Alexander Russell Bolling – Lieutenant General, United States Army


Figured in Army-McCarthy Hearings – In 2 Wars

COCO BEACH, Florida, June 3, 1964 – Lieutenant General Alexander R. Bolling, former Chief of Army Intelligence, who became a controversial figure during the Army-McCarthy hearings, died today at the Patrick Air Force Base Hospital.  He was 68 years old.

General Bolling ended his 38-year Army career in 1955 as commander of the Third Army.  Later he became an executive of the Carling Brewing Company.  He retired from that post in 1960.

He is survived by his widow, the former Mary Josephine Moyer; a son, Lieutenant Colonel A. R. Bolling, Jr.; and two daughters, Josephine, wife of Brigadier General Roderick Wetherill, and Barbara, wife of Lieutenant Colonel Clarence L. Thomas, USA, retired.

While General Bolling was head of Army Intelligence, a “secret” government document turn up, presented by the late Senator Joseph R. McCarthy at a hearing of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

The Wisconsin Republican was involved in a dispute with the Army in 1954.  When the Senator offered in testimony a “letter” from J. Edgar Hoover, head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to General Bolling, there was uproar about a breech of security, since the “letter” was clearly marked “secret.”

According to Senator McCarthy, the “letter” proved that the Army had disregarded FBI security warning about various civilian employees at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. Senator McCarthy said he had received the “letter” from a young Army Intelligence officer.

Later testimony tended to show that the FBI “letter” was a part of a 15-page FBI secret document.

Attorney General Herbert Brownell, also a Republican, later riled that Senator McCarthy had not been entitled to have a copy of the report and that anyone involved in the dissemination of the document could be prosecuted.

The Senate later censured Senator McCarthy.  The contents of the report were never disclosed.

As Intelligence Chief, General Bolling was involved in a number of security cases.  In 1952, General Robert W. Grow, then attached to the United States Embassy in Moscow, was convicted by an Army court-martial of improperly keeping a diary while serving in a maximum security area.

The trial had stemmed from the supposed theft of the diary by a Soviet agent, and it was charged that General Grow’s personal comments had been a security risk.

After the incident, General Bolling called for the reinstatement of wartime regulations against high-ranking officers’ maintaining diaries.  However, he also praised General Grow and defended the policy of selecting high officers with excellent combat records to serve in diplomatic posts around the world.

General Bolling, who was born in Philadelphia, entered the Army in 1917 as a Reserve Lieutenant.  He served with the Fourth Infantry Regiment during five campaigns in France and won the Distinguished Service Cross for heroism.

In later campaigns he also won the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf cluster, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

During World War II, General Bolling commanded the 84th Infantry Division – known as the Railsplitters because of its Illinois background – and directed its operations from the Siegfried Line to the Elbe River.  He often appeared at division reunions and spoke rousingly of its victories.

After the war, the General was transferred to staff duty at the Pentagon and soon rose to Assistant Chief of Staff G-2 (Intelligence).


  • Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army
  • Home: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 4th Infantry Regiment, 3d Division, A.E.F.
  • Date of Action: July 14 – 15, 1918
  • General Orders No. 32, W.D., 1919


The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Alexander R. Bolling, Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action in Bois-de-Nesles, France, July 14 – 15, 1918.

While in command of three widely separated platoons in the Bois-de-Nesles, on the night of July 14-15, Lieutenant Boiling continually exposed himself to very heavy gas and shell fire by going from one platoon to another.



  • DATE OF BIRTH: 08/28/1895
  • DATE OF DEATH: 06/03/1964


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 05/23/1884
  • DATE OF DEATH: 08/23/1987

NOTE: His son, Alexander Russell Bolling, Jr., also went on to become an Army General.  His father, Robert H. Bolling, Major, United States Army, is also buried in Arlington National Cemtetery.

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