Two Acting Quartermasters Generaland their Assistant
By MAJOR ROY A. SHAW, Hon.- USAR
DURING 175th anniversary celebrations of the past year at Quartermaster installations and Quartermaster Association meetings throughout the world, many speeches were made and much was written honoring an organization whose beginning antedates the birth of the Republic, and those who have served as Quartermaster General of the Army.
Though Quartermaster Corps history is replete with outstanding achievements of, and under, many Quartermasters General, some of the brightest pages record achievements by and under Maj. Gen. George W. Goethals and Brig. Gen. Robert E. Wood (who served as Acting Quartermaster General during the most crucial period of World War I), and Robert J. Thorne, Assistant to the Acting Quartermaster General under both.
Even a digest of these achievements by a qualified historian, with access to complete official records, would fill a large volume; here I will attempt to present only a few personal notes, an outline of Corps organization and functions from April 6th to mid December 1917, and the part played by General Goethals, General Wood, and Mr. Thorne in Quartermaster Corps history.
General Goethals, world-renowned builder of the Panama Canal, retired in November 1916, but soon after General Pershing was designated overseas commander, on May 26, 1917, asked for assignment under him. General Goethals was then serving, at President Wilson 's request, as General Manager and Director of the Emergency Fleet Corporation, and was not recalled to active duty until December, when to his surprise, he was asked to accept appointment as Acting Quartermaster General. The appointment was made December 19th, and reaction at home and overseas is illustrated by a message he is said to have received from former President Theodore Roosevelt: "I congratulate you, and thrice over I congratulate the country."
Training and experience preeminently qualified him for the task. After almost four years at City College, New York, which he entered at the age of fifteen, he was appointed to the U. S. Military Academy and graduated Cadet Captain, in 1880, without a single demerit-a record said to have been made by General Robert E. Lee and but few others. Commissioned second lieutenant, Corps of Engineers, he remained at the Academy as an assistant instructor until October when he became a student officer at what is now Fort Totten. Next were assignments to Vancouver Barracks where he served under General Nelson A. Miles and was selected by the then General of the Army, William Tecumseh Sherman, to accompany him on an inspection of posts in the Northwest; duty as assistant in charge of Ohio River improvements, and as assistant professor in civil and military engineering at West Point; duty on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers in construction of locks and dams, during which period he was promoted to first lieutenant, captain, and engineer-in-charge; duty as Assistant to the Chief of Engineers in Washington; service during the War with Spain in Cuba and Puerto Rico as temporary lieutenant colonel; as instructor in Practical Engineering at West Point; and, in 1900, as commander of the U. S. Engineer Department District of New York.
He was a member of the first permanent Army General Staff, established in 1903, (other members were Captains John J. Pershing and Peyton C. March, personnel of the War College), and served as secretary of the National Coast Defense Board, accompanying Secretary of War Taft on tours of inspection of fortifications on the Atlantic and Pacific, usually on ships of the Navy. In 1905, then a lieutenant colonel and still a member of the General Staff, he made a tour of inspection of the Panama Canal Zone, which led to appointment, in 1907, as Chief Engineer in charge of construction, Chairman of the Isthmian Canal Commission, and, in 1909, promotion to the rank of colonel. From January 1914 to September 1916 he was Governor of the Panama Canal, and shortly after appointment, on March 4th, was voted the thanks of Congress and promoted from colonel to major general.
The problems of supply-requirements, procurement, storage and distribution, transportation on land and water, personnel, and organization-were not new to General Goethals.
When the United States entered World War I, on April 6, 1917, the Office of The Quartermaster General consisted of five divisions: Administrative, Finance & Accounting, Construction & Repair, Transportation, and Supplies. Under the Administrative Division was a branch called Estimates, Reserve Depot & National Defense Branch, which controlled administration of general supply depots and apportionment of appropriated funds. The functions of the Office of The Quartermaster General were largely administration and management of personnel. The operating units were in the field: Department Quartermasters, attached to the staff of Department Commanders, and depot, camp. post, and other subsidiary Quartermasters. The Department Quartermasters were responsible for supply of troops within their Departments and controlled all requisitions and estimates from subsidiary Quartermasters. The depot Quartermasters, on the other hand, procured and stored supplies, and issued them or requisition from Department Quartermasters. Although the depots had a prescribed form of organization and procedure, modeled after the Office of The Quartermaster General, they varied in characteristics and acted independently of one another. Few purchases were made by Office of The Quartermaster General personnel, and there were few records in Washington of purchases made in the field.
