Swing, Joseph May, LTG

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Last Rank
Lieutenant General
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
00GC-Commanding General
Last MOS Group
General Officer
Primary Unit
1951-1954, 6th Army (Sixth Army)
Service Years
1915 - 1954


Lieutenant General

Ten Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
New Jersey
New Jersey
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Swing, Joseph May, LTG USA(Ret).
Contact Info
Home Town
Jersey City
Last Address
San Francisco, CA

Date of Passing
Dec 09, 1984
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

US Army Retired (Pre-2007)

 Unofficial Badges 

Artillery Shoulder Cord

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Joseph May Swing (February 28, 1894 - December 9, 1984) was a Lieutenant General in the United States Army, who commanded the 11th Airborne Division during the campaign to liberate the Philippines in World War II.

LTG Swing was commissioned in the field artillery. He served with the Punitive Expedition into Mexico in 1916 and 1917 and with the 1st Division during World War I. During the interwar period, Swing graduated from the Command and General Staff School and the Army War College, was an instructor at the Field Artillery School, and served as chief of staff of the 2nd Division and artillery commander for the 1st Cavalry Division.


In February 1942, Swing, with the rank of brigadier general, was appointed artillery commander for the 82nd Infantry Division, which was converted into the army's first airborne division that summer. Quickly becoming a disciple of the airborne concept, Swing, promoted to major general, was named commander of the newly created 11th Airborne Division in December 1942. While training the division, Swing headed a special board that recommended numerous changes in the use of airborne troops after their disappointing performance in operations in 1942 and 1943. In maneuvers at the end of 1943, he demonstrated with his 11th Airborne Division how airborne forces could overwhelm an enemy, ending any doubts in the army hierarchy about the use of airborne troops in division-size units.

Swing took his division to the Southwest Pacific Theater in May 1944. In the fall, it was committed, as light infantry, to the struggle for Leyte Island in the Philippines. In 1945, Swing's men, fighting both as light infantry and airborne troops, participated in the bitter battle for Manila, helped clear southern Luzon Island of Japanese, and assisted in mopping-up operations in northern Luzon. In August 1945, Swing's division deployed to Japan as the vanguard of the Allied occupation force there.

Swing remained with the division until the end of 1947. He then served successively as commander of the I Corps, commandant of the Army War College, and commander of the Sixth Army. Retiring from the army in February 1954 as a lieutenant general, he then served as Commissioner, Bureau of Immigration & Naturalization 1954-61. Swing died in San Francisco, California, on 9 December 1984.

Other Comments:

The 11th Airborne Division was a United States Army airborne formation, first activated on 25 February 1943, during World War II. The division took part in several training exercises in 1943, including the Knollwood Maneuver. It played a vital part in this exercise, helping demonstrate that American airborne forces could operate successfully at up to divisional strength after the disappointing performance of the 82nd Airborne Division during Operation Husky. Held in reserve in the United States, the division did not take part in early Allied airborne operations. In June 1944, it transferred to the Pacific Theater.

On arrival in the Pacific, the division entered a period of intense training and acclimatization. By November it was combat-ready, and was transported to Leyte in the Philippines, seeing action in an infantry–not airborne–role. The 11th left Leyte in January 1945, and then took part in the invasion of Luzon, operating in two formations. The first formation deployed the division's two Glider Infantry Regiments as conventional infantry, securing a beachhead before fighting their way inland. The second formation, the division's single Parachute Infantry Regiment, was held in reserve for several days before conducting the division's first airborne operation, landing on Tagatay Ridge and linking up with the two glider infantry regiments. The re-combined division participated in the Liberation of Manila, the capital of the Philippines. Two companies of paratroopers from the division also conducted the famous Raid at Los Baños, liberating two thousand civilians held in a Japanese internment camp. The division's last World War II combat operation was in Aparri, aiding the advance of American forces in Northern Luzon, just before hostilities ended.

On 30 August 1945, the division moved to southern Japan, as part of the Occupation of Japan. The division remained in Japan for four years until May 1949, when it returned to the United States. It then became a training formation, while the 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment was detached from the division and saw service in the Korean War before returning to the United States. The division was deactivated 30 June 1958 and then reactivated 1 February 1963 as the experimental 11th Air Assault Division (Test), to explore the theory and practicality of helicopter assault tactics. It was finally deactivated on 29 June 1965 with all of its personnel and equipment coming under the command of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).

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 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
4th Field Artillery Battalion8th Field Artillery Battalion1st Infantry Division1st Field Artillery Battalion
Army War College (Staff)6th Field Artillery Battalion2nd Infantry Division1st Cavalry Division
82nd Airborne DivisionDepartment of the Army (DA)11th Airborne DivisionI Corps
Field Artillery Center & School (Staff)6th Army (Sixth Army)
  1915-1916, HHB, 4th Field Artillery Battalion
  1916-1917, 8th Field Artillery Battalion
  1917-1918, 1st Infantry Division
  1918-1921, Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army
  1921-1925, 1st Field Artillery Battalion
  1927-1934, Field Artillery Center & School (Staff)
  1934-1935, Army War College (Staff)
  1935-1938, 6th Field Artillery Battalion
  1938-1940, 2nd Infantry Division
  1941-1942, HHC, 1st Cavalry Division
  1942-1942, HHC, 82nd Airborne Division
  1942-1943, Department of the Army (DA)
  1943-1948, 11th Airborne Division
  1948-1949, I Corps
  1949-1950, Field Artillery Center & School (Staff)
  1950-1951, Army War College (Staff)
  1951-1954, 6th Army (Sixth Army)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1916-1916 Mexican Service Campaign (1911-1919)/Battle of Columbus (1916)
  1918-1918 World War I/Aisne Campaign/World War I/The Battle of Cantigny
  1943-1943 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Sicily Campaign (1943)/Operation Husky
  1944-1944 Leyte Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of Leyte
  1944-1944 Leyte Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of Mindoro
  1945-1945 WWII - Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Luzon Campaign (1944-45)
  1945-1945 WWII - Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Western Pacific Campaign (1944-45)
  1945-1945 Luzon Campaign (1944-45)/Raid at Los Banos
  1945-1945 Luzon Campaign (1944-45)/Battle for Manila
  1945-1945 WWII - Asiatic-Pacific Theater
  1945-1945 WWII - Asiatic-Pacific Theater
 Colleges Attended 
United States Military Academy
  1911-1915, United States Military Academy
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