John Magruder (Brigadier General)

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John Magruder
John Magruder.jpg
Director of the Strategic Services Unit
In office
October 1, 1945 – April 3, 1946
PresidentHarry Truman
Preceded byWilliam Donovan (Office of Strategic Services)
Succeeded byWilliam W. Quinn
Personal details
Born(1887-06-03)June 3, 1887
Woodstock, Virginia, U.S.
DiedApril 30, 1958(1958-04-30) (aged 70)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Resting placeArlington National Cemetery
EducationVirginia Military Institute (BA)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1910–1946
RankUS-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II
AwardsArmy Distinguished Service Medal

John L. Magruder (June 3, 1887 – April 30, 1958) was a Brigadier general in the U.S. Army. Among his offices was that of Deputy Director for Intelligence for the Office of Strategic Services.


John Magruder was born on June 3, 1887, in Woodstock, Virginia, he attended Virginia Military Institute and graduated in 1909. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in infantry in 1910, he was transferred to the field artillery branch of the army in the next year.

During World War I, Magruder served with the 112th Field Artillery within the American Expeditionary Forces in France.

After the war Magruder was transferred to China, where he was appointed an assistant military attaché in Beijing, he served in this capacity until 1924, when he was assigned for study at Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. After his graduation, Magruder was transferred back to Beijing, now in the new capacity of military attaché.

During World War II Magruder served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), as deputy director under the leadership of General William J. Donovan. After the war, the OSS was disbanded. Core elements of it, however, were maintained in the new Strategic Services Unit (SSU), located in the then Department of War; this newly formed SSU was led by General Magruder.[1][2][3][4] Magruder played a formative role in the creation of the civilian Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1947,[5] which absorbed the SSU.


Army Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
World War I Victory Medal with four service stars
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal


  1. ^ L. L. Montague, Walter Bedell Smith as Director of Central Intelligence (2014), p. 21 (Magruder at OSS).
  2. ^ Peer de Silva, Sub Rosa. The CIA and the uses of intelligence (1978), p. 4 (Magruder at OSS, SSU).
  3. ^ John Ranelagh, The Agency (1986), pp. 100-101 (Magruder at OSS, SSU).
  4. ^ Thomas Powers, The Man who kept the Secrets. Richard Helms and the CIA (1979), p. 28 (Magruder at SSU).
  5. ^ Prados, John (2006). Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA. Ivan R. Dee. p. xxiv. ISBN 9781615780112.
Government offices
Preceded by
William Donovan
as Director of the Office of Strategic Services
Director of the Strategic Services Unit
Succeeded by
William W. Quinn