Duncan Kennedy Major, Jr., a native of New York City, was born in 1876 and received his appointment to West Point from his home state. He graduated from the United States Muilitary Academy in 1899.
Major’s first assignment was in the Philippines with the 14th Infantry. After a year, he joined many of his classmates in China to suppress the Boxer Rebellion and then returned to the Philippines.
In 1905, he attended the Infantry and Cavalry School and was retained as an instructor. Major also was assigned as the Assistant Military Attaché in Paris and with the maneuver division on the Mexican border before WWI. During WWI, he was the Chief of Staff of the 26th Division, for which he received the Distinguished Service Medal.
His next assignments were as an instructor at Ft. Leavenworth, an aide to General Pershing, a member of the War Department General Staff, and the Chief of Staff of the IV Corps Area. In 1929, he commanded the 29th Infantry, which, at that time, was the only full-strength regiment in the Army. His success led him to another assignment with the War Department on the General Staff and, in 1935, as a general officer at the School of the Line.
In 1936, he commanded the Infantry brigade in Hawaii, and his final assignment was in San Francisco as the commander of the Port of Embarkation. Brigadier General Major retired in 1940 and lived in Virginia until his death on 26 May 1947 at the age of 71. He was buried with full military honors in Section 2 of Arlington National Cemetery.
His wife, Ruth Barkley Major (1893-1994), is buried with him.
GENERAL D. K. MAJOR, JR. VETERAN OF 3 WARS
WASHINGTON, May 27, 1947 – Brigadier General Duncan K. Major, Jr., a veteran of the Boxer Rebellion, the Philippine Insurrection and the first World War and former commanding general of the San Francisco Port of Embarkation, died last night at the age of 71.
A graduate of West Point in 1899, General Major served as an aide to General John J. Pershing in 1923.
In the closing months of the first World War, General Major was Chief of Staff of the Twenty-sixth Division (New England National Guard) in France. He took part in the Champagne-Marne defensive and the Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensives. In 1919 he was deputy Chief, then Chief, of the American Embarkation Ceneter at Le Mans, France. His posts after his return included that of Chief of Staff of the Fourth Corps Area, 1926-30. He held the D.S.M. and the Purple Heart.
MAJOR, DUNCAN K JR
- BRIG/GEN USAR
- VETERAN SERVICE DATES: Unknown
- DATE OF BIRTH: 04/02/1876
- DATE OF DEATH: 05/26/1947
- DATE OF INTERMENT: 05/28/1947
- BURIED AT: SECTION 2 SITE A E-129
- ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard