Charles L. Bolte

Last updated
Charles L. Bolte
Charles L. Bolte.jpg
Born(1895-05-08)May 8, 1895
Chicago, Illinois, United States
DiedFebruary 11, 1989(1989-02-11) (aged 93)
Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Buried
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1916–1955
Rank General
Service number O-6908
Unit Infantry Branch
Commands held Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army
United States Army Europe
Seventh United States Army
69th Infantry Division
34th Infantry Division
3rd Battalion, 13th Infantry Regiment
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Purple Heart

General Charles Lawrence Bolte (May 8, 1895 – February 11, 1989) was a senior United States Army officer who fought in both World War I and World War II. In World War II he distinguished himself as commander of the 34th Infantry Division during the Italian Campaign, for which he was twice awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal. Later promoted to four-star general officer rank, his final post was Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army.

Contents

Early life and military career

Bolte graduated from what is today the Illinois Institute of Technology with a degree in chemical engineering. He began his military career in 1916, during World War I (although the United States was still officially neutral at this stage), when he earned a commission as a second lieutenant into the United States Army's Infantry Branch.

Two years later in 1918, after the American entry into World War I, which occurred on April 6, 1917, Bolte shipped off for the Western Front to reinforce the American Expeditionary Force under General John J. Pershing. Serving as a company commander in the 58th Infantry Regiment, part of the 4th Division, he saw combat in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, where he was wounded in action on September 19.

Between the wars

Bolte returned to the United States as a captain in August 1919, nine months after the war came to an end on November 11, 1918 at 11:00am. He chose to remain in the army during the interwar period and completed the Infantry Advanced Course at Fort Benning, Georgia in 1930, graduated in 1932 from the United States Army Command and General Staff College, and was ordered to the American Barracks, Tientsin, China for duty with the 15th Infantry Regiment as S-3 company and battalion commander. In April 1936, back in the United States, Bolte was assigned to command a battalion of the 13th Infantry Regiment at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. The following August, he entered the United States Army War College, graduated in June 1937, and remained there as an instructor until 1940, during World War II, although the United States was not yet involved in the war.

World War II

In 1941, Bolte, by now a lieutenant colonel, journeyed to London as head of a group of army observers and, early in 1942, after the United States had entered World War II due to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor followed by the German declaration of war on the United States, assumed the position of chief of staff of U.S. Forces in the United Kingdom, with the one-star general officer rank of brigadier general. With the two-star rank of major general, he returned to the United States in 1943 and raised and commanded the 69th Infantry Division in Mississippi.

In July 1944, upon the request of Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, commanding the American Fifth Army on the Italian Front he was sent to Italy where he took over command of the 34th Infantry Division (nicknamed "The Red Bull"), an Army National Guard formation, then locked in fierce combat on the Arno River. He replaced Major General Charles W. Ryder, who had led the 34th Division for over two years. He led the 34th through several successful actions, including the rupture of the Gothic Line, the winter campaign in the Apennine Mountains, the breakthrough and the capture of the Italian city of Bologna in Operation Grapeshot (codename for the final offensive of the Italian Campaign), the surrender of the Axis forces in Italy on April 29, 1945, and the subsequent occupation of the Northwestern and then the Northeastern sectors of Italy. The end of World War II in Europe came soon afterwards.

Bolte earned two Army Distinguished Service Medals, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit and the Purple Heart for his exploits during the war.

Postwar

General Keizo Hayashi, Chairman of Japan Self-Defense Forces' Joint Staff Council (left) and General Charles L. Bolte, Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army (right), July 1954. Gen. Hayashi and Gen. Bolte.jpg
General Keizō Hayashi, Chairman of Japan Self-Defense Forces' Joint Staff Council (left) and General Charles L. Bolte, Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army (right), July 1954.

Bolte served in Washington after the war and in 1953, at the three-star rank of lieutenant general, he became Commanding General (CG) of United States Army Europe. Later that year, Bolte returned home to serve as Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army under General Matthew Bunker Ridgway who, like Bolte, had also had a distinguished war record. Bolte retired from active service in 1955 as a full general.

