Magruder, John, BG

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Last Rank
Brigadier General
Last Service Branch
Military Intelligence
Last Primary MOS
9666-Counterintelligence Officer
Last MOS Group
Military Intelligence (Officer)
Primary Unit
1945-1946, 9666, United States Department of War
Service Years
1910 - 1946
Foreign Language(s)

Military Intelligence

Brigadier General

Sixteen Overseas Service Bars

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Magruder, John, BG USA(Ret).
Contact Info
Home Town
Woodstock, Virginia
Last Address

Date of Passing
Apr 30, 1958
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Plot: Sec: 3, Site: 4021-D-2

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US Army Retired (Pre-2007)

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 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
John Magruder (June 3, 1887 - April 30, 1958) was a Brigadier general in the U.S. Army. Among his offices was that of Deputy Director for Intelligence for the Office of Strategic Services.

John Magruder was born on June 3, 1887 in Woodstock, Virginia. He attended the Virginia Military Institute and graduate in 1909. He was commissioned a Second lieutenant in Infantry in 1910. He was transferred to the Field Artillery branch of the Army in the next year.

During the World War I, Magruder served with the 112th Field Artillery within the American Expeditionary Forces in France. Magruder was transferred to China after war, where he was appointed an Assistant Military Attaché in Beijing. He served in this capacity until 1924, when he was assigned for study at Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

After his graduation, Magruder was transferred back to Beijing, now in the new capacity of Military Attaché.

During WWII Magruder served as Donovan's Deputy Director for Intelligence in the OSS.

In October 1945 the OSS was dissolved and its functions were split between the Departments of State and War. State received the Research and Analysis Branch of OSS which was renamed the Interim Research and Intelligence Service (IRIS) and headed by Alfred McCormack. The Department of War took over the Secret Intelligence (SI) and Counter-espionage (X-2) Branches of the OSS that were housed in a new office created for just this purpose - The Strategic Services Unit (SSU). The Secretary of War appointed Brigadier General John Magruder as director to oversee the liquidation, and more importantly the preservation of the OSS' clandestine intelligence capability.

Magruder received his assignment from John McCloy:

"This assignment of the OSS a method of carrying out the desire of the President, as indicated by representatives of the Bureau of the Budget, that these facilities of OSS be examined over the next three months with a view to determining their appropriate disposition. Obviously, this will demand close liaison with the Bureau of the Budget, the State Department, and other agencies of the War Department, to insure that the facilities and assets of OSS are preserved for any possible future use....The situation is one in which the facilities of an organization, normally shrinking in size as a result of the end of fighting, must be preserved so far as potentially of future usefulness to the country."

The following day, Robert P. Patterson, the new Secretary of War, confirmed this directive and endorsed McCloy's interpretation, formally ordering Magruder to "preserve as a unit such of these functions and facilities as are valuable for permanent peacetime purposes". With this order, Patterson postponed indefinitely any assimilation of OSS's records and personnel into the War Department's G-2.

General Magruder soon had to explain this unorthodox arrangement to sharp-eyed Congressmen and staff. Rep. Clarence Cannon, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, asked Magruder on 2 October about the OSS contingents sent to the State and War Departments and the plans for the OSS's unspent funds (ca. $4.5 million). Magruder explained that he did not quite know what the State Department would do with Research and Analysis (R&A). When Cannon asked about the War Department's contingent, the general read ou loud from the Secretary of War's order to preserve OSS's more valuable functions "as a unit."3 Two weeks later, staffers from the House Military Affairs Committee asked why the War Department suddenly needed both SSU and the G-2:

"General Magruder explained that he had no orders to liquidate OSS (other than, of course, those functions without any peacetime significance) and that only the Assistant Secretary of War (McCloy) could explain why OSS had been absorbed into the War Department on the basis indicated. He said he felt, however,...that the objective was to retain SSU intact until the Secretary of State had surveyed the intelligence field and made recommendations to the President.The committee Committee conceded with the arrangement but hinted that both SSU and the remnant of R&A in the State Department ought to be "considerably reduced in size."

"To keep morale high despite the thousands of dismissals, General Magruder told his lieutenants in autumn 1945 that SSU was quietly winning friends in high places, but repeatedly pointed out the need for discretion, noting that "some people" did not like SSU "and the less said about (the Unit) the better."

Instead of reducing the budget of both IRIS and SSU the Truman administration eventually convinced Congress to increase funding for both pieces of OSS.
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 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)Command and General Staff College (CGSC) CourseDefense Attache Office (USDAO), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)Army War College (Staff)
ROTC Virginia Military Institute (Cadre), HQ, US Army Cadet CommandUnited States Department of War1st Brigade, 1st Infantry DivisionJoint U.S. Military Advisory Group to the Republic of China (JUSMAG China)
Office of Strategic Services
  1918-1919, 112th Field Artillery Battalion
  1920-1924, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
  1924-1925, Command and General Staff College (CGSC) Course
  1925-1926, United States Defense Attache Office, Peking, China, Defense Attache Office (USDAO)
  1926-1930, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
  1930-1931, Army War College (Staff)
  1932-1935, ROTC Virginia Military Institute (Cadre), HQ, US Army Cadet Command
  1935-1939, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
  1938-1941, United States Department of War
  1941-1941, 00GC, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division
  1941-1943, 9666, Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group to the Republic of China (JUSMAG China)
  1943-1944, 00GC, Office of Strategic Services
  1944-1944, 9666, United States Department of War
  1944-1945, 9666, Intelligence & Operations - Far East Theater, Office of Strategic Services
  1945-1946, 9666, United States Department of War
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1918-1918 World War I
  1941-1945 World War II
 Colleges Attended 
Virginia Military InstituteCommand and General Staff CollegeArmy War College
  1905-1909, Virginia Military Institute
  1925-1926, Command and General Staff College
  1930-1931, Army War College
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