James Basevi Ord

Last updated

James Basevi Ord
James B. Ord in 1918.jpg
Born(1892-03-15)15 March 1892
Died30 January 1938(1938-01-30) (aged 45)
Baguio City, Philippines
AllegianceFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Service/branchFlag of the United States Army.svg  United States Army
Years of service1915–1938
Rank US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel
Battles/warsWorld War I:
Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Purple Heart
Distinguished Service Star (Philippines)

James Basevi Ord (15 March 1892 – 30 January 1938) was a United States Army lieutenant colonel killed in an air crash at Camp John Hay, Philippines. At the time, Ord was serving as the Assistant Military Advisor to the Commonwealth of the Philippines, under United States Military Advisor Douglas MacArthur. Ord was a member of the West Point class of 1915, "the class the stars fell on", that also included Omar Bradley and Dwight Eisenhower.

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

Commonwealth of the Philippines 1935-1946 republic in Southeast Asia

The Commonwealth of the Philippines was the administrative body that governed the Philippines from 1935 to 1946, aside from a period of exile in the Second World War from 1942 to 1945 when Japan occupied the country. It replaced the Insular Government, a United States territorial government, and was established by the Tydings–McDuffie Act. The Commonwealth was designed as a transitional administration in preparation for the country's full achievement of independence.

Douglas MacArthur U.S. Army general of the army, field marshal of the Army of the Philippines

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American five-star general and Field Marshal of the Philippine Army. He was Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the Philippines Campaign, which made him and his father Arthur MacArthur Jr. the first father and son to be awarded the medal. He was one of only five to rise to the rank of General of the Army in the US Army, and the only one conferred the rank of field marshal in the Philippine Army.


Early life

James Basevi Ord was born in Mexico on 15 March 1892, the son of Captain James Thompson Ord and Rose Basevi. He came from a distinguished military family. He was the grandson of Major General Edward Otho Cresap Ord; Major Edward Otho Cresap Ord II was his uncle; and Major General James Garesche Ord was his cousin. [1] [2]

Captain (United States O-3) company-grade rank in U.S. Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force

In the United States Army (USA), U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), and U.S. Air Force (USAF), captain is a company grade officer rank, with the pay grade of O-3. It ranks above first lieutenant and below major. It is equivalent to the rank of lieutenant in the Navy/Coast Guard officer rank system. The insignia for the rank consists of two silver bars, with slight stylized differences between the Army/Air Force version and the Marine Corps version.

Major (United States) rank in the United States uniformed services, O-4

In the United States Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force, major is a field grade military officer rank above the rank of captain and below the rank of lieutenant colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of lieutenant commander in the other uniformed services. Although lieutenant commanders are considered junior officers by their respective services, the rank of major is considered field grade in the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps.

Edward Otho Cresap Ord, II was a United States Army Major who served with the 22nd Infantry Regiment during the Indian Wars, the Spanish–American War and the Philippine–American War. He helped direct relief work after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. He was a military instructor, an expert linguist and spent time in painting and writing poetry. He was also an inventor who patented a new type of gold pan and different types of rifle and handgun sights.

Ord received an appointment from California to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, which he entered on 12 June 1911. [3] The class he joined would become famous as the class the stars fell on. [4] Of the 164 graduates that year, 59 would wear the stars of a general officer, the most of any class in the history of the Academy. [5] Classmates included Omar Bradley and Dwight Eisenhower. [6]

United States Military Academy U.S. Armys federal service academy in West Point, New York

The United States Military Academy (USMA), also known as West Point, Army, Army West Point, The Academy, or simply The Point, is a four-year federal service academy in West Point, New York. It was originally established as a fort that sits on strategic high ground overlooking the Hudson River with a scenic view, 50 miles (80 km) north of New York City. It is one of the five U.S. service academies.

West Point, New York CDP in New York, United States

West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in the United States. Located on the Hudson River in New York, West Point was identified by General George Washington as the most important strategic position in America during the American Revolution. Until January 1778, West Point was not occupied by the military. On January 27, 1778, Brigadier General Samuel Holden Parsons and his brigade crossed the ice on the Hudson River and climbed to the plain on West Point, from that day to the present, West Point has been occupied by the United States Army. It comprises approximately 16,000 acres (6,500 ha) including the campus of the United States Military Academy, which is commonly called "West Point".