One Corps historian refers to this set-up, which dated back to a consolidation of the Paymaster, Commissary, and Quartermaster Departments in 1912, as "'a sort of centralized decentralization." The Corps' chief duties were to clothe, equip, feed, and pay the Army. It also served as a catch-all for such duties as were not specifically assigned to other independent Corps or Departments - Engineers, Signal, Ordnance, Medical-reporting direct to the Secretary of War.
Adequate though this set-up seems to have been up to April 1917, the story from there on was quite different, and the following eight months saw many changes - among them removal, wholly or in part, of purchase functions to the Council of National Defense and the Food Administration and removal of cantonment construction to what became known as the Construction Division, reporting direct to the Secretary of War and eliminating the Construction & Repair Division. Transportation was taken over by a separate embarkation service, which consolidated with a General Staff division, first known as the Storage & Traffic Service, and was probably the beginning of what is sometimes referred to as "the period of Staff supervision."
When an official and factual history of the Quartermaster Corps in World War I is written, and the reasons for these many changes-which were, to put it mildly, demoralizing-are thoroughly explored, the writers will not, it is assumed, overlook the facts that, for several years, Congress had appropriated less than was requested, and needed, to build up reserve stocks; that, early in March 1917, the Chief of Staff had been informed that National Guard mobilization for service on the Mexican border had practically exhausted reserve stocks; that, as late as the fall of 1917, there was no fixed Army program, and that no approved strength tables, which could be used as a basis for requirement figures and procurement, were furnished the Office of The Quartermaster General during 1917.
Chiefly as a result of criticism from overseas, a Congressional investigation was under way when General Goethals was asked to accept appointment as Acting Quartermaster General, and he did so only after Secretary of War Baker had assured him full authority-and that he would not be interfered with. He took over on December 26th., and a few days later was appointed Director of the Storage & Traffic Service, which again brought all Quartermaster functions, except cantonment construction (which he did not want) under one head.
With loss of functions the Quartermaster Corps had suffered a loss of personnel - commissioned, enlisted, and civilian-and organization was the first problem demanding attention. Believing the Army's business could best be handled by businessmen, he filled gaps and built with and around a number of highly trained executives and specialists in fields parallel to Quartermaster activities. Some of these men were commissioned-the rank of major was the highest authorized. Some, by special authorization of the Secretary of War, were paid salaries (barely large enough for expenses), and some were dollar-a-year-men, most of whom never collected the dollar.
One of the latter, and one of the first to volunteer, was Robert J. Thorne, a graduate of Cornell University, class of 1897, who forged his way first to management of a branch house and then to presidency of one of the country's two largest mail-order and merchandising companies. He had just the organizing, requirements, purchasing, warehousing, and distribution experience necessary to deal with the existing Quartermaster problems, and was destined for a role in Quartermaster Corps history never before, or since, played by a civilian.
Determination of the actual supply situation was necessary before coordination and efficient functioning of the Office of The Quartermaster General and field service could be accomplished, and this task was assigned to Mr. Thorne, as Director of Maintenance & Distribution. His chief assistants were a group of young officers and civilians, with business experience and inquiring minds, who had gone into the Office of The Quartermaster General during and following an investigation made only a few weeks before by outside storage and distribution experts and who had been assigned to handle overseas cables, calculate requirements, coordinate depot and storage facilities, and figure raw material requirements and tonnage space for overseas shipments.
This group, which on its own initiative had been going over all overseas cables and checking orders against shipments, brought into being the then new concept of requirements, based on numerical strength, basic data tables of fundamental allowances, and expected life of equipment. Largely on the basis of their findings and recommendations, functioning reorganization was under way by mid-January 1918 a fete considered little less than miraculous by those with first-hand knowledge.
By January 26th, purchasing had been taken away from outside agencies, and under Office Order No.202 the organization was divided into two classes: first, service bureaus, as they were then called, which handled General Administration (of which Finance & Accounting was a branch), Personnel & Planning, and Quartermaster Supply Control; second, operating divisions, which included Supply & Equipment, Subsistence (which notwithstanding inadequate information and other handicaps had operated efficiently from the beginning of the war), Reclamation, Fuel & Forage, Remount, and Motors. All of these bureaus and divisions worked so closely with the Storage & Traffic Service of the General Staff that they were practically one.
