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LTG George P. Hays
Medal of Honor Recipient
George P. Hays was born in 1892 in China, where his parents were missionaries. He spent his youth in El Reno, Oklahoma, graduating from high school there and from Oklahoma A&M (Oklahoma State University now)with a B.S. degree. He earned a commission early in World War I and was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division. He remained with that division throughout the war, participating in the fighting at Chateau-Thiery,Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne.
In the second battle of the Marne, General Hays earned the Nation's highest tribute, the Congressional Medal of Honor. He personally carried vital messages between front line units and their supporting artillery. Seven horses were shot from under him.
Between World War I and II, General Hays attended various Army schools including the battery officers course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, 1921-22; Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 1932-34; and Army War College, 1939-40. Between these schools he served as Assistant PMS&T at Cornell 1922-26; with the 18th Field Artillery school troops at Fort Sill from 1926-30; the 24th Field Artillery, Fort Stotsenberg, Philippine Islands,from 1930-32; the 6th Field Artillery, Ft. Hoyle, Maryland, 1934-36 and as G-4,Sixth Corps Area, From 1936 to 1939.
General Hays organized and commanded the 99th field Artillery, Pack in 1940,remaining in command until 1941, when he went to the Operations Division of the War Department and then to GHQ as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3. He served in that capacity until he joined the 2nd Infantry Division in March 1942 as commanding general of artillery. While the division was in Northern Ireland training for the invasion of the continent, he was assigned in Italy as temporary artillery commander of the 34th Division in the assault on Cassino. He then returned to the 2nd Division artillery which landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day plus-one. He remained with the division through the reduction of Brest and the initial actions against the Siegfried Line, then was assigned to command the 10th Mountain Division, and lead it into action inItaly.
The 10th, the only U.S. mountain division, made up largely of trained mountaineers, skiers and woodsmen, was engaged in some of the heaviest fighting in the Apennines to clear the way for the 5th Army's advance.
With the end of World War II hostilities, the 10th had the task of occupying Trieste and the disputed Venesia-Giulia province. The division was inactivated November 30, 1945 at Camp Carson, Colorado.
General Hays then commanded the 4th Infantry Division until it too was inactivated at Camp Butner, North Carolina in March 1946. He then joined the Sixth Army as deputy commander at Ninth Service Command Headquarters. With the inactivation of the Service and the transfer of its functions to the Sixth Army, General Hays resumed duty as deputy commander of the Sixth Army.
In September, 1947, General Hays was appointed deputy military governor for Germany. Three months later, he became commanding general of the Office of Military Government for Germany with station at Berlin. He was designated Deputy High commissioner for Germany in December, 1949, and in April, 1952, became commander of the U.S. Forces in Austria, with station at Salzburg.
In addition to the Congressional Medal of Honor, General Hays has received the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star Medal. His foreign decorations include the British Companion of the Bath, the French Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre with Palm, the Italian War Cross, and Montenagro's Prince Danilo Medal.
General and Mrs. Hays, the former Miss Glayds Stepto, of London, England, have two children, George J. Hays and Mrs. James H. King.
LTG George P. Hays died in 1978.
Medal of Honor citation
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, United States Army, 10th Field Artillery, 3d Division.
Place and date: Near Greves Farm, France, 14-July 15, 1918.
Entered service at: Okarche, Oklahoma.
Born: September 27, 1892, China.
General Orders No.34. War Department, 1919.
Citation: At the very outset of the unprecedented artillery bombardment by the enemy, his line of communication was destroyed beyond repair. Despite the hazard attached to the mission of runner, he immediately set out to establish contact with the neighboring post of command and further establish liaison with 2 French batteries, visiting their position so frequently that he was mainly responsible for the accurate fire therefrom. While thus engaged, 7 horses were shot under him and he was severely wounded. His activity under most severe fire was an important factor in checking the advance of the enemy.