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Edward Joseph O'Neill (March 24, 1902 – January 9, 1979) was a career U.S. Army officer and battalion combat commander in World War II. He later commanded logistics and support organizations and senior military staff in Europe during the Cold War era.

Edward Joseph O'Neill
General Edward J. O'Neill.jpg
Born(1902-03-24)March 24, 1902
St. Albans, Vermont
DiedJanuary 9, 1979(1979-01-09) (aged 76)
Arlington, Virginia
AllegianceUnited States United States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army seal United States Army
Years of service1924-1962
RankUS-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant general
Commands held
Battles/warsWorld War II Cold War
AwardsDistinguished Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal

Education and World War IIEdit

He was commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry in the Regular Army in 1924 after his graduation from the University of Vermont. He served in a variety of infantry commands and staff positions in the years between the World Wars, with a tour in Hawaii and attendance at the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia and the Command and General Staff School.

At the onset of World War II, he was a battalion commander in the 1st Infantry Division (United States). In 1941 O'Neill became assistant then chief G-4, or chief of supplies and logistical support for the Fifth United States Army's VI Corps (United States) in the North Africa and Italian campaigns. He was responsible for supplying the Allied landing at Anzio, Italy in Operation Shingle. O'Neill ended the war as G-4 (staff officer for supply) for Fifth Army.

Post war service and commandsEdit

In 1950, he was Deputy Chief of Staff of the European Command, redesignated Headquarters, U.S. Army, Europe. In August 1954 he was promoted to brigadier general and later took command of U.S. Army Communication Zone, Europe, the logistics and support organization for the U.S. Army, Europe.

In that position on May 12, 1958, he selected one of 13 casketed remains of unknown U.S. soldiers from American military cemeteries in Europe to represent the unknowns from the European Theater of Operations during World War II. After a further selection of unknowns from the Atlantic and Pacific theaters, the Unknown Soldier of World War II was interred in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, 1958. O’Neill next served as Army Chief of Staff in Europe in 1959.

In March 1960, he was promoted to Lieutenant General and assumed his final command of First United States Army at Fort Jay, Governors Island, New York. While there, he also served as senior U.S. Army representative to the United Nations Military Staff Committee. He retired after 31 years of active duty on March 31, 1962.

Retiring to Arlington, Virginia, O'Neill was a consultant for Aerojet General Corporation in Washington, D.C. until 1970.

O'Neill died of a heart attack on January 9, 1979 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

External linksEdit

  • American Battle Monuments Commission Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial Selection of Unknown Soldier for European Theater of Operations
  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers from The Quartermaster Review January-February 1964 In depth article on selection of World War II & Korean War Unknown Soldiers
  • Mossman, B.C.; Stark, Warner (1971), The Last Salute: Civil and Military Funerals 1921-1969, Washington, D.C.: Department of the Army, pp. 93–98, archived from the original on 2008-01-13, retrieved 2008-03-19
  • Edward J. O'Neill at Arlington National Cemetery
  • "First Army to Get New Commander", New York Times, January 31, 1960
  • "Retired Lt. Gen. Edward O'Neill Dies; Supplied Landings at Salerno, Anzio", The Washington Post, January 11, 1979
Military offices
Preceded by
Blackshear M. Bryan
Commanding General - First United States Army
February 29, 1960 – March 31, 1962
Succeeded by
Garrison H. Davidson