GENERAL EDWARD CROFT, EX-INFANTRY CHIEF
Former Member of General Staff Was an Advocate of Fast Tanks – Dies at 62
Warner of Gas Increase
Believed Mustard Casualties Will Rise to 100 Percent Among Smaller Units
WASHINGTON, January 28, 1928 – Major General Edward Croft, former Chief of Infantry, died at his home in Greenville, South Carolina, this morning, the War Department was advised today. He would have been 63 years old on July 11.
A native of Greenville, General Croft graduated from South Carolina Military Academy, known as the Citadel, in 1896, and he immediately accepted a commission as Second Lieutenant in the Army.
Soon thereafter he was sent to duty in Puerto Rico, where he served briefly at Ponce and Ajuntas. After a brief tour in the United States in 1899 he was ordered to the Philippine Islands, where he served with distinction.
His promotions were gradual and e left command of the Tenth Infantry and Fort Thomas, Kentucky, on May 15, 1933 to become Chief of Infantry. He remained here until May 5, 1937.
As Chief of Infantry, General Croft served on a board appointed by General Douglas MacArthur in 1934 to study methods of modernizing training in the Army. In the movement to mechanize the military establishment he gave his support to the development of a new eight-ton tank capable of speeding sixty miles an hour.
With respect to chemical warfare General Croft belonged to the school that believed gases will be put to devastating use in a future great war. Addressing the Association of Military Surgeons early last year, he warned that while the future battlefield appeared bibulous, nevertheless certain trends indicated use of aircraft, mechanization and gas on “an unprecedented scale.”
“I believe you gentlemen are going to encounter two types of casualties in increasing numbers mustard cases and out-and-out burns. It should not be an uncommon occurrence to find mustard casualties soaring to the 100 percent mark in the smaller units.”
General Croft supported his statement by revealing that an experimental airplane attack, spraying an imitation of the blistering mustard gas, had been able to inflict on a battery of horse artillery simulated casualties of 82 percent on the horses. And this occurred in inclement weather while the battery was in extended order. On cavalry the figure was 90 percent.
General Croft was well known in New York military and civil circles, for he served jeer for two years as commander of the Sixteenth Infantry and of Fort Jay on Governors Island. He left that post on June 26, 1928, when he was appointed a member of the general staff in Washington.
While under his command the Sixteenth was chosen as the finesse combat regiment in the Army. In 1934, participating in a First Choose-A-Career Conference in Newark, General Croft joined several other business and professional leaders in a belief that the colleges were turning our too many graduates.
General Croft held a Silver Star Citation and the Purple Heart Medal. He served with the First and Seventy-Seventh Divisions during the World War. He was a graduated of the Army War College, the General Staff School, and the School of the Line and the Infantry-Cavalry School.
SERVICES FOR GENERAL CROFT
Rites at Arlington for Former Chief of Infantry
WASHINGTON, January 31, 1938 – Funeral services with full military honors were held today in Arlington National Cemetery for Major General Edward Croft, former Chief of Infantry, United States Army. Chaplain Ora J. Cohee of Fort Myer, Virginia, officiated.
Honorary pallbearers were Major General Harry L. Gilchrist, James T. Williams. Colonel Howard McSnyder, George Rothwell Brown, Colonel James B Wallnaugh and Lieutenant Colonel Rapp Brush.
- MAJOR GEN INF DC US ARMY RET
- DATE OF DEATH: 01/28/1938
- BURIED AT: SECTION 2 SITE 4941
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
CROFT, MARIBEL W W/O EDWARD
- DATE OF BIRTH: 02/11/1878
- DATE OF DEATH: 09/27/1969
- BURIED AT: SECTION 2 SITE 4941 NH
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
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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