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Bill Thayer

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 [decorative delimiter] Class of 1892

Vol. IV

(Born Mo.)

John H. Parker

(Ap'd Mo.)


Born Tipton, MO.​a1

Military History. — Cadet at the U. S. M. A., from June 16, 1888, to June 11, 1892, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to

(Second Lieut. of Infantry, 13th Infantry, June 11, 1892)

Served: In Department of the Missouri until Oct. 1, 1894; Department of the East from Oct. 1, 1894 until Sept. 1, 1897. — Infantry and Cavalry School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., as student officer, from Sept. 1, 1897 until April 26, 1898.

(First Lieut. of Infantry, 25th Infantry, April 26, 1898)

— Joined regiment at Tampa, Fla., April 26, 1898; detached to command Gatling Gun Detachment, 5th Army Corps, May 26, 1898; commanded same throughout Santiago campaign and until Sept. 1, 1898. — Assistant Mustering Officer for Kansas from Oct. 17, 1898 to ––––

(Major, 40th U. S. Volunteer Infantry, Aug. 17, 1899)

(Transferred to 39th U. S. Volunteer Infantry, Sept. 23, 1899)

Civil History. — Author of The Gatlings at Santiago, and Tactical Organization and Uses of Machine Guns in the Field.

Vol. V
[Supplement, Vol. V: 1900‑1910]

Military History. — Served: Detached to command Gatling Gun Detachment, 5th Army Corps, May 26, 1898; commanded same throughout Santiago campaign and until Sept. 1, 1898; Assistant Mustering Officer for Kansas, from Oct. 17, 1898 to Feb. 1, 1899; Alabama, Feb. 1 to May, 1899; Georgia, May 1 to June 1, 1899; general recruiting service, Dec. 1, 1901 to Dec. 1, 1903, State of Maine.

(First Lieut., 13th Infantry, April 26, 1898)

(Transferred to 25th Infantry, March 28, 1899)

(Captain, 28th Infantry, Feb. 2, 1901)

— Regimental Commissary, July 4, 1904; Depot Commissary, Maneuver Camp, Atascadero, Cal., Aug.‑Sep., 1904; Commissary, Fort Snelling, Oct., 1904 to July 1, 1906; Field Quartermaster of regiment, maneuvers, 1906; Quartermaster in charge of transportation, Camp Benjamin Harrison, Maneuver Camp, General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Carter, Aug.‑Sep., 1906; Field Quartermaster of regiment for trip to Cuba, Oct., 1906; Regimental Quartermaster, Oct. 16, 1906 to Jan. 31, 1908; detached to  p496 organize the first Provisional Machine Gun Company of the United States Army, Jan. 31, 1908, with instructions to write the drill, devise the most suitable organization for service with a regiment of Infantry for machine guns, and prepare treatise on the tactical uses of machine guns.

Civil History. — Author of The Gatlings at Santiago, and Tactical Organization and Uses of Machine Guns in the Field;​b contributor on military and political topics to various leading magazines (Forum, Review of Reviews, etc.), and on professional topics to service periodicals; admitted to the Missouri Bar in Feb., 1906; member Geographical Society, Society of Foreign Wars, Sons of Veterans, and 32d Degree Mason; Adviser to Provincial Governor, Province of Matanzas, Cuba, March 1, 1907 to Jan. 31, 1908, in charge of municipal improvements in the province, which grew into a three million-dollar, national work, in 1908.

Vol. VI
[Supplement, Vol. VI: 1910‑1920]

(John Henry Parker, Born Sept. 19, 1866.)​a2

Military History. —

Captain, 28th Infantry, Feb. 2, 1901.

Regimental Quartermaster, Oct. 16, 1906, to Jan. 31, 1908, when he was detached to organize the first Provisional Machine Gun Company of the U. S. Army, with instructions to write the drill regulations, devise the most suitable organization for machine guns for service with a regiment of Infantry, and prepare treatise on tactical uses of machine guns; at Monterey, Cal., organized Provisional Machine Gun Company of three platoons in Co. "A", 20th Infantry; with 28th Infantry, March 26, 1909, to Aug. 15, 1910; at Boonville, Mo., Professor of Military Science and Tactics at Kemper Military School, August, 1910, to

(Assigned to 8th Infantry, May 22, 1913)

June, 1913; (awarded Gold Medal, Military Service Institute, 1911; at Springfield, Ill., with National Guard of Illinois, during summer encampment, July and August, 1913); at Jolo, Imus and Fort William McKinley, P. I., with 8th Infantry, from Oct. 26, 1913;

