Withers Alexander Burress – Lieutenant General, United States Army

Withers Alexander Burress (1894-1977)

Born in Richmond, Virginia on November 24, 1894.

Graduated from VMI in 1914. Commissioned in the Infantry in 1916. Served with 23rd Infantry, 2nd Division in the American Expeditionary Force in World War I.

Instructor at the Infantry School 1920-1922. Graduated from Command and General Staff School in 1931, then instructor there until 1933. Graduated from the Army War College in 1935. Professor, then Commandant of Cadets at West Point 1935-1940. At the War Department General Staff 1940-1941.

Brigadier General in March 1942, Major General in August 1942. Commanding General of 100th Infantry Division 1942-1945. Commanding General of VI Corps 1945-1946.

Assignments after the war included Commanding General of the Infantry School 1948-1951, VII Corps 1951-1953 and First Army 1953-1954. Retired as Lieutenant General in November 1954. Decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit and two Bronze Stars.

Died on June 13, 1977.

Commanding General, 100th Infantry Division

A veteran of 30 years' service, Major General Withers A. Burress commanded the Century Division from activation until 22 September 1945, when he left the 100th to take command of the VI Corps.

Born in Richmond, Virginia, on 24 November 1894, General Burress matriculated in the Virginia Military Institute from which he graduated in 1914 with the degree of Bachelor of Science. He was commissioned in the Regular Army as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry on 30 November 1916.

With the advent of World War I, General Burress was assigned to the 23d Infantry Regiment, 2d Infantry Division, with which unit he served as assistant regimental operations officer. He participated in five major engagements: the Troyon Sector, Chateau Thierry, the Aisne-Marne Offensive, the Pont-a-Mousson Sector, and the St. Mihiel Offensive. He returned from France on 2 November 1919 with the permanent rank of Captain.

Between wars, General Burress occupied school and command posts throughout the United States, including his VMI alma mater where he was Professor of Military Science and Tactics. On 29 October 1941, he became Assistant Commandant of the Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia. He left this important post upon assignment to the Puerto Rican Department early in 1942.

General Burress guided the 100th through the difficult Vosges Mountains campaign; the initial assault on Bitche; the 100th's great winter defense before that Maginot bastion; the final capture of the Bitche fortress; the bitter, 9-day assault against Heilbronn, which resulted in the 100th's most brilliant victory; and the surge southward to Stuttgart.

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