Omar Bradley United States Army general

General of the Army Omar Nelson Bradley was a senior officer of the United States Army during and after World War II. Bradley was the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and oversaw the U.S. military's policy-making in the Korean War.

World War I

On 12 June 1915, Ord graduated 66th in his class, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 6th Infantry. He was sent to Camp Cotton, in El Paso, Texas, where he joined the 13th Cavalry as an interpreter with the Pancho Villa Expedition. He was wounded in the Battle of Parral on 12 April 1916, and was recommended for the Medal of Honor, but instead received the Distinguished Service Medal. [3] His citation read:

Second lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces, comparable to NATO OF-1a rank.

6th Infantry Regiment (United States) combat formation of the United States Army

The 6th Infantry Regiment ("Regulars") was formed 11 January 1812. Zachary Taylor, later the twelfth President of the United States, was a commander of the unit. The motto, "Regulars, By God!" derives from the Battle of Chippawa, in which British Major General Phineas Riall noticed that the approaching regiment had on the uniforms of militia, which the British had defeated at Queenston Heights. Instead, the Americans pressed the attack. Riall is assumed to have said, "Those are Regulars, By God!".

El Paso, Texas City in Texas, United States

El Paso is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, in the far western part of the state. The 2018 population estimate for the city from the U.S. Census was 682,669. Its metropolitan statistical area (MSA) covers all of El Paso and Hudspeth counties in Texas, and has a population of 840,758.

for exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great responsibility, as follows: While serving as second lieutenant, 6th Infantry, attached to the 13th Cavalry, in action at Parral, Mexico, April 12, 1916, after being himself wounded, he dismounted from his horse under heavy fire, placed a wounded man on a horse, and assisted him from the field. [3]

Ord was promoted to first lieutenant with the 5th Cavalry on 1 July 1916. He was attached the headquarters of the Punitive Expedition until it was disbanded on 10 February 1917. He was placed in charge of a refugee camp in Columbus, New Mexico, which subsequently moved to San Antonio, Texas. He was then posted to the 54th Infantry at Chickamauga Park, Georgia, on 24 June 1917. On 16 July 1917, he joined the staff of the Reserve Officer's Training Camp at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. Then, on 15 September 1917, he returned to West Point, initially as an instructor in modern languages, and then, from 20 September 1917, in tactics. From 18 May to 25 November 1918, he was an intelligence officer and Assistant Military Attaché in The Hague. [3] He was awarded the Order of Orange-Nassau. [7]

First lieutenant is a commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces and, in some forces, an appointment.

5th Cavalry Regiment

The 5th Cavalry Regiment is a historical unit of the United States Army that began its service on August 3, 1861, when an act of Congress enacted "that the two regiments of dragoons, the regiment of mounted riflemen, and the two regiments of cavalry shall hereafter be known and recognized, as the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth regiments of cavalry respectively..." and continues in modified organizational format in the U.S. Army.

Columbus, New Mexico Village in New Mexico, United States

Columbus is a village in Luna County, New Mexico, United States, about 3 miles north of the Mexican border. It is considered a place of historical interest, as the scene of the attack in 1916 by Mexican revolutionary leader Francisco "Pancho" Villa that caused America to send 10,000 troops there in the punitive Mexican Expedition. The population was 1,664 at the 2010 census.

Between the wars

Promoted to major on 17 June 1918, Ord reverted to the grade of captain on 30 June 1920, only to return to being a major two days later. He attended the Ecole Supérieure de Guerre in Paris. Returning to the United States in July 1924. He reverted to captain again on 4 November 1922, but then was promoted to major again on 20 September 1924. From June 1925 to June 1926 he was a student at the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. After graduation, he was posted to the Philippines, as commander of the 3rd Battalion, 31st Infantry, and then, in May 1928, to the American Embassy in Paris as Assistant Military Attaché. [7] He was technical adviser at the Army General Disarmament Conference, in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2 February to 19 June 1932. [8]

