Star

          His citation by Marshal Foch, Inter-allied Commander reads:

          “Being called upon to act as Chief of Staff, First Army, at the time the latter was constituted and having been entrusted at the same time with the study of a series of major operations in the St. Mihiel region, and between the Argonne and Meuse, he displayed exceptional faculties of tactical understanding and sound judgment as well as unflinching energy. He shared greatly in the success of the above operations.”

          General Pershing’s citation of him is as follows:

          “Upon him as Chief of Staff of the First Army devolved the important duty of organizing the headquarters of this command and of coordinating the detailed staff work in its operations in the St. Mihiel and Argonne-Meuse offensives. His tact, zeal and high professional attainments had a marked influence on the success that attended the operations of the First Army.”

----- Submitted by Curator

Curator’s Note – Gen. Hugh Drum is the namesake of the United State Army Base Fort Drum in New York, so re-named for him in 1951.

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