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Lunsford Errett Oliver
Nickname "Bugs"
Born March 17, 1889
Died October 13, 1978(1978-10-13) (aged 89)
Place of birth Nemaha, Nebraska
Place of death Williamsburg, Massachusetts
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Department of the Army Seal United States Army
Years of service 1913 - 1948
Rank US-O8 insignia Major General
Commands held Combat Command B, 1st Armored Division; 5th Armored Division
Battles/wars

Pancho Villa Expedition
World War I
World War II

Awards Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit (2)
Silver Star
Bronze Star (3)

Lunsford Errett Oliver (March 17, 1889 – October 13, 1978) was an American soldier, who commanded the 5th Armored Division during World War II.

Early life and Army Career Before World War IIEdit

Lunsford Erret Oliver was born on March 17, 1889 in Nemaha, Nebraska as a son of Thomas Jefferson Oliver and the former Mary Lorraine Evans.[1] He attended the United States Military Academy and graduated in 1913. Subsequently he was commissioned into the Corps of Engineers as Second Lieutenant.[2]

Oliver served at Fort Brown as supply officer during Pancho Villa Expedition. He graduated from the Engineer School, then at Fort Belvoir in 1916. Lunsford Oliver stayed in active service during World War I, organizing and training railway engineer battalions. After the war, he contributed to the Mississippi River Flood Control Project.[3] and then between years 1924 - 1927 served as an engineer in Alaska Road Commission, which was responsible for the construction of many important Alaska highways. In 1928, he attended the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for further military education.

During the years 1933 - 1937, Oliver served as an District Engineer in Vicksburg, Mississippi and in 1938, he attended United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.[4] After his Army War College studies, Oliver was assigned as an instructor at Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He served in this capacity until year 1940, when he was assigned as the Armored Force Engineer at Fort Knox. While there, Colonel Oliver initiated the research that led to the development of the steel treadway bridge.

Service in World War IIEdit

Colonel Oliver was assigned to 1st Armored Division in January 1942 to assume command of Combat Command B (CCB), then promoted to the rank of brigadier general on February 16, 1942. The division deployed to Ireland on May 6, 1942 to train for eventual operations in North Africa. In September, BG Oliver went to London to assist in the planning for Operation Torch (Allied invasion of Northwest Africa). Oliver was promoted to the rank of major general on November 20, 1942,[5] then Combat Command B under his command landed successfully near the city of Oran in late November 1942 and started to advance toward the Djedeida airfield, occupying it with little resistance on November 28, 1942. Major General Oliver was awarded with the Army Distinguished Service Medal.[6] Combat Command B encountered its first major enemy resistance at Medjez-el-bab, Tunisia where they fought for fours days starting on December 6, 1942.

Oliver was appointed the commander of 5th Armored Division, where he succeeded Brigadier General Sereno E. Brett at Camp Cooke in early 1943. MG Oliver led the division throughout the remainder of the war, including training in the Mojave Desert near Needles, California through March 1943, the Tennessee Maneuvers through the Summer, and final validation and reorganization of the division at Pine Camp (Now Fort Drum, New York) through the Winter into early 1944. MG Oliver led the division on two ships to England, arriving on February 24, 1944. The division served in Western Europe starting with landing on Utah Beach on July 26, 1944 until Victory in Europe Day and after. The 5th Armored Division, under MG Oliver's command, was the first division to reach the Seine River, the first division to reach Luxembourg, the first division to fight in Germany, and when halted by orders from Ninth Army, the division sat 45 miles from Berlin, closer than any other Allied division.[7]

DecorationsEdit

Bronze oakleaf-3d
Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg
Silver Star ribbon.svg
Bronze oakleaf-3d
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg
Bronze oakleaf-3d
Bronze oakleaf-3d
Bronze Star ribbon.svg
Mexican Border Service Medal ribbon.svg World War I Victory Medal ribbon.svg American Defense Service ribbon.svg
American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg
Arrowhead
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.svg
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg
Army of Occupation ribbon.svg Legion Honneur Chevalier ribbon.svg Croix de guerre 1939-1945 with palm.jpg
1st Row Army Distinguished Service Medal w/ OLC
2nd Row Silver Star Legion of Merit w/ OLC Bronze Star w/ two OLCs
3rd Row Mexican Border Service Medal World War I Victory Medal American Defense Service Medal
4th Row American Campaign Medal European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal w/ four service stars and Arrowhead device World War II Victory Medal
5th Row Army of Occupation Medal w/ Germany Clasp Chevalier of the Legion of Honour French Croix de guerre 1939–1945 with Palm

ReferencesEdit

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