Hobart R. Gay

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Hobart Raymond Gay
Hobart Gay.gif
General Hobart R. Gay
Born(1894-05-16)May 16, 1894
Rockport, Illinois
DiedAugust 19, 1983(1983-08-19) (aged 89)
El Paso, Texas
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1917–1955
RankUS-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Commands heldU.S. Fifteenth Army
U.S. 1st Armored Division
Military District of Washington
1st Cavalry Division (United States)
U.S. VI Corps
U.S. III Corps
U.S. Fifth Army
Anti-aircraft and Guided Missile Center
Battles/warsWorld War II
Korean War
AwardsArmy Distinguished Service Cross (2)
Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Silver Star (3)
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star (2)
Other workSuperintendent of the New Mexico Military Institute

Hobart Raymond Gay (May 16, 1894 – August 19, 1983), nicknamed Hap, was a United States Army lieutenant general.

Early military career[edit]

He was first commissioned into the Army Reserve as a 2nd lieutenant following his graduation from Knox College in 1917. On October 26, 1917, Gay was commissioned into the Regular Army, he was promoted to 1st lieutenant on October 26, 1917, and captain in July 1920. In his early career, he was a cavalry officer; as a captain, he tutored author Robert A. Heinlein in equitation and musketry.[1] He transferred to the Quartermaster Corps June 11, 1934, and was promoted to major on August 1, 1935, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel on August 18, 1940, and colonel on December 24, 1941.

World War II[edit]

General Gay was awarded the Silver Star in December 1942 for gallantry in action on November 8, 1942, at Casablanca, he was chief of staff of the I Armored Corps, commanded by General George S. Patton, in North Africa at the time. Gay would continue to serve as Patton's chief of staff until Patton's death in December 1945.

Gay was promoted to brigadier general on June 24, 1943. In the Sicily campaign he was assigned to the U.S. Seventh Army as chief of staff. He became chief of staff, Third Army, in February 1944. In this capacity, Gay was a key member of Patton's command staff during the Third Army's drive into Germany following the Normandy invasion.

When Patton took command of the U.S. Fifteenth Army in October 1945, Gay was again his chief of staff. He and Patton went pheasant hunting on December 9, 1945. Patton and Gay were seated in the back seat of the staff car, en route to the hunting lodge. There was a traffic accident, during which Patton sustained spinal injuries which later cost him his life. General Gay was uninjured.

Post-World War II Europe[edit]

After Patton's death, Gay assumed command of Fifteenth Army in January 1946 for a period of one month, he then became commander of the U.S. 1st Armored Division until its return to the United States later in 1946. He then assumed command of the Second Constabulary Brigade, he served in Europe until 1947, when he returned to the United States.

Gay returned to the United States and commanded the Military District of Washington until September 1949. During his command of the district, General John J. Pershing died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on July 15, 1948. In accordance with tradition, General Gay coordinated arrangements for Pershing's funeral ceremonies as the representative of the U.S. President.[2]

Korean War[edit]

In September 1949, Gay took command of the 1st Cavalry Division in Osaka, Japan, he brought the 1st Cavalry to Korea, where it was in action on July 19, 1950, joining in the general South Korean-U.S. retreat before the North Korean invasion force.[3]:197

Over three days in late July, the division's 7th Cavalry Regiment and U.S. warplanes killed a large number of South Korean refugees at No Gun Ri, an event first confirmed by The Associated Press in 1999[4] and later acknowledged in a U.S. Army investigation;[5] the South Korean government in 2005 certified the names of 163 No Gun Ri dead and missing and 55 wounded, and said many more likely were killed.[6] On July 26, the day the No Gun Ri killings began, Gay told rear-echelon reporters he was sure most refugees fleeing south were North Korean infiltrators. Two days earlier, word had been sent from his operations staff to fire on all refugees trying to cross U.S. lines. Gay himself later described refugees as "fair game," and the U.S. ambassador in South Korea said such a policy had been adopted theater-wide.[4][7] On August 4, 1950, after U.S. forces withdrew across the Naktong River, Gay ordered the blowing of the Waegwan bridge, killing hundreds of refugees trying to cross.[3]:251