Ord attended the Army War College from 1932 to 1933, and then was an instructor in military intelligence there from 1933 to 1935. [8] That year, the outgoing Chief of Staff of the United States Army, Major General Douglas MacArthur, was appointed Military Advisor to the Commonwealth of the Philippines. MacArthur was permitted to select his own staff, so as his chief of staff, he chose Dwight Eisenhower, who had been his assistant for the previous two and a half years. In turn, Eisenhower was permitted to choose his own assistant, and he chose Ord for his staff skills and his knowledge of Spanish. [9] MacArthur had previously been acquainted with Ord in Paris when MacArthur was Chief of Staff. [10]


Ord was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 1 July 1936. [8] His main responsibility was to draw up a military budget for the Philippines. A realistic one proved difficult to create, as the United States government would not supply the funding for the equipment that MacArthur and Eisenhower believed that the Philippines would require in order to resist a Japanese invasion. [11] A key part of this was the fledgling Philippine Air Corps. [12] On 30 January 1938, Ord took off on a flight to Baguio City with a Filipino student pilot at the controls. As the plane approached its destination, Ord had the pilot flew low over a friend's house so he could drop a note announcing his arrival tied to a rock. The inexperienced pilot stalled the plane and it crashed, killing Ord. [13] President Manuel Quezon awarded Ord the Distinguished Service Star. [14] His citation read:

As one of the principal assistants of the Military Adviser Colonel Ord continuously, from the inauguration of the Commonwealth to the moment of his untimely death, devoted his exceptional talents to the development of adequate security forces for the Philippines. Through his professional attainments, his breadth of understanding, his zeal and his magnetic leadership he was directly responsible for notable progress in the Philippine Army. Through his outstanding achievements, in the service of the Philippine Government, to which service he gave his life, he increased the brilliance of his already enviable military reputation, became an inspiration to the officers and enlisted men of the Army, and earned the gratitude and affection of the Philippine Government and of the Filipino people. [14]

Upon his death, Ord was replaced by Lieutenant Colonel Richard K. Sutherland. [15] Ord was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, not far from his father and other members of his family. [16] He was survived by his wife, Emily Collier Howell, and his two children, James Basevi Ord, Jr., and Letitia Howell Ord. [17] James Jr. subsequently became a colonel in the United States Marine Corps. He married Virginia Cartwright Shepherd, the daughter of General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., a Commandant of the Marine Corps. [18]


  1. "The Ord Family at Arlington National Cemetery". Arlington National Cemetery . Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  2. Haskew 2014, pp. 34–35.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Cullum 1920, p. 1756.
  4. "The Class the Stars Fell On". National Museum of American History. Retrieved 23 December 2007.
  5. "West Point Fact Sheet". United States Military Academy. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2010.
  6. Haskew 2014, p. 12.
  7. 1 2 Cullum 1930, pp. 1078–1079.
  8. 1 2 3 Cullum 1940, p. 295.
  9. James 1970, pp. 484–486.
  10. James 1970, p. 372.
  11. James 1970, p. 517.
  12. James 1970, p. 532.
  13. Haskew 2014, p. 102.
  14. 1 2 "General Order No. 2, s. 1938". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  15. James 1970, p. 565.
  16. "James Basevi Ord, Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army". Arlington National Cemetery . Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  17. "Col James Ord 1890–1938". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
  18. "In Memoriam: Col James B. Ord Jr". Leatherneck Magazine . 80 (8). August 1997. Retrieved 5 October 2015.

Related Research Articles

The Office of the Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government (OMACG) was created in 1935 upon the initiative of President Manuel L. Quezon by the Philippine and American governments for the purposes of developing a system of national defense for the Commonwealth of the Philippines by 1946. OMACG's recommendations were adopted by the Philippine National Assembly in Commonwealth Act Number 1, the National Defense Act of 1935.

Richard Marshall (general) United States Army general

Richard Jaquelin Marshall was a major general in the United States Army.

Hugh John Casey United States Army General

Hugh John "Pat" Casey was a major general in the United States Army. A 1918 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Casey served in Germany during the Occupation of the Rhineland. He later returned to Germany to attend the Technische Hochschule in Berlin, earning a Doctor of Engineering degree.