Hoping to obtain more information as to contemplated draft calls and overseas troop movements, General Goethals and Mr. Thorne made it a point to improve liaison with the General Staff and outside agencies during these weeks, but the results were so disappointing that they arbitrarily increased orders for practically all items, particularly clothing. Not until February 26th-almost eleven months after our entry into the war--was the first approved strength table issued by the Chief of Staff. This table covered the period from March 1st to December 1st, 1918, and showed the number of men to be drafted each month, forces in the United States, overseas troop movements, and total number in the A.E.F.
A big step forward had been made, but General Goethals and Mr. Thorne believed the figures too low and changed them to provide initial equipment for draftees seven or eight months before they were to be called. That their judgment was sound is evidenced by the fact that the strength table of February 26th called for 967,000 in the United States and 1,150,000 in the A.E.F.-slightly over 2,100,000, by October 31st-and the total on November 11, 1918, was approximately 4,000,000, of whom more than 2,000,000 were overseas.
From General Goethals down, practically every one was on the job from early morning to late at night, seven days a week, by this time, and more trained executives and specialists were urgently needed. To obtain them, appeals were made through those then in the organization, and direct. The following telegram is typical of the latter: "You are needed for important work Quartermaster Corps. Can you come to Washington at once to talk it over with us!"
The next few weeks saw changes and developments of utmost importance to the Quartermaster Corps and the Army as a whole. Reorganization of the General Staff had been under way since early February, and on March 4th, General Peyton C. March, who had been Chief of Artillery, A.E.F., and had first-hand knowledge of needs overseas, became Chief of Staff. March 2nd-two days before Robert J. Thorne, who had been General Goethals' chief assistant since early January, was officially designated Assistant to the Acting Quartermaster General. The order, under which he is said to have been given more "direct power" than any civilian connected with the War Department other than Secretary Baker and Assistant Secretaries Crowell and Stettinius, reads in part:
"…will have the administration and control of such matters pertaining to the Quartermaster General's office and the Quartermaster Corps as may be delegated to him from time to time by the Acting Quartermaster General. Instructions and orders given by Mr. Thorne in the operation of his duties as Assistant to the Acting Quartermaster General will have the force and effect as if performed by the Acting Quartermaster General in person."
About the middle of March the first consolidated requisition for Quartermaster supplies, even including such items as office supplies, was received from overseas, and a further reorganization of the Office of The Quartermaster General was launched. The new set-up, which, with few exceptions and changes of division and branch names, was to function until the signing of the Armistice, is outlined on a chart, dated March 21, 1918, headed Key Chart-General Organization of the Quartermaster Corps. As under Office Order No.202, there were two classes all designated Divisions. The Service Divisions "performing administrative, planning, or other functions . . . to assist the The Quartermaster General, and the several operating divisions . . . in the performance of their duties were Administrative, Personnel, Finance & Accounts, Methods Control, and Supply Control. The Supply Control Division, which had Requirements' and Distribution branches, prepared data showing quantities of Quartermaster supplies of each kind for "the Army as a whole" to be distributed for equipment, maintenance, and reserve stocks ; obtained space required for movement of supplies by rail and water; issued purchase authorizations, subject to approval by the Acting Quartermaster General or the Assistant to the Acting Quartermaster General, to procurement divisions; controlled distribution of supplies, maintained reserve stocks, and cooperated with procurement and depot divisions, and the General Staff, in movement of supplies to ports of embarkation. The Chief of Supply Control Division served as representative of the Office of The Quartermaster General on "priority of war materials" to the Council of National Defense and the War Industries Board.
The Operating Divisions, which had to do directly with the procurement, production, and distribution of Quartermaster supplies, were Supply & Equipment, Subsistence, Fuel & Forage, Remount, Motor Transport, and Depot. All of these divisions were sub-divided into branches and had units and personnel in the field.
Not until a month later, in Office Order No.376, April 16, 1918, were the functions of each division and branch specifically set forth and the personnel in charge officially designated. This was also the date on which the Purchase, Storage, & Traffic Division of the General Staff came into being, with General Goethals as Director and Assistant Chief of Staff. This, in the months to come, took control and supervision of purchasing by the Army as a whole (having as a chief objective the consolidation of purchasing in the corps or department already purchasing most of a particular supply item) and of storage and land and water transportation, and had much to do with later Quartermaster Corps developments. Its creation was the result of protests by General Goethals, dating from almost his first day as Acting Quartermaster General, to the effect that, though coordination in the handling of Army supply problems had been a major objective when the General Staff was created in 1903, coordination was practically non-existent. The Quartermaster Corps, Corps of Engineers, Ordnance Department, Signal Corps, and Medical Department were not only competing for many items-from office supplies to clothing, hardware, harness, and trucks - but each was furnishing supplies from factory to storage or ports without arrangement for storage or overseas shipment, wasting manpower, hard-to-get materials, and money, and idling scarce freight cars. General Goethals had been endeavoring to remedy this situation but little progress was made until General March became Chief of Staff.
