General, United States Army
January 26, 1881 at Flatlow, West Prussia (now Zlotow, Poland), he came
to the United States with his family at the age of eight.
In 1898 he enlisted for volunteer service in the Spanish-American War, and in 1899, having served in Cuba, he enlisted as a Private in the Regular Army. While serving in the Philippines with the Infantry, he was advanced to the rank of Sergeant and in 1901 was commissioned Second Lieutenant, 30th Infantry.
He returned to the U.S. in 1903, graduated from the Infantry-Cavalry School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1906 and from the General Staff College there in 1907. After a second tour in the Philippines, he was assigned to various routine duties. In 1916, he took part in the Mexican Punitive Expedition under General John J. Pershing. He went to France in February 1918 and served as Assistant Chief of Staff of the 26th Division, later with the 84th Division and as Assistant Chief of Staff with the Tank Corps, and then as Assistant Chief of Staff of VI and IV Corps in occupation duty following World War I, advancing to the rank of temporary Colonel.
After periods at the Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia, and in command of the 55th Infantry at Camp Funston, Kansas, he attended the Army War College, graduating in 1921 and remaining for a year as an instructor. In 1922-25, he was in the War Plans Division of the General Staff. He graduated from the Naval War College in 1926 and from 1928 to 1932 taught there.
He commanded the 6th Infantry at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, for two years and then returned to the War Plans Division, becoming Chief of the Division in May 1936 and receiving promption to temporary Brigadier General in October. In June 1938 he went to Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, as commander of the 16th Infantry Brigade. He was promoted to temporary Major General in February 1939, then commanded the 2nd Division at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, rising in October to the command of VIII Corps.
In May 1941 he was promoted to temporary Lieutenant General in command of the 3rd Army and the Southern Defense Command. A month after the activation of the 6th Army in January 1943, he took command, making his headquarters in Australia. He remained in command of the 6th Army, which included in various combinations at different times I, X, XIV and XXIV Corps, throughout its combat period. The operations of the 6th Army included those on Kiriwina and Woodlark Islands, July 1943; New Britain, December 1943-February 1944; Admiralty Islands, February-May 1944; New Guinea, July-August 1944; Morotai, September-October 1944; Leyte and Mindoro, Philippines, October-December 1944; and Luzon, January-February 1945. In September 1945, the 6th Army took up occupation duty at Honshu, Japan. In January 1946 it was deactivated.
Promoted to temporary General in March 1945, he reverted to Lieutenant general in January 1946, but retired as a full General in July 1946. Not only was he an expert on discipline and training, but was also noted as an historian and scholar of military affairs. He published translations of several classic German tests and in 1953 published "From Down Under To Nippon: The Story of the 6th Army In World War II."
He died at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, August
20, 1967 and was buried in Section 30 of Arlington National Cemetery among
a number of family members.
February 16, 2004
BROWNWOOD — By the end of the year, Krueger Hill in Brownwood may be no more — at least not as an address recognized by the U.S. Postal Service.
Krueger Hill, named for Gen. Walter Krueger, was once part of Camp Bowie, a sprawling World War II U.S. Army camp south of Brownwood. Now it is home only to 87-year-old Blanche Johnson.
Mail addressed to Johnson at "Krueger Hill, Brownwood, Texas" has found its way to her for 44 years, but the post office has notified her that the address is changing to the less historic, but more specific, 4630 Highway 377 S. in November.
The change is being made to conform with 9-1-1 addresses that make it easier for emergency personnel to find a residence or business.
Johnson wants to keep it for its historical significance.
Krueger came to Camp Bowie to command the 8th Army Corps. He was the first commander stationed at the headquarters on Krueger Hill, built in 1941 overlooking the camp. The home where Johnson now lives was built on the hill in 1948, two years after the camp was declared surplus. The headquarters is no longer there.
Krueger Hill was a secure location where then-Maj. Gen. Krueger lived and worked. The gated rock entrance is adorned with two stars, signifying the major general rank. In 1943, Krueger went to command the 6th Army in the Pacific, under Gen. Douglas MacArthur. A year later, Krueger’s son, Col. Walter Krueger Jr., commanded the 1162nd Combat Group at Camp Bowie.
Nowadays, Kohler and 3M, two of Brownwood’s largest industrial manufacturers, sit at the base of the hill.
When Johnson and her late husband, J. Edward Johnson, bought the home and 50 acres surrounding it in 1960, they fell in love with the view and the flora and fauna of the hill, and they relished its history.
Evidence of Camp Bowie lingers on the hill where 33 officers and 24 enlisted men lived. Several artifacts remain — the tennis and basketball court formerly used by the officers; dozens of rock steps constructed by Germans who were prisoners of war; and a huge concrete vault that held the pay for as many as 60,000 servicemen.
"My husband was very interested in history," Johnson said. "So he wrote Gen. Krueger a letter to tell him we lived there and invited him to Brownwood."
J. Edward Johnson framed the general’s reply, dated April 17, 1961: "I am grateful for your gracious invitation to visit you and to have addressed the civic clubs of Brownwood."
Krueger, who retired in 1946 as a full general, however, didn’t accept the invitation. He died in 1967 at age 86. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Johnson has news clippings in which MacArthur lauded Krueger as one of the greatest generals in American history.
In a ceremony in 1946, MacArthur was quoted as saying: "When the final pages of history are written, Walter Krueger will go down as the ablest Army commander of the war. You have been a peerless soldier, you have been a great leader and you have been a great friend."
Johnson says she wants to continue to honor Krueger by keeping his name on her address.
"His home for a season, Krueger Hill, that
played a significant role in the Army’s mission during World War II, should
never be forgotten," she said.
Photo courtesy of the
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 28 June 2003