His 1st Cavalry Division then played a crucial, costly role in the successful last-ditch defense of the Pusan Perimeter, and joined in the breakout of U.S. and South Korean units headed north in September in conjunction with the landing of U.S. forces at Inchon. Gay's troops then led the strike across the 38th Parallel and into Pyongyang, capturing the North Korean capital on October 19–20. Two weeks later, his 8th Cavalry Regiment was hit hard by newly arriving Chinese Communist forces at Unsan, north of Pyongyang, with one battalion left trapped when Gay's rescue efforts were ordered halted by his superior, I Corps commander Major General Frank W. Milburn. The Chinese drove the 1st Cavalry Division and other U.S. forces from North Korea in December, and in early 1951 Gay, along with other top officers in Korea, was relieved of his command.[8]

Gay was appointed deputy commander of the U.S. Fourth Army in February 1951. In July 1952 he was appointed commander of U.S. VI Corps at Camp Atterbury, Indiana and in April, 1953 made commanding general of U.S. III Corps at Fort MacArthur, California, he moved to Fort Hood in Texas when the III Corps was reassigned there.

Post Korean War[edit]

In September 1954 General Gay was made commander of U.S. Fifth Army in Chicago, Illinois. He was nominated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in October 1954 for promotion to Lieutenant General (temporary).

Hobart R. Gay's career in the U.S. Army ended in 1955 as the Commanding General, Anti-aircraft and Guided Missile Center, Fort Bliss, Texas.


Following retirement, Gay became superintendent of the New Mexico Military Institute.

He died in El Paso, Texas and was interred at the Fort Bliss National Cemetery.[9]

Awards and decorations[edit]

His awards and decorations include:

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Distinguished Service Cross with bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Distinguished Service Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Silver Star with two bronze oak leaf clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit with bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze Star with bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Air Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Commendation Medal
Unit Award
Army Meritorious Unit Commendation
Service Medals
World War I Victory Medal
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Silver star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with Arrowhead device and silver campaign star
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Korean Service Medal with three bronze campaign stars
Foreign Awards
Distinguished Service Order (United Kingdom)
Legion of Honour (Chevalier)
Legion of Honour (Officier)
French Croix de guerre (device(s) unknown)
Order of the White Lion Class II (Czechoslovakia)
Czechoslovakian War Cross
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
United Nations Korea Medal
Korean War Service Medal

Media portrayal[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Patterson, William Jr. (2010). Robert A. Heinlein: the authorized biography (volume 1). New York: Tom Doherty Associates. p. 46. ISBN 0765319624.
  2. ^ Michael Robert Patterson. "John Joseph Pershing, General of the Armies". Arlingtoncemetery.net. Retrieved 2017-03-25.
  3. ^ a b Appleman, Roy E. (1961). South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu (June–November 1950). Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "War's hidden chapter: Ex-GIs tell of killing Korean refugees". Associated Press. September 29, 1999.
  5. ^ Office of the Inspector General, Department of the Army. No Gun Ri Review. Washington, D.C. January 2001
  6. ^ Committee for the Review and Restoration of Honor for the No Gun Ri Victims (2009). No Gun Ri Incident Victim Review Report. Seoul: Government of the Republic of Korea. pp. 247–249. ISBN 978-89-957925-1-3.
  7. ^ Conway-Lanz, Sahr (2006). Collateral damage: Americans, noncombatant immunity, and atrocity after World War II. New York: Routledge. pp. 98–99. ISBN 0-415-97829-7.
  8. ^ Ohl, John Kennedy (1995). "Gay, Hobart R.". In Stanley Sandler (eds.). The Korean War: An Encyclopedia. New York and London: Garland Publishing. pp. 119–120. ISBN 0-8240-4445-2.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Fort Bliss National Cemetery - Surname Gat-Gi - El Paso County, Texas". Interment.net. Retrieved 2017-03-25.

Further reading[edit]

  • Who's Who in America, 1966–1967, Vol. 34. Chicago:Marquis Who's Who, p. 759.

External links[edit]