As Director of Purchase, Storage, & Traffic, General Goethals was in the anomalous position of giving orders to himself as Acting Quartermaster General, but this was to last less than two weeks. His chosen successor as Acting Quartermaster General, Brig. Gen. Robert E. Wood, had been brought back from overseas with first-hand knowledge of needs there, and was quietly familiarizing himself with the situation at home. The first published announcement that he had been appointed, and had "assumed the duties of Acting Quartermaster General of the Army" is believed to have appeared in a Washington newspaper on Sunday morning, April 28th.
Graduating, in 1900, from the U.S. Military Academy-where Captain Goethals had been his instructor in practical military engineering-Wood was commissioned second lieutenant of Cavalry and was sent almost immediately to the Philippines, where he participated in some of the toughest field service during the insurrection. Next he was assigned to Fort Assiniboin, Montana (1902-3); then as instructor at West Point (1903-5). He served during the construction of the Panama Canal, from 1905 to 1915, as Assistant Chief Quartermaster, Chief Quartermaster, and Director of the Panama Railroad Company. In July 1915 he retired, as major, by special act of Congress, and became assistant to the president of a nationally known corporation. After brief service in early 1917 as Purchasing Agent of the Emergency Fleet Corporation, under General Goethals, he went overseas as a lieutenant colonel of Infantry in the 42nd (Rainbow) Division, was promoted to colonel, and, on return to the United States, to brigadier general.
When General Wood took over as Acting Quartermaster General he was only thirty-nine years of age, but if any questioned the wisdom of the appointment they soon learned that the Corps had never had a clearer-thinking or more dynamic leader. Mr. Thorne, then only forty-three, continued as Assistant to the Acting Quartermaster General.
It has been said that, "the period of Staff supervision" continued during the time General Goethals and General Wood served as Acting Quartermaster General, and that the Quartermaster Corps had actually been "absorbed" in special divisions of the General Staff. There was "Staff supervision" after General March, a great soldier and executive, became Chief of Staff, for then, and only then, the General Staff began to function as originally intended. If "absorbed", the personnel of the Corps, from top to bottom, was blissfully ignorant of the fact. An illustration is action by General Wood when presented with a General Staff plan and a Quartermaster plan for establishment of the Army's first training school for technicians in the then new art of autogenous welding and cutting of metals. He told the Quartermaster officers who had been studying the subject that if they did not like the General Staff plan to go ahead with their own-and they did.
During these months many changes had been made, or were under way, in the field. Among them were a closer tie-in with Washington; functional changes; expansion of storage facilities by enlargement and new construction. An early move of great importance was establishment, under the Clothing & Equipage Division, of a Quartermaster office in Boston, with branches in Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, and Portland, Oregon, authorized to control all raw wool in the country. Another was the partial elimination of Department Quartermasters, and, in March, the placing of Depot Quartermasters in full charge of all Quartermaster work of supply depots.
Control of purchases and distribution had, of necessity, been centralized, but knowing that purchasing too rigidly centered left undeveloped many of the country’s resources, General Goethals, Mr. Thorne, and certain qualified personnel in the Office of The Quartermaster General and in the field had been studying, and experimenting with, enlargement authority and responsibility of selected general supply Depot Quartermasters.
General Wood participated in the later stages of this study, and one of his earliest and most far reaching decisions brought into being the "zone system." The general plan was first outlined by him at a conference in Mr. Thorne's office, on May 8th, with Depot Quartermasters from New York, San Francisco, St. Louis, Atlanta, Jeffersonville, Chicago, and Philadelphia, and with the chiefs of the Supply Control and Depot Divisions. This was followed, on May 13th, by a memorandum to all field supply depots and all divisions of the Office of The Quartermaster General, defining functions and assigning zones of jurisdiction to certain general supply depots, as, for instance, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine; and Rhode Island to the Boston Depot. Each Depot Quartermaster was instructed to ascertain production facilities within his zone, recommend to the Office of The Quartermaster General qualified producers, submit recommendations for purchase, and be prepared to purchase when so directed. His responsibilities included inspection, follow-up of production, and acceptance of product. Depot Quartermasters were also instructed to divide their zone functions, when possible, among their sub-depots. As in the case of wool purchases, this memorandum also initiated the policy of establishing offices in the centers of production. The Packing House Products Branch of the Subsistence Division and the Forage Branch of the Fuel & Forage Division were moved from Washington to Chicago, and the Cotton Goods Branch of the Clothing & Equipage Division established a procurement office in New York. Not included were Remount and or Transport, which had, or were establishing, their own zones of operation. A result of this decision was the fact that the Quartermaster Corps became a direct service for quartermaster supplies, and the relations of 1917, and before, between supply and military departments ended.
