George Windle Read

Major General George Windle Read (November 19, 1860 – November 6, 1934) was a senior United States Army officer who was prominent as a corps and division commander in World War I. Read also oversaw the departure of US forces from Europe at the end of the war as commander of the American Embarkation Center at Le Havre, France.

George Windle Read
Born(1860-11-19)November 19, 1860
Indianola, Iowa, United States
DiedNovember 6, 1934(1934-11-06) (aged 73)
Washington, D.C., United States
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1883–1925
RankUS-O8 insignia.svg Major General
UnitUSA - Army Infantry Insignia.png Infantry Branch
Commands held152nd Depot Brigade
77th Infantry Division
15th Cavalry Division
30th Infantry Division
II Corps
American Embarkation Center, Le Havre, France
42nd Infantry Division
V Corps
Philippine Department
Battles/warsSpanish–American War
Pancho Villa Expedition
World War I
AwardsArmy Distinguished Service Medal

Early lifeEdit

Read was born in Indianola, Iowa.[1] He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1883 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry.[2]

Early military careerEdit

Read's initial assignments were in the American West, and his first posting was with the 16th Infantry Regiment.[3] A few months later he transferred to the 5th Cavalry Regiment, with which he served until 1889.[4]

From 1889 to 1893, Read was Assistant Professor of Military Science at the University of Iowa, after which he returned to the 5th Cavalry Regiment in Texas.[5]

In 1898, Read authored The Automatic Instructor: A Practical System for Home Study.[6]

Spanish–American WarEdit

At the start of the Spanish–American War Read was assigned to an Ordnance unit, with which he served in Cuba until 1899.[2] Receiving promotion to Captain, he served in New Mexico from 1901 to 1902, after which he was assigned to the Philippines.[1]

Post-Spanish–American WarEdit

After leaving Cuba, Read served in California and Hawaii. From 1905 to 1909 he served on the Army’s General Staff.[7] Promoted to Major, he served in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines before attending the Army War College, from which he graduated in 1914.[8]

Mexican border conflictEdit

Advanced to Lieutenant Colonel after his war college graduation, Read served in Texas and Arizona during the US–Mexico border conflict, including the Pancho Villa Expedition. From 1915 to 1917 Read again served in Washington, DC as a member of the Army General Staff.[9]

World War IEdit

Read as commander of II Corps.

In April, 1917, Read (now a Colonel) was appointed to head recruiting as the Army began to mobilize for World War I.[10] In August he was selected to command the 152nd Depot Brigade at Camp Upton, New York.[9] In December Read was promoted to temporary Major General and assigned to command first the 77th Infantry Division, and then the 15th Cavalry Division in El Paso, Texas.[11]

The 15th Cavalry Division was disbanded in favor of fielding all Infantry divisions, and in April, 1918 Read took command of the 30th Infantry Division, which he led to France.[12] In June he was selected to command the II Corps, consisting of five divisions assigned to the British sector of the Western Front. After three of his divisions were transferred to take part in the Saint-Mihiel Offensive, Read continued to command the other two as a corps under the British Army in the Ypres area, participating in the September offensive that breached the Hindenburg Line.[13][14]

Read continued to command the II Corps after the Armistice. After the organization was demobilized in February, 1919 Read was assigned to command of the American Embarkation Center at Le Havre, France, where he was responsible for arranging the transportation of men and materiel back to the United States.[15] He was also the final commander of the 42nd Infantry Division as it completed post-war occupation duty in Germany and prepared to depart Europe.[16][17][18]

Post–World War IEdit

In May, 1919, Read was assigned to command the US V Corps at Camp Jackson, South Carolina with the permanent rank of Brigadier General.[19] In March, 1921 he received permanent promotion to Major General.[20]

In October, 1922, Read was appointed commander of the Philippine Department. He assumed command in early 1923, and remained in this assignment until his 1925 retirement.[21]

Awards and decorationsEdit

General Read's awards and decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal and the British Order of the Bath.[22][23] In addition, he received the French Legion of Honor (Commander), and French Croix de Guerre with Palm.[24]

Retirement and deathEdit

In retirement Read resided in Upper Providence Township, Pennsylvania.[25] He died at Walter Reed Army Hospital on November 6, 1934 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Section South, Site 1819.[26][27][28][29][30]


In 1886, Read married Burton Young (1868–1944) in a ceremony that took place in El Paso. She was the daughter of General S.B.M Young, who served as the first Army Chief of Staff.[31] Their children included Burton Young Read (1889–1981), a career soldier who served from the early 1900s through World War II before retiring as a Colonel,[32][33][34] and George Windle Read Jr., a career soldier who served in both world wars and attained the rank of Lieutenant General as commander of the US Army Armor Center and the Second United States Army.[35]


