William E. R. Covell

William Edward Raab Covell (29 November 1892 – 16 August 1975) was an officer in the U.S. Army from 1915 to 1940 and from 1941 to 1946. His highest rank held was major general.

William Edward Raab Covell
Born(1892-11-29)29 November 1892
Died16 August 1975(1975-08-16) (aged 82)
Fort Ord, California
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1915−
RankUS-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Service number0-3768
UnitUnited States Army Corps of Engineers
Commands heldDirector of Fuels and Lubricants
Services of Supply, China Burma India Theater
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II
AwardsDistinguished Service Medal
  1. Vera Henshaw
    (m. 1917; died 1948)
  2. Kathleen Fraley Geitner
    (m. 1951; died 1956)
  3. Elva McFarlin Van Meter
    (m. 1957)
RelationsBeverly Covell Ferguson, daughter

Early life and educationEdit

Covell was born on 29 November 1892 in Washington, D.C. On 14 June 1911, he began his studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He graduated first in his class of 164 on 12 June 1915 as a member of the class the stars fell on; his Cullum number is 5313.[1]



Covell was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers on 12 June 1915 upon graduating from the Military Academy. He served as an instructor in the Department of Tactics at the Academy in June and July 1915 before departing on his graduation leave.[1] In October 1915, he reported for company-level duty at Fort Shafter, Territory of Hawaii. While serving at Fort Shafter, Covell was promoted to first lieutenant, Corps of Engineers on 12 January 1916.

World War IEdit

Covell wrote "Military Roads on the Island of Oahu" while a lieutenant; the article was published in the November–December 1917 edition of Professional Memoirs.[2] He wed Vera Henshaw on 16 July 1917.[3] Covell was promoted to captain, Corps of Engineers on 31 July 1917.[1] He returned to the Continental United States in July 1917 and reported for duty with the Second Engineer Regiment at El Paso, Texas where he was temporarily promoted to major, Corps of Engineers on 5 August 1917.[1] Covell sailed to France with the Second Engineer Regiment and remained with that unit until 21 October 1917.[1]

Covell spent several months in school assignments: student officer at the 1st Corps Schools, Gondrecourt, France until 20 November 1917; instructor at the 1st Corps Schools until 19 January 1918; student officer at the British Royal Engineer School, Blendecques, France until 2 February 1918; student officer at the Army School of the Line, Langres, France until 1 May 1918; and Director, 1st Corps Engineer School, Gondrecourt, France until 21 July 1918.[1]

He was next assigned to the duty with the G3, Headquarters, 1st U.S. Army through the end of the war.[1]

Inter-war yearsEdit

On 14 November, Covell was promoted to lieutenant colonel of engineers, U. S. Army. He transferred to and commanded the 2nd Engineer Regiment at Neuwied, Germany (20 November 1918 – 3 May 1919).[4] Covell served as the district engineer of the Buffalo, New York, District in 1920 and 1921.[citation needed]

World War IIEdit

He served as Director of Fuels and Lubricants in the Office of Quartermaster General from 1943–1944. He commanded Services of Supply, China Burma India Theater from 1944–1945.

Later life, death, and legacyEdit

His papers are held by the Hoover Institution Library, Stanford University.[5]


His older brother Leon C. Covell served as the 2nd vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, retiring as a vice admiral after World War II.

His worksEdit

  • Covell, William E. R. (1917). Military Roads on the Island of Oahu. Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army, and Engineer Department-at-Large. OCLC 27281375.


  World War I Victory Medal[citation needed]
  Army of Occupation of Germany Medal[citation needed]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Cullem, George W. (1920). Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York Since its Establishment in 1802. Vol. VI–B. Saginaw, Michigan: Seeman & Peters. p. 1723. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  2. ^ Covell, William E. R. (November–December 1917). Professional Memoirs. Corps of Engineers, United States Army. pp. 643–656. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  3. ^ "Hawaiian Electronic Library". Hawaiian Genealogy Indexes. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  4. ^ Cullum, George W. (1930). Donaldson, William H. (ed.). Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York Since its Establishment in 1802. Vol. VII. Chicago, Illinois: R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company, The Lakeside Press. p. 1049. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  5. ^ Covell, William E. R. William E. R. Covell Papers. 1918. OCLC 754869725

External linksEdit