If planned months before, General Wood's decision and memorandum of May 13th could not have been more timely. The so-called "Overman Act" (an out-growth of the Congressional investigations started in December `917), approved seven days later by the President, authorized, among other organizational and procedural changes, effective until six months after termination of the emergency, what became known as the "interbureau procurement system," and was to make the Quartermaster Corps the most important War Department purchasing agency.
Though some time passed before all reorganization steps and changes undertaken between December 1917 and mid-May 1918 became fully effective, and others - chiefly rearrangements and reshuffling-were still in the offing, achievements were such that on May 9th a "Pershing cable" requested, for the first time, a cut in requisitions for clothing, and, at home, inductees, troops in training, and those embarking for overseas were being adequately equipped. The following months saw even greater achievements.
In July General Wood sent a liaison mission to France and England "for the purpose of gathering first-hand information relative to work of the Quartermaster Corps, with a view to obtaining more expert knowledge of the needs of our Army and establishing closer cooperation between the Quartermaster Corps abroad and in Washington." This mission, consisting of six officers, representing every division in the Office of The Quartermaster General, from Personnel and Finance & Accounts to recently created Hardware & Metals, made an intensive two-month study, ranging from the condition of supplies on board ship before unloading at docks, and dock facilities, to the condition of supplies when delivered to troops in the trenches, and, individually or collectively, reported their findings to, and obtained recommendations from, General Pershing; General Harbord, Chief of the S.O.S.; General Rogers, Chief Quartermaster, A.E.F.; General Dawes (then Colonel), Chief Purchasing Agent, A.E.F.; and those under them at their headquarters and in the field. Complaints were few, compliments were many, and every member of the mission, from its chief, who had been a long time Regular Army Cavalry officer, down, was proud of his Quartermaster insignia.
In the meanwhile, at a meeting of Quartermaster personnel in Washington, on August 8th, Secretary of War Baker, in referring to General Wood, said:
"How fortunate this great army is to have so good and able a provider. Indeed, when the history of this war comes to he written, there will he chapters which have, up to now, almost escaped ......... Today, I had a letter from General Pershing in which he was commenting upon the perfection of supplies on the other side...."
France and England were not the only overseas destinations for Quartermaster supplies. Among others were Italy, Hawaii, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, China, Russia, and Siberia. In a talk General Wood made at this meeting he mentioned that:
"... to handle this task, there are now in the Quartermaster Corps over eight thousand officers, one hundred and fifty-five thousand enlisted men, and sixty-five thousand civilian employees, and that number is being increased all the time to keep pace with the wants of our constantly increasing Army."
One of the first major changes following initiation of the "zone system" and approval of the Overman Act was separation (though it did not last long) of Motor Transport from the Quartermaster Corps and establishment of the Motor Transport Corps, on August 15th, as an independent unit. Motor Transport had not only established its own zones of operation but had consolidated the purchase, maintenance, and repair of all motor-propelled Army vehicles except tanks, caterpillars, and artillery tractors, which were a function of Ordnance. Motor Transport also had technical supervision of all motor-driven vehicles of the various departments.
The most important, and last, organizational change was creation of the Purchase & Storage Division of the Purchase, Storage, & Traffic Division, which General Wood headed with the additional title of Director of Purchase & Storage, and of which Mr. Thorne became Assistant Director, while continuing as Assist ant to the Acting Quartermaster General. This was under the provisions of the Overman Act, which, in addition to interbureau procurement, authorized the expedient to consolidate bureaus, agencies, and offices, and make such redistribution of functions as seemed necessary. Authorization was made through the Chief of Staff on August 25th, and General Wood and Mr. Thorne assumed their additional titles and responsibilities as of September 12th. With few exceptions-one of them the transfer, on September 18th, of Requirements, which had been reorganized as a Division some weeks before, to Purchase & Storage, charged with the determination of requirements and preparation of purchase authorizations under control of both the Acting Quartermaster General and the Director of Purchase & Storage-it was largely a case of planning and preparation of directives for November 1st, which had been set as the effective date.
