James Wilson Holsinger
Brigadier General; United States Army
a contemporary press report: February 24, 1994
Retired Brigadier General James Wilson Holsinger, whose 33-year Army career spanned two wars and included artillery and logistics commands in North Africa, Italy, Korea and Germany, died Tuesday, Februry 22, 1994, at his home in Durham, North Carolina. He was 88.
"His shoes were always the same size as my feet, but they always felt too big," said his son, Dr. James Wilson Holsinger Jr., who himself retired as a major general after a 32-year Army Reserve career.
A native of Kansas City, Kan., the elder General Holsinger began his military career in the ROTC program at Iowa State University, where he graduated with honors in 1927, his son said.
From the Depression until the outbreak of World War II, he was a camp commander with the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Dakotas, then went to England as a major with Gen. Mark Clark to help plan the invasion of North Africa.
General Holsinger served on the staff of General George S. Patton Jr. during the North African campaign and under General Omar Bradley during the Italian campaign. "He was a superb artillery officer and a superb logistician," Dr. Holsinger said.
Generals Bradley and Patton recommended General Holsinger for the Distinguished Service Medal because his efforts in logistics shortened the Italian campaign.
Although the decoration was denied, General Holsinger kept his sense of humor, a character trait that his son valued greatly. "What he really would have liked to have was the paper they both signed," said Dr. Holsinger, who headed the Veterans Affairs health-care system for three years during the Bush Administration. "He was a fun man to have as a father."
Among General Holsinger's foreign decorations
are the Italian Cross of Valor, the French Croix de Guerre and Medal of
Recognition. He also was named an Officer of the British Empire, his son
said. The U.S. Army awarded General Holsinger two
For service in Korea in the 1950s, General Holsinger received the Ulchi Distinguished Service Medal from South Korea.
During the the early stages of the Cold War, General Holsinger commanded almost 15,000 soldiers and officers and 80 percent of the U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in the former West Germany.
General Holsinger is survived by his wife of
nearly 60 years, Ruth Reitz Holsinger; his son, Dr. James W. Holsinger
Jr. of Lexington, Ky.; two daughters, Carolyn Holsinger Bennett of Virginia
Beach, Va., Gretchen Holsinger Sholar of Alexandria,
A memorial service will be held 3 p.m. Sunday
at Duke Memorial United Methodist Church. A Graveside service with full
military honors will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery.
Posted: 2 September 2000 Updated: 26 November 2000 Updated: 7 March 2003 Updated: 10 July 2007