Wood, John Shirley, 1888-1966

Alternative names
Birth 1888-01-11
Death 1966-07-02

Biographical notes:

Author, journalist, and lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1942.

From the guide to the Tiger Jack, 1979, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Major General John Shirley Wood (1888-1966) was an American army officer and writer on military history and strategy, particularly relating to field artillery.

Born January 11, 1888 at Monticello, Arkansas, John Shirley Wood was the son of Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Carroll D. Wood and Reola (Thompson) Wood. He received his B.S. from the University of Arkansas in 1907 and graduated from West Point Military Academy in 1912. In 1924 he attended the Command and General Staff School, and in 1931 the Ecole de Guerre in Paris. The University of Arkansas awarded him an honorary LL.D. degree in 1946

Much of General Wood's early career was in the academic world. He served at West Point as football coach, instructor in chemistry, and Commandant of Cadets. He was also head of the military departments at Culver Military Academy and the University of Wisconsin.

General Wood commanded various field artillery units including the Division Artillery of the 1st Division and of the 2d Armored Division. His staff duties included service as Executive Officer (XO) of the Hawaiian Field Artillery Brigade, as a division staff officer of the 3rd Division in France (1918), as Chief of Staff of the Third Army (1939-1940), and as Chief of Staff of the 1st Armored Corps (1941). As a general officer he held a combat command of the 5th Armored Division. From 1942 to 1944 he commanded the 4th Armored Division, leading it in the advance from Normandy across France into Germany. From 1945 until his retirement from the Army in 1946, he was in command of the Replacement Training Center at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

For his service in combat, General Wood received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and the Air Medal. He was also awarded the Croix de Guerre with palm, and the Rosette of the Legion d'honneur for his service in France.

After his retirement from the Army, General Wood served as Chief of Mission for the International Refugee Organization in Austria (1947-1952), Chief of Mission for the United Nations Reconstruction Administration in Tokyo, Korea, and Geneva (1952-1953), and Civil Defense Director for Reno, Nevada (1957-1958).

During the years prior to World War II, General Wood's reviews and digests of French, German, Italian, and Spanish military literature appeared in a number of military journals.

General Wood died on July 2, 1966 in Reno, Nevada, and is buried at West Point Cemetery in West Point, New York. He was married to Abigail Harvey Wood, with whom he had a son, Colonel John S. Wood, and a daughter Shirley.

From the guide to the John Shirley Wood Papers, 1917-1967, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)


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  • Military history
  • Military
  • World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--France
  • Politics, Government, and Law
  • Generals--United States--Biography


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  • United States (as recorded)