The grave of General Charles L. Bolte at Arlington National Cemetery. ANCExplorer Charles L. Bolte grave.jpg
The grave of General Charles L. Bolte at Arlington National Cemetery.

Following retirement, he worked as special assistant to the chairman of the board of American Car & Foundry Industries from 1955 to 1958. He then became Chairman of the Board of Advanced Growth Capital Corporation, retiring from this in the 1960s. He was also active in charitable work, and served as President of the Army & Navy Club. He died on February 11, 1989 at Mount Vernon Hospital, Virginia, after a stroke, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. [1]

Dates of rank

InsigniaRankComponentDate
US-O1 insignia.svg Second lieutenant Officers Reserve Corps December 23, 1916
(Active duty on May 8, 1917.)
US-O1 insignia.svg Second lieutenant Regular Army November 10, 1917
US-O2 insignia.svg First lieutenant Regular ArmyOctober 25, 1917
US-O3 insignia.svg Captain Regular ArmySeptember 19, 1918
(Date of rank was August 10, 1918.)
US-O4 insignia.svg Major Regular ArmyAugust 1, 1935
US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant colonel Regular ArmyAugust 18, 1940
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel Army of the United States December 24, 1941
US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier general Army of the United StatesJanuary 17, 1942
US-O8 insignia.svg Major general Army of the United StatesApril 26, 1943
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel Regular ArmySeptember 1, 1946
US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier general Regular ArmyJanuary 24, 1948
US-O8 insignia.svg Major general Army of the United StatesJanuary 24, 1948
(Date of rank was October 5, 1944.)
US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant general Army of the United StatesFebruary 13, 1951
US-O10 insignia.svg General Army of the United StatesJuly 30, 1953
US-O10 insignia.svg General Regular Army, RetiredJune 30, 1955

Related Research Articles

Lucian Truscott United States Army general (1895–1965)

General Lucian King Truscott Jr. was a highly decorated senior United States Army officer, who saw distinguished active service during World War II. Between 1943–1945, he successively commanded the 3rd Infantry Division, VI Corps, Fifteenth Army and Fifth Army. He and Alexander Patch were the only United States Army officers to command a division, a corps, and a field army in combat during the war.

Charles W. Ryder United States Army general

Major General Charles Wolcott Ryder CB was a senior United States Army officer who served with distinction in both World War I and World War II.

Manton S. Eddy United States Army general

Lieutenant General Manton Sprague Eddy was a senior United States Army officer who served in both World War I and World War II. During the latter conflict he served with distinction, commanding the 9th Infantry Division and later the XII Corps in the campaign in Western Europe, playing a large part in the Battle of the Bulge in late December 1944.

J. Lawton Collins United States Army general

General Joseph Lawton Collins was a senior United States Army officer. During World War II, he served in both the Pacific and European Theaters of Operations, one of a few senior American commanders to do so. He was Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the Korean War.

Alexander Patch United States Army general

General Alexander McCarrell Patch was a senior United States Army officer who fought in both world wars, rising to rank of general. During World War II, he commanded U.S. Army and Marine Corps forces during the Guadalcanal Campaign in the Pacific, and the Seventh Army on the Western Front in Europe.

Bruce Palmer Jr. United States Army general (1913–2000)

Bruce Palmer Jr. was a general in the United States Army. He commanded the XVIII Airborne Corps during Operation Power Pack, the II Field Force, Vietnam during the Vietnam War, and was acting Chief of Staff of the United States Army from July to October 1972.

John E. Dahlquist United States Army general

General John Ernest Dahlquist was a senior United States Army officer. In the course of his military career, Dahlquist commanded three different army divisions, commanded at the corps and field army level and rose to the rank of four-star general. He is well-known for commanding the series of poor tactical decisions which led to the 442nd RCT becoming the most highly decorated unit in the history of the United States Armed Forces.

