Double Victory: Minorities and Women During World War II
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Krueger, Walter (1881–1967)

U.S. Army general who commanded Sixth Army in the Pacific Theater. Born in Flatow, West Prussia, on 26 January 1881, Walter Krueger emigrated to the United States in 1889. He enlisted in the army during the 1898 Spanish-American War and saw action in Cuba and in the Philippine Insurrection, earning a commission in 1901. He graduated from the Infantry and Cavalry School in 1906 and the Command and General Staff School in 1907. He was a faculty member at the army's School of the Line and Staff College between 1909 and 1912. Captain Krueger participated in the 1916–1917 Punitive Expedition into Mexico. Sent to France during World War I, he rose to be chief of staff of the Tank Corps of the American Expeditionary Forces as a temporary colonel. He was then chief of staff for VI Corps in France and IV Corps in Germany.

Krueger graduated from the Army War College in 1921 and the Naval War College in 1926 and later taught at both schools before serving with the War Plans Division for three years. He was promoted to colonel in 1932 and brigadier general in 1936 and then headed the War Plans Division from 1936 to 1938. He next commanded a brigade and was promoted to major general in February 1939, thereafter taking command of the 2nd Division at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He went on to command VIII Corps, and in May 1941, he took command of Third Army as a temporary lieutenant general. Krueger's Third Army "won" the 1941 Louisiana training maneuvers.

When the United States entered World War II, there seemed little chance that Krueger would receive a battlefield command because of his advanced age and his skill as a trainer of soldiers. In January 1943, however, General Douglas MacArthur personally requested Krueger and Third Army for deployment to the southwest Pacific. Instead, the War Department transferred Krueger and some of his staff to Australia to activate Sixth Army. Krueger commanded Sixth Army in a series of widespread combat operations across the southwest Pacific until the end of the Pacific war, beginning with the occupation of Kiriwina and Woodlark Islands in June 1943. He headed operations against New Britain, the Admiralty Islands, New Guinea, Biak, and Morotai. By midsummer 1944, New Guinea was in Allied hands, and MacArthur was ready to return to the Philippines. Krueger led the landings at Leyte and the Lingayen Gulf. In the ensuing campaign, Sixth Army captured Manila and cleared most of Luzon Island. Promoted to general in March 1945, Krueger was scheduled to lead the invasion of Kyushu Island when Japan surrendered.

Critics thought Krueger too slow and methodical, but very few have complained about his low casualty rates relative to his successes. Although MacArthur may have been displeased at Krueger's slowness on Luzon, he still selected him to lead the planned invasion of Japan. Rarely seeking the limelight, Krueger enjoyed MacArthur's full confidence. After the war, Krueger remained with Sixth Army during the occupation of Japan. He retired in July 1946 and died on 20 August 1967 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Thomas D. Veve


Further Reading
Brown, John T. "Steady Ascension: A Biography of General Walter Krueger." Master's thesis, Georgia Southern University, 2002.; Krueger, Walter. From Down Under to Nippon: The Story of Sixth Army in World War II. Washington, DC: Combat Forces Press, 1953.; Leary, William M. "Walter Krueger: MacArthur's Fighting General." In William M. Leary, ed., We Shall Return! MacArthur's Commanders and the Defeat of Japan, 1942–1945, 60–87. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1988.
 

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