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John Leonard Hines (May 21, 1868 – October 13, 1968) was an American general who served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1924 to 1926.[1]

John Leonard Hines
Maj. Gen. J.L. Hines, Chief of Staff, 9-13-(24) LCCN2016849427 (cropped).jpg
General John L. Hines
Born(1868-05-21)May 21, 1868
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, U.S.
DiedOctober 13, 1968(1968-10-13) (aged 100)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Arlington National Cemetery, Section 7, Lot 8001
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1891–1932
Commands heldPhilippine Department
IX Corps Area
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
VIII Corps Area
2nd Division
5th Division
III Corps
4th Division
1st Brigade, 1st Division
Battles/warsSpanish–American War
Philippine–American War
World War I
AwardsDistinguished Service Cross
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star


Early careerEdit

Born in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia,[2] to Irish parents, Edward and Mary, Hines graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York and was commissioned as a second lieutenant of Infantry on June 12, 1891.[1] His first assignment was to the 2nd Infantry Regiment. Hines served with the regiment in Nebraska and Montana from 1891 to 1898,[3] where he married Harriet Schofield "Rita" Wherry, one of the daughters of Brigadier General William M. Wherry and Alice Grammer.[4]

Hines served in Cuba during the Spanish–American War and in the Philippines during the Philippine–American War. In 1898 he was elected as a Veteran Companion of the Pennsylvania Commandery of the Military Order of Foreign Wars. He was adjutant of the Mexican Punitive Expedition in 1916–17 under General John J. Pershing.[1]

World War IEdit

During World War I, Hines experienced a meteoric rise in rank as he was promoted from major to lieutenant colonel in May 1917, then to colonel (November 1917), brigadier general (April 1918), and, in August 1918, to temporary major general—four grades in 16 months. He assumed successively larger commands—from regiment to brigade, division, and finally, corps.[5]

Hines commanded the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, from May to August 1918, during which time he received the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest decoration for valor in the United States Army, for "extraordinary heroism in action near Berzy-le-Sec, France, July 21, 1918."

On August 16, 1918, Hines assumed command of the 4th Division.[6] He commanded the division during the American operations at St. Mihiel and in the Meuse-Argonne until October 11, 1918.[1][6] Hines then took command of III Corps, leading it during the final engagements of the war and the occupation of Germany.

Post warEdit

Hines was promoted to permanent major general in March 1921. His post-war commands included the 5th Division, the 2nd Division and the VIII Corps Area.[1]

Oil painting of Hines

In December 1922, Hines was assigned as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, and became Chief of Staff of the United States Army on September 14, 1924.[3] His army biography states that as Chief of Staff, he "stressed the need for balance in funding and personnel for all parts of the permanent establishment, pointed up the effects of strength deficiencies upon Army capability to meet the provisions of the National Defense Act of 1920, and urged action on housing and promotions to promote personnel retention."[7]

On May 7, 1925 Hines dedicated the landing field at the Vancouver Barracks in Vancouver, Washington, to the memory of Lieutenant Alexander Pearson, Jr., who was killed on September 2, 1924 in Fairfield, Ohio while flying the Curtiss R-8 in preparation for the upcoming Pulitzer Trophy Race.[8]

In 1926, after completing his tour as Army Chief of Staff, Hines took command of the IX Corps Area in California, which he led until 1930. In 1930, Hines became commanding general of the Philippine Department.


Hines retired in May 1932.[3] He was promoted to the rank of full (4 star) general on the retired list by a Special Act of Congress on June 15, 1940.[9]

Hines died in Washington, D.C., at Walter Reed Army Medical Center at age 100. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[1] As of 2006, Hines is one of only two American generals to have celebrated their 100th birthdays, the other being James Van Fleet.

Family and legacyEdit

On May 5, 2000, the United States Postal Service issued the Distinguished Soldiers stamps in which Hines was honored.[5]

Hines' son, Colonel John L. Hines, Jr. (1905–1986), served in World War II with the 6th Armored Division, commanding the division's Combat Command A from November 1944 to March 1945. He was twice decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross and was severely wounded outside Frankfurt, Germany when an 88 mm antitank shell grazed his face.[10]

Dates of rankEdit

Note that the date indicated is the date of rank. In some cases, the promotion was accepted at a later date.[11]

Insignia Rank Component Date
No pin insignia in 1891 Second Lieutenant Regular Army June 12, 1891
  First Lieutenant Regular Army April 26, 1898
  Captain Regular Army December 5, 1900
  Major Regular Army May 23, 1912
  Lieutenant Colonel Regular Army May 15, 1917
  Colonel Temporary August 5, 1917
  Brigadier General National Army April 12, 1918
  Major General National Army August 8, 1918
  Brigadier General Regular Army November 30, 1918
  Major General Regular Army July 1, 1920
  Major General Retired list May 31, 1932
  General Retired list June 15, 1940

Awards and decorationsEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f GO 56 General Orders No. 56 HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY. Secretary of the Army. 2010-05-24. URL: Accessed: 2010-05-24. (Archived by WebCite at
  2. ^ Christian Albert Bach; Henry Noble Hall (1920). The Fourth Division: Its Services and Achievements in the World War. Garden City, NY: Country Life Press. p. 128. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  3. ^ a b c Tucker, Spencer (2009). The Encyclopedia of the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars. New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN 1-85109-951-4.
  4. ^ West Virginia history, Volume 38,West Virginia. Dept. of Archives and History, 1976, p. 227
  5. ^ a b United States Postal Service – USA Philatelic. Distinguished Soldiers (2000). Beyond the Perf – Issue 12. 2010-05-24. URL: Accessed: 2010-05-24. (Archived by WebCite at
  6. ^ a b Christian Albert Bach; Henry Noble Hall (1920). The Fourth Division: Its Services and Achievements in the World War. Garden City, NY: Country Life Press. p. 281. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  7. ^ Bell, William Gardner (2005). "John Leonard Hines". Commanding Generals and Chiefs of Staff: Portraits and Biographical Sketchs. United States Army Center of Military History. pp. 116–117.
  8. ^ Alley, William (2006). Pearson Field. New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN 0-7385-3129-4.
  9. ^ Davis, Jr., Henry Blaine (1998). Generals in Khaki. Raleigh, NC: Pentland Press, Inc. p. 181. ISBN 1571970886.
  10. ^ George Smith Patton; Paul Donal Harkins (May 8, 1995). War as I knew it. Mariner Books. p. 275. ISBN 0-395-73529-7.
  11. ^ Official Army Register. January 1, 1941. The Office of the Adjutant General. Washington, D.C. 1941. pg. 1084.
  12. ^ a b c "Valor awards for John Leonard Hines , Sr".

External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by
John J. Pershing
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Succeeded by
Charles P. Summerall