(Major, 8th Infantry, Nov. 21, 1914)

(Transferred to 24th Infantry, Sept. 1, 1915)

at Fort Leavenworth, Kans., student officer, Jan. 1 to March 31, 1916, when he completed the course for Field Officers; joined 24th Infantry at Columbus, N. M., April 6, 1916; commanding Train Guards of Punitive Expedition, to May 6, 1916; conducted Battalion on march into Mexico, during which the first use of trucks in transportation of Infantry in campaign was made; Commanding Base at Colonia Dublan, Mexico, May 13 to June 1, 1916; commanded Battalion to Aug. 1, 1916; Judge Advocate of Punitive Expedition from Nov. 6, 1916, to end; at Columbus, N. M., in charge of Mexican and Chinese Refugees to close of Refugee Camp, April 15, 1917; at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, organized and conducted School for Machine Gun Instructors, and compiled a "Doctrine for Machine Gun Employment" which was issued as an official training memorandum and was the prescribed standard of training in the A. E. F., April 15 to May 15, 1917;

(Lieut.‑Colonel of Infantry, May 15, 1917)

assigned to Staff of General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Pershing, May 26, 1917, and accompanied him to England with special assignment to obtain all possible information  p643 as to machine guns from English and French, to study their methods of organization and to recommend material and organization for American Forces; completed course of instruction at British Empire Machine Gun Center, Grantham, England; arrived in France, June 13, 1917; visited Fère-en‑Tardenois (French 6th Army Center), Chalons-sur‑Marne (French 4th Army Center), and made tour of combat lines of French Armies; on June 30, 1917, submitted report whose recommendations were immediately approved; detailed July 3, 1917, as member of Committee of General Staff to draft Tables of Organization relating to Machine Guns; conducted training of selected groups of Master Instructors at British and French Automatic Weapon Centers, July 10 to Aug. 5, 1917;

(Colonel of Infantry, National Army, Aug. 5, 1917)

on Aug. 5, 1917, detailed member of Committee to draft Tables of Organization for all American Forces, with special assignment to draft the sections dealing with automatic weapons; these tables became the standard organization of the American Forces during the World War; at Gondrecourt, France, Director Automatic Weapon School, organized and conducted School and prepared texts which were adopted as standards, Aug. 15 to Oct. 1, 1917; completed course of instruction in French School for "Chefs d'Ecole, d'Armée", Oct. 1 to 15, 1917; detailed Oct. 17, 1917, as Director, to organize and conduct Army Automatic Weapons School at Langres; organized and executed first machine gun barrage over heads of American troops, the Candidates for Officers' School volunteering unanimously to go under this barrage as Infantry to demonstrate its safety; at Luneville, France, undergoing course of instruction at French School for General Officers, and the only American Officer to complete the course successfully, Dec. 16, 1917, to Jan. 15, 1918; Commanding 102nd Infantry, Jan. 15 to July 31, 1918, and participated in all operations of 26th Division during this period; at Orly Field, Paris, conducting experiments in use of wireless telephone in connection with aeroplanes, tanks and Infantry, Aug. 1 to 15, 1918; (on Aug. 13 conducted first success­ful maneuver of fleet of aeroplanes in concert with tank and control station to represent Division Hdqrs., covering 26 kilometres from a height of 2000 meters); assigned to 90th Division, First Army, Aug. 16, 1918; served at Hdqrs., 90th Division to Sept. 16; joined 362 Infantry Sept. 16 on approach march to Argonne Offensive and commanded regiment to Sept. 29, when he was severely wounded; in hospital Sept. 30, 1918, to Jan. 2, 1919.

Awarded three wound chevrons (for gas injury to eyes, for machine gun wound in left arm, for shrapnel wounds in both legs); made Officer of the Legion of Honor (French); cited in Orders of 26th Division as having "shown marked gallantry and meritorious service in the capture of Torcy, Belleau, Givry, Bouresches Woods, Rochet Woods, Hill 190 over­looking Château Thierry, Etrepilly, Bezuet, Epieds, Trugny, and La Fere Woods to the Jaulgonne–Fère-en‑Tardenois Road during advance of this Division against the enemy from July 18 to 25, 1918, in the Second Battle of the Marne".

