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Hunter Liggett (March 21, 1857 – December 30, 1935) was a senior United States Army officer. His 42 years of service spanned the period from the Indian campaigns to trench warfare of World War I. Additionally, he identified possible invasion sites in Luzon, particularly Lingayen Gulf, which were used during World War II in 1941 by the Japanese and in 1945 by the Americans.

Hunter Liggett
Hunter Liggett.jpg
Liggett as a brigadier general.
Born(1857-03-21)March 21, 1857
Reading, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedDecember 30, 1935(1935-12-30) (aged 78)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Place of burial
Allegiance United States
Service/branchSeal of the United States Department of War.png U.S. Army
Years of service1879–1921
RankUS-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant general
UnitUSA - Army Infantry Insignia.png Infantry Branch
Commands heldPhilippine Department
41st Infantry Division
I Corps
First Army
Third Army
Battles/warsIndian Wars
Spanish–American War
Philippine–American War
World War I
AwardsDistinguished Service Medal
Croix de Guerre (France)
Légion d'honneur (France)

Early lifeEdit

Liggett was born March 21, 1857 in Reading, Pennsylvania.[1] After his graduation from West Point as a second lieutenant in 1879, he was assigned to the 5th Infantry, where he served in both the Montana and Dakota territories, as well as Texas and Florida, during which time he reached the rank of captain.[1]

His field service in the American west, the Spanish–American War, and the Philippine–American War honed his skills as a military leader.

In 1907, he assumed command of a battalion of the 13th Infantry Regiment at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. From 1909 to 1914, he served as student, faculty member, and president at the Army War College, receiving a promotion to brigadier general in February 1913.

Liggett's services in the Philippines included setting up a staff ride in 1914 to study possible invasion sites on Luzon. He was assisted in this by his aide de camp, Captain George Marshall. The staff ride established that the most likely invasion route would be through the Lingayen Gulf and that this would be all but unstoppable unless the US dramatically increased its Army and Navy forces in the Philippines. In 1941, the Japanese invaded through the Lingayen Gulf, as the US did in turn in 1945.

First World WarEdit

Success in brigade commands in Texas and in the Philippines led to his promotion to major general, and selection as commander of the 41st Division in April 1917. The division served in France as part of the American Expeditionary Force. When his division was disestablished, he took command of I Corps.[1]

Under Liggett's leadership, the I Corps participated in the Second Battle of the Marne and in the reduction of the Saint-Mihiel salient. In October 1918, as commander of the US First Army with the rank of lieutenant general in the national Army, he directed the final phases of the Meuse-Argonne offensive and the pursuit of German forces until the armistice. After commanding the post-war Army of Occupation, Liggett returned to his permanent rank of major general, and retired in 1921.

Retirement and deathEdit

He wrote about his war time experiences in A.E.F.: Ten Years Ago in France (1928).[2] In 1930, Congress passed a law permitting World War I generals officers to retire at the highest rank they had held, and Liggett was promoted to lieutenant general on the retired list.[1] He died December 30, 1935 in San Francisco, California and is interred at the San Francisco National Cemetery, San Francisco, California.[3] His grave can be found in the officers section 3, plot 1.[3]

Honors and awardsEdit

Military honorsEdit

Hunter Liggett (1st on the left) with fellow US generals (left to right) Robert Bullard, James McAndrew, James Harbord, Charles Summerall, John Hines, Edward Lewis, Michael Lenihan, William Mitchell and Frank Parker, after having been decorated with the "Commandeur" of the Légion d'honneur by Marshal Philippe Pétain in 1919.
American awards
  Army Distinguished Service Medal
  Indian Campaign Medal
  Spanish War Service Medal
  Philippine Campaign Medal
  World War I Victory Medal
  Army of Occupation of Germany Medal
Foreign awards
  Croix de Guerre with palm (France)
  Légion d'honneur (France), class of Commandeur
  Order of Leopold (Belgium), class of Commandeur
  Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (Italy), class of Commendatore


Army Distinguished Service medal citationEdit


The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Army Distinguished Service Medal to Lieutenant General Hunter Liggett, United States Army, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility during World War I. As Commander of the 1st Army of the American Expeditionary Forces, General Liggett commanded the 1st Army Corps and perfected its organization under difficult conditions of early service in France, engaged in active operations in reduction of the Marne salient and of the St. Mihiel salient, and participated in the actions in the Forest of Argonne; in command of the 1st Army when German resistance was shattered west of the Meuse.[6]

Other honorsEdit

In his honor, the United States Army named a base on California's central coast, Fort Hunter Liggett.[7][8]

Liggett Hall is a regimental-sized barracks building constructed at Fort Jay on Governors Island in New York Harbor. Completed in 1930, it was thought to be the largest building constructed by the U.S. Army and was the largest structure built under the supervision of the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps. It was superseded by the Pentagon, constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1943.

The USS Hunter Liggett was a passenger ship that was transferred to the Army and renamed Hunter Liggett in February 1939. The ship transported personnel and supplies until May 27, 1941, when she was turned over to the Navy. Converted to Navy use at Brooklyn Navy Yard, she re-commissioned as AP-27 June 9, 1941, and then again reclassified APA-14 February 1, 1943 for the United States Coast Guard.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Davis, pp. 229-230
  2. ^ Liggett, Hunter. A.E.F., Ten Years Ago in France. New York: Dodd, Mead and Co, 1928. OCLC 330622
  3. ^ a b "Hunter Liggett". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. Retrieved March 15, 2010.
  4. ^ "Gen. Liggett, 78, War Hero, Indian Fighter, is Dead". Chicago Daily Tribune. page 5. 31 Dec 1935. Retrieved 14 Feb 2016.
  5. ^ United States. War Dept., General Staff (31 May 1918). Catalogue of Official A.E.F. Photographs. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. p. 416.
  6. ^ "Hunter Liggett". Hall of Valor. Military Times.
  7. ^ "History of Fort Hunter Liggett". United States Army Installation Command. December 29, 2009. Archived from the original on January 27, 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-21.
  8. ^ Brown, Jerrold E. (2001). Historical Dictionary of the U.S. Army. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 187. ISBN 9781429476065.
  9. ^ "Hunter Liggett". Naval Historical Center. Archived from the original on December 7, 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2010.


Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by
I Corps Commander
January–October 1918
November 1918 – April 1919
Succeeded by
Joseph T. Dickman
Preceded by
Joseph T. Dickman
Third Army Commander
April 1919 – July 1919
Succeeded by
none (unit was inactive)