Depuy, William E., GEN

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
11 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
00GC-Commanding General
Last MOS Group
General Officer
Primary Unit
1971-1977, HQ, US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC)
Service Years
1937 - 1977



Nine Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
North Dakota
North Dakota
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Depuy, William E., GEN USA(Ret).
Contact Info
Home Town
Jamestown, ND
Last Address
Jamestown, ND

Date of Passing
Oct 01, 1992
Location of Interment
Brown Family Cemetery - Browns Cove, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord Army Staff Identification US Army Retired (Pre-2007) Meritorious Unit Commendation 1944-1961

French Fourragere US Army Retired

 Unofficial Badges 

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

William Eugene DePuy (October 1, 1919 – 1992) was a U.S. Army general and the first commander of the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command. He is widely regarded as one of the principal architects of the restructuring of U.S. Army doctrine after the American withdrawal from Vietnam.

Early life and career


DePuy was born in Jamestown, North Dakota. His military career began when he enlisted in the South Dakota National Guard, eventually becoming a squad leader. He graduated from South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and received a commission as a second lieutenant in the Infantry in 1941. His first assignment was with the 20th Infantry Regiment at Fort Leonard Wood, and during this time he walked to the Louisiana Maneuvers and back with his platoon. Assigned to the 90th Infantry Division during World War II, he served as an operations officer and battalion commander in the fierce fighting from Utah Beach through the Battle of the Bulge.

Post World War II

Following the war, DePuy served in myriad command and staff positions, including command of the 2d Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, and the 1st Battle Group, 30th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division, both in the Federal Republic of Germany. In 1948 he attended the Defense Language Institute for a year to learn Russian, followed in 1949 by assignment as Assistant Military Attaché, and later the acting Army Attaché in Budapest, Hungary.

He met Marjory Kennedy Walker of Salem, Virginia, a Far East specialist who served with both the Office of Strategic Services and the Central Intelligence Agency, and they were married in June 1951. A son, William E DePuy, Jr. was born in July 1952, and daughters Joslin and Daphne in July 1953 and 1954, respectively.


First deployed to Vietnam in 1964, he served as Chief of Staff of Operations for Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, and in March 1966 he assumed command of the 1st Infantry Division ("the Big Red One"). During his time as commander, he established a scholarship fund for the children of 1st Infantry Division soldiers killed in Vietnam, which eventually became the 1st Infantry Division Foundation.


DePuy is perhaps best remembered for his efforts while commander of the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, where he helped create a new, innovative fighting doctrine for the Army. His wide-ranging and sometimes controversial changes in combat development and the way the Army trains sparked a debate that resulted in the widely accepted AirLand Battle Doctrine. He retired from active duty in July 1977 and settled in Highfield, Virginia. He died in 1992, and his wife died on March 15, 2002.

DePuy awards included two Distinguished Service Crosses, five Distinguished Service Medals, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, three Silver Stars, two Purple Hearts, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, and Air Medal with "V" device. His foreign decorations include the Order of Commander in the French Legion of Honor, the Knight's Cross of the Germany Order of Merit, the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, and the Republic of Korea Order of National Security Merit First Class.

Other Comments:

This is to Certify that
The President of the United States of America
Takes Pride in Presenting


(Second Award)
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Service Cross to William Eugene DePuy (0-34710), Major General, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Headquarters, 1st Infantry Division. Major General DePuy distinguished himself by repeated exceptionally valorous actions during the period 4 November 1966 to 16 November 1966 while serving as Commanding General, 1st Infantry Division. On 4 November during Operation ATTLEBORO, General DePuy flew to the sites of two large-scale armed clashes between U.S. Forces and numerically superior Viet Cong Forces. With complete disregard for his own safety, he repeatedly braved intense hostile fire to observe the disposition of the battle, to direct the tactical moves necessary to outmaneuver the enemy and to solidify friendly positions. On 5 November he assumed command of Operation ATTLEBORO which involved eighteen U.S. combat battalions and five ARVN battalions. Throughout the period of this operation General DePuy performed repeated heroic acts. On 7 November, ignoring the dangers of landing in the middle of a pitched battle, General DePuy personally picked up a captured enemy prisoner and flew him to a battalion command post for immediate interrogation. This act proved invaluable as the information gleaned from the prisoner revealed the battle plan of the enemy and enabled U.S. Forces to maneuver and catch the Viet Cong off guard at the inception of a major campaign. His command of the operation, both from his command and control helicopter and on the ground, involved frequent exposure to hostile fire. He repeatedly made numerous low-level passes through intense hostile fire to direct the battle, to gain first-hand knowledge of the disposition of enemy and friendly forces and to observe the progress of the battle. This enabled him to make tactical decisions which resulted in Operation ATTLEBORO becoming one of the major victories of the counterinsurgency efforts in the Republic of Vietnam. Major General DePuy's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Headquarters, US Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 588 (February 7, 1967)
Other Award: Distinguished Service Cross (WWII)

(First Award)
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to William Eugene DePuy (0-34710), Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 1st Battalion, 357th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 13 March 1945. Lieutenant Colonel DePuy's intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 90th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.

Headquarters, Third U.S. Army, General Orders No. 109 (1945)
 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award
Aviator Badge (Basic)

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1941, Basic Training Waived (ARNG Pre WWII)
 Unit Assignments
ARNG, South Dakota1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment90th Infantry Division1st Battalion, 357th Regiment (Infantry) 90th Infantry Division
2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment4th Infantry Division30th Infantry Regiment3rd Infantry Division
(DLI West) Russian Language CourseDefense Intelligence Agency (DIA)/Defense Attache Office (USDAO)Military Assistance Command Vietnam MACV1st Infantry Division
Department of the Army (DA)US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC)
  1937-1941, ARNG, South Dakota
  1941-1943, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment
  1943-1945, 90th Infantry Division
  1944-1945, 1st Battalion, 357th Regiment (Infantry) 90th Infantry Division
  1945-1946, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment
  1946-1947, 4th Infantry Division
  1947-1948, 30th Infantry Regiment
  1947-1948, 3rd Infantry Division
  1948-1949, (DLI West) Russian Language Course
  1949-1951, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)/Defense Attache Office (USDAO)
  1964-1966, Military Assistance Command Vietnam MACV
  1966-1968, 1st Infantry Division
  1968-1971, Department of the Army (DA)
  1971-1977, HQ, US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1944-1944 Operation Overlord/D-Day Beach Landings - Operation Neptune
  1944-1944 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Northern France Campaign (1944)
  1944-1945 Ardennes Alsace Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of the Bulge
  1945-1945 Central Europe Campaign (1945)/Victory in Europe Day (VE Day - 8May45)
  1945-1945 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Central Europe Campaign (1945)
  1964-1965 Vietnam War/Advisory Campaign (1962-65)
  1965-1966 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Campaign (1965-66)
  1966-1966 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase II Campaign (1966-67)/Operation Attleboro
  1966-1967 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase II Campaign (1966-67)
  1967-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase III Campaign (1967-68)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Tet Counteroffensive Campaign (1968)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase IV Campaign (1968)
 Colleges Attended 
South Dakota State University
  1937-1941, South Dakota State University
Copyright Inc 2003-2011