Lester, James Allen, MG

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Last Rank
Major General
Last Service Branch
Field Artillery
Primary Unit
1948-1953, USAG Presidio of San Francisco
Service Years
1915 - 1953

Field Artillery

Major General

Sixteen Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
South Carolina
South Carolina
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Lester, James Allen, MG USA(Ret).
Contact Info
Home Town
Prosperity, South Carolina
Last Address
San Francisco, California

Date of Passing
Mar 10, 1958
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Plot: Sec: 30, Site: 51 RH

 Official Badges 

US Army Retired (Pre-2007)

 Unofficial Badges 

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
James Allen Lester passed from this earth suddenly in Letterman Army Hospital at San Francisco, California, on March 10, 1958. His remains were interred with the honors of a Major General in Arlington National Cemetery on March 19, 1958. Despite the inclement weather, a large group of relatives and friends were present to do honor to a devoted husband, brother and friend. 

Jimmie—he was always known as “Jimmie” to his friends—was born in Prosperity, South Carolina, on October 13, 1891. He was graduated at the head of his class from The Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina in 1911 with a Bachelor of Science degree. It was most fitting that after his long and distinguished career he should be honored with a Doctor of Military Science degree from his Alma Mater in June 1949. He entered the United States Military Academy in 1911 with the Class of 1915. Jimmie will be remembered as a cadet for his keen honor, his vivacity, and his bubbling enthusiasm. His worth as a cadet was recognized by his tactical officers and he wore chevrons as one of the more military of his class.

When he graduated from the Military Academy, he stood sufficiently high academically to be assigned to the Engineer Corps but chose the Field Artillery which was his ardent desire. Throughout his service he was identified as one of the leading exponents of this branch. As a subaltern he served with the 5th, 16th and 13th Field Artillery Regiments. In World War I he went to France with the 4th Division in command of a battalion of the 13th Field Artillery. Later, he was on the staff of the Chief of Artillery of the First Army. In World War I, Jimmie participated in the Aisne-Marne Offensive, the Champagne-Marne Offensive, the St. Mihiel Offensive, and the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Later he served in the War Plans and Operations Division in the Office of the Chief of Field Artillery. Next he attended the Advanced Course of the Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, following which he was detailed with the 17th Field Artillery at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Later on, he was assigned to the Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, as Assistant Commandant. In World War II he was Division Artillery Officer of the 24th Infantry Division and left early for the Pacific Theater of War. In this capacity he served in the Solomon Islands and New Guinea, and was in the invasion of Luzon, Philippine Islands, as Corps Artillery Officer of the XIV Corps.

Jimmie’s military career included graduation from the Command and General Staff School and the Army War College. He was also a graduate of the French Ecole Superieure de Guerre, one of the few to have such a privilege.

Among his other assignments, he was instructor in the First Officers’ Training Camp at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, in World War I. Following World War I he served with the Atlanta General Supply Depot, a brief time with the Quartermaster General’s Office, with the General Staff of the V Corps Area Headquarters, and with G-2 of the War Department General Staff. He was P.M.S.&T. for three years at Yale University, after which service he was Assistant Military Attache in Paris, France, for four years.

For more than six years Jimmie was in the Pacific Theater. When the war was over, he was assigned Provost Marshal General of the Philippine Islands and Commanding General of the Philippine Constabulary. He was chosen to command the 24th Infantry Division in the occupation of Japan. After two years on this detail he was selected to be the Chief of Staff of the Eighth Army. He returned to the United States in August 1948 when he was placed in command of the Port of Embarkation of San Francisco. This was his last tour of duty, as he retired in January, 1953, as a Major General.

In his distinguished military career, Jimmie was the recipient of many decorations including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Commendation Medal with Pendant, the Bronze Star Medal, the Philippine Distinguished Star, and the French Legion of Honor.

In 1925 Jimmie was united in marriage with Miss Mildred (Millie) Minor White in Washington, D.C. The devoted couple served first at Fort Sill, and were together always except for the 4 1/2 years during World War II when Jimmie was overseas. Theirs was a happy life together. Millie plans to move from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. Besides Millie, Jimmie is survived by three sisters, Mrs. J.D. Quattlebaum, Mrs. James F. Davis and Mrs. G.G. Caughman, all of Columbia, South Carolina.

Jimmie had a varied career in the Army, and he performed all of his tasks in a superb manner. He loved his profession and he worked hard to see that every detail was correct. That he did so was evidenced by each of his commanding officers, who, without exception, made note of the facts that his duties were not only well done but were done in a superior fashion. What satisfaction our Jimmie must have gotten out of the knowledge that his efforts were appreciated by those in command! In his last assignment, as Chief of the San Francisco Port of Embarkation, he handled the big job of moving troops and supplies for the Korean conflict with ardor and dispatch which evoked the admiration of all who know the facts.

Not only did the officers in command compliment his good work but those with whom he worked were fond of him. They admired his know-how, his efficiency, and his interest in his work. They loved his ready smile and his sense of good humor. Yes, Jimmie was a soldier and a leader in every respect. He liked soldiers and they liked him; they carried out their missions with zeal and enthusiasm because their leader radiated these qualities. Whatever he did, those with whom he was associated were friendly to him.

Millie lost a beloved husband, his sisters a dear brother, and his friends a tried and true friend when his voice was stilled by the Omnipotent. He was truly one of Nature’s noblemen; an unimpeachable character, and in every sense a gentleman, a patriot and soldier whom everyone admired, respected and loved. 

May he rest in peace in the arms of his Maker.

-P. J. M.

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 Unit Assignments
13th Field Artillery Battalion 24th Infantry DivisionUSAG Presidio of San Francisco
  1915-1916, Army Garrison, Fort Sill, OK
  1916-1917, Army Garrison Fort Bliss, TX
  1917-1917, Army Garrison Fort Hancock, TX
  1917-1917, Army Garrison, Fort Sill, OK
  1917-1919, 13th Field Artillery Battalion
  1942-1948, 00GC, 24th Infantry Division
  1948-1953, USAG Presidio of San Francisco
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1916-1916 Mexican Service Campaign (1911-1919)/Pancho Villa Expedition (1916-1917)
  1917-1918 World War I
  1918-1918 Occupation of Germany, 1919 to 1923
  1942-1945 WWII - Asiatic-Pacific Theater
  1945-1948 US Occupation of Germany (WWII)
 Colleges Attended 
CitadelUnited States Military Academy
  1911-1913, Citadel
  1913-1915, United States Military Academy
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