John H. Church United States Army general (1892–1953)

Major General John Huston Church was a senior officer in the United States Army. He fought in World War I, World War II and in the Korean War. During the latter conflict, he provided assistance to the South Korean Army in the opening days of the war. He later commanded the 24th Infantry Division while it was engaged in the Battle of the Pusan Perimeter.

Horace L. McBride United States Army general (1894–1962)

Lieutenant General Horace Logan McBride was a senior United States Army officer who fought during both World War I and World War II. He commanded American forces in the Ardennes, the Rhineland, and Central Europe during that conflict.

William H. H. Morris Jr.

Lieutenant General William Henry Harrison Morris Jr. was a senior United States Army officer who fought in both World War I and World War II.

William R. Schmidt

Major General William Richard Schmidt was a decorated United States Army officer who spent most of World War II as commanding the 76th Infantry Division.

John W. Leonard US Army general

Lieutenant General John William Leonard was a highly decorated senior United States Army officer who served during World War I, World War II and Cold War.

Julian Ewell

Julian Johnson Ewell was a career United States Army officer who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He commanded the 9th Infantry Division and II Field Force in Vietnam, and attained the rank of lieutenant general.

Paul W. Baade U.S. Army Major General

Paul William Baade was a highly decorated United States Army officer, with the rank of major general. The United States Military Academy alumni and veteran of World War I, he is most noted as a Commander of 35th Infantry Division during World War II.

Frederick W. Gibb

Frederick William Gibb was a United States Army officer with the rank of major general. Gibb commanded the 16th Infantry Regiment during World War II. His last assignment was the commander of the 2nd Infantry Division ("Indianhead") at Fort Benning, Georgia.

James K. Parsons

James Kelly Parsons was a career officer in the United States Army. He attained the rank of major general, and was notable for his command of the 39th Infantry Regiment in France during World War I, and his post-war command of the Army's tank school, 23rd Infantry Brigade, 5th Infantry Brigade, and 2nd Infantry Division. He closed his career as commander of Third Corps Area and interim commander of the First United States Army, positions in which he supervised training exercises designed to prepare units for overseas service as the Army began to expand at the start of World War II.

Onslow S. Rolfe United States Army general

Onslow S. Rolfe was a career officer in the United States Army. He attained the rank of brigadier general during World War II as commander of the Mountain Training Center at Camp Hale, Colorado, and the 71st Infantry Division.

Louis A. Craig United States Army general (1891–1984)

Louis A. Craig was a career officer in the United States Army. He attained the rank of major general, and served in both World War I and World War II. Craig served as a corps and division commander during World War II and was the Inspector General of the Army from 1948 to 1952.

William W. Eagles U.S. Army Major General

Major General William Willis Eagles was a highly decorated officer in the United States Army. A graduate of the United States Military Academy, he is most noted for his service as Commanding general, 45th Infantry Division during Italian campaign during World War II.

John H. Hughes (general) U.S. Army major general

John H. Hughes was a career officer in the United States Army. He attained the rank of major general, and was most notable for his command of the Philippine Division (1937–1938) and the Philippine Department (1938–1939). A veteran of the Spanish–American War, Philippine–American War, and World War I, Hughes served for 43 years beginning 1897. After retiring in 1940, he was recalled to active duty for World War II and served at the Department of War from 1941 to 1945.

References

  1. Burial Detail: Bolte, Charles L – ANC Explorer

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from the United States Government document: " ".

Military offices
New command Commanding General 69th Infantry Division
1943–1944
Succeeded by
Emil F. Reinhardt
Preceded by
Charles W. Ryder
Commanding General 34th Infantry Division
1944–1945
Post deactivated
Preceded by
Manton S. Eddy
Commanding General Seventh Army
1952–1953
Succeeded by
William M. Hoge
Commanding General United States Army Europe
April – September 1953
Preceded by
John E. Hull
Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army
1953–1955
Succeeded by
Williston B. Palmer