Prugh, George S., Jr., MG

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Last Rank
Major General
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
8103-Judge Advocate or Judge Advocate General
Last MOS Group
Judge Advocate General (Officer)
Primary Unit
1971-1975, DA Staff
Service Years
1939 - 1975


Major General

Five Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Prugh, George S., Jr., MG USA(Ret).
Contact Info
Home Town
Last Address
Moraga, CA

Date of Passing
Jul 06, 2006
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Army Staff Identification US Army Retired (Pre-2007) Honorably Discharged WW II Meritorious Unit Commendation 1944-1961

US European Command US Army Retired

 Unofficial Badges 

Artillery Shoulder Cord

 Military Association Memberships
Norfolk County Historical Society of Chesapeake, VA
  2018, Norfolk County Historical Society of Chesapeake, VA [Verified]

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Major General  Prugh was born in Norfolk, Virginia, on 1 June 1920.  He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1941, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.  Upon graduation, he began the study of law at Boalt Hall, University of California at Berkeley.  

In 1939, General Prugh enlisted in the 250th Coast Artillery Regiment, California National Guard, and in 1940 was discharged to enter the ROTC program at the University of California.  He was commissioned a second lieutenant in March, 1942, and entered active duty four months later after having completed one semester of law school.

His initial assignment was with the 19th Coast Guard Artillery Regiment, stationed at Fort Rosencrans, San Diego.  In 1944 he joined the 276th Coast Guard Artillery Battalion as battery commander in New Guinea and served there and in the Philippines.  

He returned to the United States in February 1945, was separated from active duty in May of that year, and resumed the study of law at Hastings College of Law, University of California, in San Francisco.  While still a student he accepted a Regular Army commission in November 1947 and received his Juris Doctor degree in May 1948. 

Upon his return to active duty, he was assigned to the Military Affairs Division, 6th Army, Presidio of San Francisco.  In 1949, he was transferred to the Office of The Judge Advocate General (OTJAG), Headquarters, Department of the Army, where he served in the Military Litigation-Claims Division.  In 1950, he was assigned to the Wetzlar Military Post near Frankfurt, Germany, where he served as a trial counsel.  

In 1951 he was reassigned to the Rhine Military Post, Western Area Command, in Kaiserslautern, Germany.  He returned to OTJAG in 1953, serving as a member of the Board of Review (later renamed the Army Court of Military Review and then the Army Court of Criminal Appeals), and then in the Opinions Branch, Military Justice Division.    

Following attendance at Command and General Staff College, MG Prugh served as the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, 8th United States Army, Korea.  In 1958 he began a three year tour as Deputy Staff Judge Advocate and Assistant Executive for Reserve Affairs, 6th Army, Presidio of San Francisco, and then attended the U.S. Army War College, graduating in 1962.  MG Prugh then returned to OTJAG, serving as the Chief of OTJAG's Career Management Division, and then as Executive to The Judge Advocate General. 

In 1964 General Prugh began a two-year tour as Staff Judge Advocate, United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam.  In 1966 he was assigned as Legal Advisor, U.S. European Command, in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France, and later Stuttgart, Germany.  In 1969 he became the Judge Advocate, U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, in Heidelberg, Germany, and was promoted to Brigadier General in November of that year.  General Prugh became The Judge Advocate General of the Army on 1 July 1971.  Upon his retirement in 1975, General Prugh joined the faculty of his alma mater, Hastings College of Law, where he taught until 1982.   

General Prugh is survived by his wife, Bunty; two daughters, Lieutenant Colonel Patt Prugh, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, and Stephanie Beach; five grandchildren, Joseph Beach, David Beach, Kirstin Chiasson, Meghan Walsh, and Kathleen Walsh; and three great grandchildren, Katherine Beach, Elizabeth Chiasson, and Andrew Chiasson. 

Other Comments:

Retired Army Major General George S. Prugh Jr., a Bay Area resident who was credited with helping to save the lives of American prisoners of war in Vietnam, died July 6, 2006, at the age of 86.

Major General Prugh, in his role as an Army lawyer, persuaded the South Vietnamese ambassador to grant POW status to Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War. The U.S.-backed designation gave the enemy combatants international protections and set humane standards for their treatment under the Geneva Conventions.

"Prugh realized that if the South Vietnamese continued to treat the Viet Cong as criminals and dealt with them in their own way that there was no way the captured Americans would survive,'' said retired Col. Fred Borch, a historian with the U.S. Army's Judge Advocate General's Corps, the legal arm of the service.