  1. ^ a b U.S. Leadership in Wartime: Clashes, Controversy, and Compromise, by Spencer C. Tucker, 2009, Volume 1, page 519
  2. ^ a b The United States in the First World War: An Encyclopedia, by Anne Cipriano Venzon and Paul L. Miles, 1999, page 495
  3. ^ Harper's Pictorial Library of the World War, edited by Albert Bushnell Hart, 1920, Volume 9, page 223
  4. ^ Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, by George Washington Cullum, 1891, Volume 3, page 374
  5. ^ The Iowa Historical Record, published by the State Historical Society of Iowa, 1893, Volumes 7–9, page 384
  6. ^ The Automatic Instructor: A Practical System for Home Study, by George Windle Read, 1898, title page
  7. ^ Who Was Who in America with World Wotables, 1943, Marquis Company (Chicago), Volume 1, page 1014
  8. ^ Webster's American Military Biographies, G. and C. Merriam and Company, 1978, page 343
  9. ^ a b The World's Work Magazine Volume 37, Number 1 (November, 1918), page 90
  10. ^ Who's Who in World War One, by J.M. Bourne, 2001, pages 243-244
  11. ^ Year Book of the Pennsylvania Society, published by the society, 1919, page 188
  12. ^ The Thirtieth Division in the World War, by Elmer A. Murphy and Robert S. Thomas, 1936, page 267
  13. ^ The War to End All Wars: the American Military Experience in World War I, by Edward M. Coffman, 1998, page 286
  14. ^ America in France, by Frederick Palmer, 1919, page 286
  15. ^ Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y, by George Washington Cullum, 1930, Volume 7, page 204
  16. ^ The US Army in World War I – Orders of Battle, by Richard A. Rinaldi, 2004, page 45
  17. ^ "'Reilly's Bucks' Due Home April 25", Chicago Tribune, April 22, 1919
  18. ^ Vin Rouge, Vin Blanc, Beaucoup Vin, the American Expeditionary Force in WWI, by Van Lee, 2005, page 144
  19. ^ Newspaper article, Maj Gen. GW Read is Dead at Capital; World War Officer Succumbs in Walter Reed Hospital, New York Times, November 7, 1934
  20. ^ "Harding Approves Army Promotions", Boston Daily Globe, April 14, 1921
  21. ^ "McRea Is Granted Post in Philippines", Berkeley Daily Gazette, November 21, 1924
  22. ^ Heroes All!: A Compendium of the Names and Official Citations of the Soldiers and Citizens of the United States and of Her Allies who Were Decorated by the American Government for Exceptional Heroism and Conspicuous Service Above and Beyond the Call of Duty in the War with Germany, 1917–1919, edited by Harry R. Stringer 1919, page 479
  23. ^ "High British Honor to Major Gen. Read; Second American Corps Commander Made Knight of the Order of the Bath", New York Times, March 25, 1919
  24. ^ United States Military Academy Association of Graduates (1935). Annual Report. Newburgh, NY: Moore Printing Company. p. 126.
  25. ^ 1930 United States Census entry for George W. Read and Burton Y. Read
  26. ^ "Officer Succumbs", Associated Press, reported in Lubbock Morning Advocate, November 7, 1934
  27. ^ "Death Notice for George W. Read", Philippine Magazine, Volume 31 (December, 1934)
  28. ^ Annual Report, United States Military Academy Association of Graduates, 1935, page 123
  29. ^ US Department of Veterans Affairs Nationwide Gravesite Locator
  30. ^ George Windle Read at Find a Grave, retrieved December 21, 2013
  31. ^ Early Marriages of El Paso County, Texas, Book 1 (1876–1880)
  32. ^ 1910 United States Federal Census, entry for Burton Y. Read
  33. ^ U.S. Army Adjutant General, Official U.S. Army Register, 1946, page 366
  34. ^ California Death Index, 1940–1997, entry for Burton Y. Read
  35. ^ "Gen. Read of 2nd Army to Speak July 3". Gettysburg Times. Gettysburg, PA. March 30, 1960. p. 1 – via
Military offices
Preceded by
Newly created position
Commanding General 152nd Depot Brigade
August, 1917–December, 1917
Succeeded by
John E. Woodward
Preceded by
J. Franklin Bell
Commanding General 77th Infantry Division
December, 1917–December, 1917
Succeeded by
Evan M. Johnson
Preceded by
Newly created position
Commanding General 15th Cavalry Division
December, 1917–April, 1918
Succeeded by
DeRosey C. Cabell
Preceded by
Samson L. Faison
Commanding General 30th Infantry Division
May 3, 1918–June 12, 1918
Succeeded by
Robert H. Noble
Preceded by
Robert H. Noble
Commanding General 30th Infantry Division
June 14, 1918–June 15, 1918
Succeeded by
Samson L. Faison
Preceded by
George S. Simonds (acting)
Commanding General II Corps
June 15, 1918–February 1, 1919
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Commanding General American Embarkation Center
Le Havre, France

February 2, 1919–April 10, 1919
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Clement Flagler
Commanding General 42nd Infantry Division
April 10, 1919–May 9, 1919
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Charles P. Summerall
Commanding General V Corps
May 10, 1919–October 3, 1922
Succeeded by
Preceded by
William M. Wright
Commanding General Philippine Department
October 4, 1922–November 19, 1924
Succeeded by
James H. McRae