Blanding, Albert Hazen, LTG

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Lieutenant General
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
00GC-Commanding General
Last MOS Group
General Officer
Primary Unit
1940-1945, Selective Service Commission
Service Years
1895 - 1940


Lieutenant General

Two Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

16 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Blanding, Albert Hazen, LTG USA(Ret).
Contact Info
Home Town
Bartow, FL
Last Address

Date of Passing
Dec 26, 1970
Location of Interment
Evergreen Cemetery - Gainesville, Florida
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team 53rd Infantry Brigade Infantry Shoulder Cord US Army Retired (Pre-2007)

French Fourragere

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Post 3
  1922, American Legion, Post 3 (Member) (Bartow, Florida) [Verified] - Chap. Page

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

He was born in 1876, the year Custer made his last stand against the Sioux Indians and died the year after Americans landed on the moon. He was a private of Florida State Troops, and a lieutenant general of the Florida National Guard. He served on the Mexican Border, and in France, and in Belgium. He was a farmer and dealer in lumber products. He helped bring relief to Floridians suffering from the ravages of nature or of disorderly citizens. He served the Guard as its National Bureau Chief, and his state as a wartime coordinator of civil defense. He was active in civic affairs, and grew prize-winning flowers. He was Albert Hazen Blanding, Florida’s most nationally prominent Guardsmen.

Albert Blanding was born in Iowa on the 9th of November, 1876, and when he was only two years old his family moved to central Florida. In Florida he grew to young manhood, attending the East Florida Seminary, today’s University of Florida. In 1895, he enlisted as a private in the Gainesville Guards, Florida State Troops. In 1899, his superior skills and abilities brought him a promotion to Captain of Florida’s 2nd Regiment, with which he was destined to serve until 1917, finishing as its commanding officer on the Mexican Border.

America went to war with Germany in 1917. In the early months of conflict, Albert Blanding was one of only eight National Guard officers elevated to the rank of General by President Woodrow Wilson. At first assigned duties with the 31st Division, he was later detached to serve in France and Belgium with French and American formations. The final months of the war found him in command of a brigade in the 27th Division. The 27th fought with the British Army in France and Flanders. Blanding was in command of the 53rd Infantry Brigade when the Allied army, including the 27th Division, broke the German Army’s final defense on the Western Front, from the Hindenberg Line. In 1919, a battle-tested and experienced Albert Blanding returned home to Florida.

Blanding presumed his active national service career was over. He resumed his duties with Florida’s Guard and reestablished his civilian career. But his talents as a military leader were not destined to remain unused long.

Commanding a division wasn’t to be his only service in the years between the two World Wars. In 1936, he was selected by President Roosevelt to be chief of the National Guard Bureau. Between 1936 and 1940, he was instrumental in obtaining the political and financial support at the national level to obtain the equipment and training necessary to prepare the country’s National Guard for the war many were certain was coming.

Blanding commanded the 31st Division during the Lousiana Army maneuvers of 1940, retiring from active service immediately afterward. He had served his state and nation for more than 40 years, but he wasn’t finished yet. With the onset of the Second World War, Blanding quietly retired in Florida, assumed duties as coordinator of the action forces of the state’s wartime civil defenses and as military advisor to the governor. He was to hold these positions until war’s end.

The last 25 years of Blanding’s life were spent quietly at his home in Barstow. He continued to be active in civic organizations and was willing to speak publicly on matters important to the Guard. But his primary occupation was tending to his large flower garden. His wife was the creator of new varieties and he was the gardener, hard work to which he attributed his long and healthy life. He died in 1970 at the age of 94.

As one of the true founders of the Florida National Guard, it is appropriate that the Guard’s state training camp near Starke is named for Albert Hazen Blanding. After all, he remains Florida’s most famous Guardsman. 

Other Comments:

Albert Hazan Blanding (November 9, 1876December 26, 1970) was an United States Army soldier. Among the most distinguished military figures in Florida's history, he was a recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross.