Another time, Major General Prugh, who from 1971 to 1975 served as Judge Advocate General -- the top Army lawyer -- stood up to President Richard Nixon. The case involved the 1968 My Lai Massacre in which U.S. soldiers, under the command of Lieutenant William Calley, killed hundreds of apparently unarmed civilians in a South Vietnamese village. In a military trial, Calley was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Nixon, under political pressure, wanted to decide Calley's appeal himself, but Major General Prugh held firm that the president didn't have the authority to make that decision, and the case remained within the judiciary.

Major General Prugh began his military career during World War II and served during the Korean and Vietnam wars. Trained at UC's Boalt Hall School of Law in Berkeley and Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, his studies were interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. He served as battery commander in the Coast Guard in New Guinea and the Philippines.

He returned to the Bay Area to resume his law studies in 1945. A year before he received his law degree, he accepted an Army commission. His first assignment was to the Army's Military Affairs Division in San Francisco's Presidio, not far from where he spent part of his boyhood years playing baseball on Marina district sandlots with Joe and Dom DiMaggio.

During his military career, he had stints in Asia, in Europe and at the Pentagon. At one point, he was legal adviser to General William Westmoreland, who commanded U.S. troops during the Vietnam War. One of his chief interests was to professionalize the Army's legal corps and to assure that soldiers accused of crimes and dereliction of duty had adequate representation, Borch said. Upon retirement from the Army in 1975, he taught law at Hastings until 1982.

Throughout his life, he was a student of history and carried on written correspondences with others over points of law, a passion one of his daughters described as Jeffersonian. He even penned a musical about the life of Swiss humanitarian Jean-Henri Dunant, the first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize who founded an organization later to be known as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Major General Prugh was born in Norwalk, Virginia, on June 1, 1920. He died in Moraga from complications related to Parkinson's

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 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1939, Basic Training Waived (ARNG Pre WWII), C
  1940, (Select in Colleges) (ROTC), C
 Unit Assignments
250th Coast ArtilleryUS Army Cadet CommandU.S. Army6th Coast Artillery Regiment (District)
276th Armored Field Artillery BattalionUS Army Reserve Command (USARC)6th ArmyUSAG Presidio of San Francisco
Army Legal Services AgencyArmy Legal Services Agency/Army Trial Defense ServiceUSAG KaiserslauternCommand and General Staff College (CGSC) Resident Course
8th Army, Korea (EUSA)Army War College (Staff)Army Garrison Military District of Washington (MDW)Military Assistance Command Vietnam MACV
US Army Europe (USAREUR)HQ, 7th ArmyGeneral Counsel of the US Army
  1939-1940, 250th Coast Artillery
  1940-1942, US Army Cadet Command
  1942-1942, Coast Artillery School
  1942-1944, 1193, 6th Coast Artillery Regiment (District)
  1944-1945, 276th Armored Field Artillery Battalion
  1945-1947, US Army Reserve Command (USARC)
  1948-1949, 6th Army
  1948-1949, USAG Presidio of San Francisco
  1949-1950, Army Legal Services Agency/Litigation Division
  1950-1951, Army Legal Services Agency/Army Trial Defense Service
  1951-1953, USAG Kaiserslautern
  1953-1955, Army Legal Services Agency/Army Court of Criminal Appeals
  1956-1957, Command and General Staff College (CGSC) Resident Course
  1957-1958, 8th Army, Korea (EUSA)
  1958-1961, 6th Army/HQ
  1961-1962, Army War College (Staff)
  1962-1964, Army Garrison Military District of Washington (MDW)
  1964-1966, Military Assistance Command Vietnam MACV
  1966-1967, US Army Europe (USAREUR)
  1969-1971, HQ, 7th Army
  1971-1975, General Counsel of the US Army
  1971-1975, DA Staff
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1945-1945 WWII - Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Western Pacific Campaign (1944-45)
  1945-1945 WWII - Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Luzon Campaign (1944-45)
  1945-1945 WWII - Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Surrender of Japan
  1964-1965 Vietnam War/Advisory Campaign (1962-65)
  1965-1965 Vietnam War/Defense Campaign (1965)
  1965-1966 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Campaign (1965-66)
 Colleges Attended 
University of California, Berkeley
  1937-1941, University of California, Berkeley
  1945-1948, University of California, Hastings College of Law
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