The why and wherefore’s of this change, which was a forerunner of much that has been accomplished under present-day unification, were summarized as follows by Mr. Thorne in a talk at Baltimore, where, with General Wood, he was guest of honor at a dinner given by officers of the organization of the Depot Quartermaster:
"The supply system of the Army has been in the observation ward of the authorities at Washington for many months, and it has gradually come about that supplies have been placed in two general classes: first, those supplies which require a great deal of special designing, experimental work, and heavy factory production, such as air-heavy Ordnance ammunition and explosives, and especially-designed construction projects for Engineers or the Construction Division; and, Class 2, all standard supplies whose design and specifications had been determined as satisfactory for military use. Under the new organization now being set up, the especially-designed class will remain with the present bureau which purchases these supplies, and all other supplies, embraced in Class 2, will he consolidated in the Division of Purchase, Storage, & Traffic, under General Goethals, Assistant Chief of Staff. Also, under the new organization, the storage and distribution of all supplies in Class 1 and Class 2 mentioned will be consolidated under General Goethals. The underlying reasons for these changes are to overcome the limitations of shipping, transportation, and storage facilities, and from the procurement side, the limitations of production, caused by shortage of labor and of raw material.
Though the Purchase & Storage Division of this new organization was built on, and around, the Quartermaster Corps as the Army’s largest supply service, and Quartermaster personnel predominated, supply officers and enlisted men of other corps and departments, who continued to wear their distinctive insignia, were numerous. As a writer put it in 1919, there are two ways of looking at this organizational change: "one, that the Staff created an entirely new unit into which the Quartermaster Corps was absorbed; the other, that the Quartermaster Corps continued the logical line of its development and was enlarged . . . Both viewpoints are true."
The effective date, November 1st, was only ten days before the Armistice, and the big job for months thereafter was largely one of requirements in reverse cancellation of orders and disposal of surplus property. Between November 11, 1918, and June 30, 1919 more than 2,608,000 enlisted men and 128,000 officers were discharged from the Army.
General Wood and Mr Thorne resigned as Acting Quartermaster General and Assistant to the Acting Quartermaster General, respectively, in February 1919. They were succeeded by Maj. Gen. H. L. Rogers, formerly Chief Quartermaster, A.E.F., as Quartermaster General and Director of Purchase & Storage, with Colonel C. P. Daly, who had been General Goethal’s executive officer, while the latter was Acting Quartermaster General, as his Assistant.
It is unlikely that any three men ever worked together more harmoniously than General Goethals, General Wood, and Mr. Thorne, or that any three men more sincerely respected one another’s opinions and the opinions of those who served under them. It was team-work at its best, and the writer has yet to learn of anyone privileged to serve under them who is not as proud as he himself is of having been a member of the "team."
For his World War I service General Goethals, who retired March 1, 1919-and whom General March called "a great engineer, a great soldier, and the greatest Chief of Supply produced by any nation in the World War "-was awarded our Distinguished Service Medal; was named Commander of the Legion of Honor by France and Honorary Knight Commander, by Great Britain; and was awarded the British Order of St. Michael & St. George and the Grand Cordon of the Order of Wen Hu by China. Previously he had been awarded many medals by scientific and geographic societies and some fifteen honorary degrees by universities and colleges.
General Wood was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal; named Knight of the Legion of Honor by France; and Companion, Order of St. Michael & St. George, by Great Britain. Though head of the other of "the country’s two largest mail-order and merchandising companies" (as he still is), General Wood undertook, at the request of General H. H. Arnold, two round-the-world missions for the Air Force during World War II, for which he was awarded the Legion of Merit.
"For especially meritorious service in reorganization of the service of supply" Mr. Thorne, one of the few civilians so honored, was Awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. When asked some years later the secret of his success in working with officers of the Regular Army, he replied, "the polo field," which recalled a British saying of World War I that their battles had been won on the fields of Eton and Harrow.
There may be present-day readers of The Quartermaster Review who do not know that officers who served under General Goethals, General Wood, Mr. Thorne gave life to the Society of Quartermaster Officers and were chiefly responsible for bringing into being its successor-the Quartermaster Association.
since 23 Sep 00