Arthur MacArthur Jr. United States Army Medal of Honor recipient

Lieutenant General Arthur MacArthur, Jr., was a United States Army general. He became the military Governor-General of the American-occupied Philippines in 1900 but his term ended a year later due to clashes with the civilian governor, future-U.S. President William Howard Taft.

Robert L. Eichelberger United States Army general commanding the US Eighth Army during World War II

Robert Lawrence Eichelberger was a general officer in the United States Army who commanded the Eighth United States Army in the Southwest Pacific Area during World War II.

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.

The class the stars fell on United States Military Academy Class of 1915

The class the stars fell on is an expression used to describe the Class of 1915 at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. In the United States Army, the insignia reserved for generals is one or more stars. Of the 164 graduates that year, 59 (36%) attained the rank of general, more than any other class in the history of the Academy, hence the expression. Two reached the rank of five-star General of the Army. There were also two four-star generals, seven three-star lieutenant generals, 24 two-star major generals, and 24 one-star brigadier generals. Dwight D. Eisenhower, one of the five-star generals, went on to become the 34th President of the United States. The other, Omar Bradley, became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents Harry S. Truman and Eisenhower.

Douglas MacArthur, United States Army General began his career in 1899, served in three major military conflicts and held the highest military office of the United States and of the Philippines during that service.

Henry Pinckney McCain United States general

Henry Pinckney McCain was an officer in the United States Army who served as Adjutant General of the U.S. Army from 1914 to 1918.

Stanley Dunbar Embick United States general

Stanley Dunbar Embick was a Lieutenant General in the United States Army.

Stephen J. Chamberlin United States general

Stephen Jones Chamberlin was a lieutenant general in the United States Army who served during World War II as General of the Army Douglas MacArthur's Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, the staff officer in charge of plans and operations.

Everett Hughes (general) United States Army general

Everett Strait Hughes was a Major general in the United States Army and served as the 17th Chief of Ordnance for the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps. He is known for his close association with Dwight D. Eisenhower. Hughes was born in Ipswich, Dakota Territory, was a West Point graduate, and rose to become major general in the U.S. Army. He fought in a number of battles including the Mexican border war and World War I. During World War II he was one of George S. Patton's close friends and Eisenhower's "right-hand man" during the entire European campaign.

John W. Heavey US Army General

John W. Heavey was a United States Army brigadier general who served as Chief of the National Guard Bureau.

James Garesche Ord U.S. Army Major General

James Garesche Ord was a United States Army Major General who Commanded the 28th Infantry Division and was Chairman of the Joint Brazil–U.S. Defense Commission during World War II.

History of the Philippine Army 1935-1946 land warfare branch of the Philippines military

The Philippine Army was established on December 21, 1935 as the Army of the Philippines, with a general headquarters in Manila, and units and formations based throughout the provinces of the Philippines.

Edwin A. Zundel US Army general

Edwin Albert Zundel was a United States Army brigadier general who served on the Western Front during World War I, in the Southwest Pacific Area during World War II, and as Inspector General, Far East Command, and Inspector General, United Nations Troops—Korea during the Korean War. He was a member of the West Point class of 1915, "the class the stars fell on" that also included Omar Bradley and Dwight Eisenhower.

A. Arnim White US Army general

Arthur Arnim White was a United States Army major general who was chief of staff of the XIV Corps during Guadalcanal Campaign and the Seventh United States Army during the Southern France Campaign in World War II. He was a West Point classmate of Dwight Eisenhower.

Arthur Murray (general)

Arthur Murray was a major general in the United States Army. He was notable for his service as Chief of Artillery, Chief of the Coast Artillery Corps and commander of the Army's Western Department.

William Chamberlaine American military officer, 1871-1925

William Chamberlaine was a career officer in the United States Army. A graduate of the United States Military Academy and a veteran of the Spanish–American War, Chamberlaine was most notable for his service as a brigadier general in charge of artillery units during World War I.

Frederick Gilbreath

Frederick Gilbreath was a general officer in the United States Army who commanded the San Francisco Port of Embarkation and the South Pacific Base Command during World War II.