Awarded Croix-de‑Guerre and cited "An Officer of extraordinary courage; inspiring have regiment by the example of his bravery and coolness under the most concentrated fire. On July 25, 1918, when a battalion waiting for orders was suddenly exposed to extremely concentrated fire and began to break up, he rode through the battalion several times, speaking to the men and encouraging them by his example of calm bravery."


Distinguished Service Cross

"For extraordinary heroism in action at Seicheprey, France, April 20, 1918. During the engagement at Seicheprey, he went out in a withering hostile barrage to inspect his lines. Repeatedly he climbed upon the firing step of the trench, and, standing there with his back toward the enemy and with shell splinters falling about him, he talked to his men in such cool, calm terms as to reassure them and brace them up so that when he left they were in a cheerful state of mind and in better condition to ward against attack.

 p644  A bronze oak leaf is awarded to Col. Parker for the following act of extraordinary heroism: On July 21, 1918, near Trugny, France, he made a personal reconnaissance over a front of about 2 kilometers on horseback in the face of enemy fire and determined the strength of the German forces to insure the most advantageous approach for his troops to attack. Several times he was an inspiring figure to his men under a heavy artillery barrage and concentration of machine‑gun fire.

A bronze oak leaf is also awarded to Col. Parker for the following act of extraordinary heroism: On July 25, 1918, on the road through La Fere Wood, between Beuvardes and Le Charmel, France, a battalion just coming into the line was halted, awaiting orders. Subjected suddenly to an intense artillery concentration, the men, who had only such cover as was afforded by the shallow ditches along the road, were thrown into some confusion. At that moment Col. Parker came down the road on horseback. Immediately appreciating the situation, he twice rode down the line and back again at a slow walk, stopping to talk with the men; and thus by his fearless personal exposure to, and disregard of, danger, he promptly steadied the troops and prevented probable disorder at an important juncture."


Distinguished Service Medalc

"For exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services. As an instructor in the Army Machine Gun School at Langres, by his tireless efforts he secured the necessary equipment and ably instructed a large student body in the technical handling of one of the most important fire power weapons developed in the present war, rendering services of great value to the American Expeditionary Forces."

Assigned to command of Clignancourt Bks., Paris, and of most of American troops in Paris, Jan. 2, 1919; instituted system of Vocational Training for troops in Paris that led to adoption of Vocational Training for whole Army and to appropriation by Congress of two million dollars for this purpose; arrived in U. S., June 18, 1919, at Washington, D. C., in office of Chief of Staff, July 15 to Aug. 15, 1919; at St. Louis, Mo., on General Recruiting Service, Aug. 15, 1919, to ––––

Vol. VII
[Supplement, Vol. VII: 1920‑1930]

Military History: —

Distinguished Service Cross.

Distinguished Service Medal.


Three Oak‑Leaf Clusters.

 p349  Lieutenant-Colonel of Infantry, May 15, 1917.

Colonel of Infantry, National Army, Aug. 5, 1917.

At St. Louis, Mo., on General Recruiting Service, Aug. 15, 1919, to

Returned to Grade of Lieutenant-Colonel, Mar. 31, 1920.

Colonel of Infantry, July 1, 1920.

Mar. 15, 1921; commanding Jefferson Bks., Mo., Mar. 15 to Nov. 15, 1921; at St. Louis, Mo., Chief of Staff, 7th Corps, Organized Reserves, Jan. 15 to Dec. 15, 1922; at Kansas City, Mo., on recruiting duty, to Aug. 1, 1923; Corps Area Recruiting Officer to Feb. 29, 1924.

Colonel, U. S. A., Retired, Feb. 29, 1924,
At His Own Request, After Over 30 Years' Service.


Bronze Oak Leaf.

"For extraordinary heroism in action near Gesnes, France, Sept. 29, 1918. During the attack on the village of Gesnes he displayed great gallantry and fearlessness in leading and directing his front line with utter disregard for personal safety and urged his men forward by his personal example, all under heavy machine‑gun, high‑explosive gas‑shell and shrapnel fire. He was abreast of his front line until he fell, twice wounded, but thereafter remained in active command for a period of five hours, when he was relieved by the lieutenant-colonel of his regiment."

Awarded Silver Star and cited "for gallantry in action against Spanish forces at the battle of Santiago, Cuba, July 1, 1898."

[Supplement, Vol. VIII: 1930‑1940]

Military History: —

Col., Ret., Feb. 29, 1924.

Brig.‑Gen., Ret., June 13, 1940.
Act of June 13, 1940.

Awarded Croix de Guerre with Palm; Legion d'honneur, