Raymond Albert Wheeler

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Raymond Albert Wheeler
Born(1885-07-31)July 31, 1885
Peoria, Illinois
DiedFebruary 9, 1974(1974-02-09) (aged 88)
Washington, D.C.
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army seal United States Army
Years of service1911-1949
RankUS-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Commands heldChief of Engineers (1945-1949)
Battles/warsVeracruz Expedition
World War I
World War II
AwardsDistinguished Service Medal (4)
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Hon. Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE)
Hon. Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE)

Raymond Albert Wheeler (July 31, 1885 in Peoria, Illinois – February 9, 1974) was a Lieutenant General in the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

Career[edit]

He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1911,[1] subsequently participating in the construction of the Panama Canal and working on engineering projects in Mexico with Douglas MacArthur, who was then a captain in the Corps of Engineers. He fought in France during World War I, for which he won the Silver Star and a Distinguished Service Medal.[2]

At the time the United States entered World War II, Wheeler was developing a transportation network in the Middle East to ship munitions to the Soviet Union, which involved the extensive rebuilding of the railroads and highways of Iraq and Iran.[2] In autumn 1943, he was appointed to the South East Asia Command (SEAC) of the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II on the staff of Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, where he served as principal administrative officer and directed construction of the Ledo Road.[2] From February 1944, he served as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, replacing General Vinegar Joe Stilwell,[1] and was the United States' representative in August 1945 at the Japanese surrender in Singapore.[2]

He served as Chief of Engineers for the United States Army Corps of Engineers from October 4, 1945 to February 28, 1949, managing major projects including the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Missouri Valley Development.[2] Following his retirement from the army, Wheeler joined the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development as an engineering consultant; among the projects he was consulted on was a 9,000‐mile survey of Indus basin water resources.[2] He directed the clearing of the Suez Canal following the 1956 Suez Crisis.[1]

Wheeler's military awards included the Silver Star, an Army Distinguished Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters[3] and the Legion of Merit. In 1947, he was appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE) for his construction of the Ledo Road,[2] and was also appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE, Military Division) in 1945.[1][4]

He died on February 9, 1974 at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He was survived by his widow, Virginia; a daughter, Mrs. William C. Wilkinson of Oakton, Va.; two sisters, Mrs. Visa W. Thrush and Estella M. Wheeler, and two grandchildren.[2][1]

Dates of rank[edit]

Insignia Rank Component Date
No insignia Cadet United States Military Academy 15 June 1907
No pin insignia at the time Second lieutenant Regular Army 13 June 1911
US-O2 insignia.svg First lieutenant Regular Army 3 September 1913
US-O3 insignia.svg Captain Regular Army 1 July 1916
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel National Army 2 November (accepted 6 November) 1918
US-O4 insignia.svg Major Regular Army 5 August 1917 (temporary)
1 July 1920 (permanent)
US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant colonel Regular Army 11 July 1918 (temporary)
1 August 1935 (permanent)
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel Regular Army 1 February 1940
US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier general Army of the United States 29 September 1941
US-O8 insignia.svg Major general Army of the United States 11 March 1942
US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant general Army of the United States 21 February 1944
US-O8 insignia.svg Major general Regular Army 1 October (accepted 4 October) 1945
US-O8 insignia.svg Major general Regular Army, Retired 24 January 1948
US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant general Regular Army, Retired 1 March 1949

Source:[5][6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Raymond Albert Wheeler". Arlington National Cemetery. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Gen. Raymond Wheeler Dead; Led Army Corps of Engineers". The New York Times. 1974-02-10. Retrieved 2018-03-31.
  3. ^ http://valor.militarytimes.com/recipient.php?recipientid=100469
  4. ^ "Communique'" (PDF). Press Information Bureau of India - Archive. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  5. ^ Official Army and Air Force Register, 1948, p. 1940.
  6. ^ Official Army Register, 1950, p. 868.
Military offices
Preceded by
Eugene Reybold
Chief of Engineers
1945—1949
Succeeded by
Lewis A. Pick