Blanding was born in Lyons, Iowa, but his family moved to Florida when he was two years old. Blanding attended East Florida Seminary in Gainesville, graduating in 1894. He was commissioned a captain in the Florida National Guard in 1899. At the time, he was a phosphate company executive.

Blanding was promoted to the rank of colonel in 1909 or 1910 and ran a turpentine, sawmill, and lumber business from 1910 to 1914 while active on the National Guard roster. In the 1916-1917 Pancho Villa Expedition, Blanding, then ranking Florida National Guard officer, led the Second Florida Infantry.

On August 5, 1917, Blanding was called up to serve in World War I, where he commanded the 53rd Brigade, 27th Division, as a brigadier general. After hostilities ceased, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and was discharged from the Army on March 1, 1919, after which he resumed his service to the Florida National Guard.

Blanding served as State of Florida Chairman for the American Legion for a time and was a member of the Florida Board of Control from 1922 to 1936. From 1936-1940, Blanding was Chief of the National Guard of the United States by appointment of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1939, he was honored by the establishment of a military station, Camp Blanding, in his name; this would become the primary military reservation and training station for the Florida National Guard. He was also recognized by the bestowal of the honorary rank of lieutenant general before his retirement in 1940.

The University of Florida awarded him Doctor of Laws in May 1942. During World War II he served on the Florida Board of the Selective Service System and helped found Everglades National Park.

Blanding died in 1970. He was designated a Great Floridian by the Florida Department of State in the Great Floridians 2000 Program. A plaque attesting to the honor is located at Bartow City Hall.

Camp Blanding was a major U.S. Army training facility during the Second World War. It was originally established as a state-owned training reservation in 1939 for the Florida National Guard. However, as war clouds materialized, the mobilization of reserve forces and the rapid expansion of the entire United States Army required Camp Blanding to be converted to a federal reservation. It was subsequently enlarged to house two complete infantry divisions along with many separate units.

Prior to turning Camp Blanding into an Infantry Replacement Center (IRTC) in 1943, dozens and dozens of army formations comprising hundreds of thousands of troops trained at Camp Blanding. Included were formations of Infantry, Cavalry, Tank Destroyer, Field Artillery, Engineer, Medical and other specialist troops. Nine entire Infantry Divisions trained at Camp Blanding:
1st ID (Big Red One), 29th ID (Blue & Gray), 30th ID (Old Hickory), 31st ID (Dixie), 36th ID (Texas), 43rd ID (Winged Victory), 63rd ID (Blood and Fire), 66th ID (Panther) and the 79th ID (Cross of Lorainne).

For most of 1944 and 1945, a very large percentage of the individuals sent to replenish the ranks of America’s combat infantry formations trained at the Camp’s IRTC. In Addition, the Camp was the site of a 2800-bed hospital, a German Prisoner of War Compound and at the war’s end, a Separation Center.

Following the war, Camp Blanding reverted to state control, and today is a Joint Training Site for the National Guard and other Reserve Components and some Active Component training.

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 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1895, Basic Training Waived (ARNG Pre WWII), F
 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
ARNG, FloridaU.S. Army53rd Infantry Brigade27th Infantry Brigade (Enhanced)
HQ, National Guard Bureau (NGB)31st Infantry DivisionSelective Service Commission
  1900-1917, HHD, Florida Army National Guard
  1917-1918, 31st Infantry Division
  1917-1919, American Expeditionary Force
  1918-1919, 53rd Infantry Brigade
  1918-1919, 27th Infantry Brigade (Enhanced)
  1919-1936, HHD, Florida Army National Guard
  1936-1940, HQ, National Guard Bureau (NGB)
  1940-1940, 31st Infantry Division
  1940-1945, Selective Service Commission
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1916-1917 Mexican Service Campaign (1911-1919)
  1918-1918 World War I/Aisne Campaign/World War I/The Battle of Cantigny
  1918-1918 World War I/World War I/Ypres-Lys Campaign
  1918-1919 Occupation of Germany, 1919 to 1923
 Colleges Attended 
University of Florida
  1940-1942, University of Florida
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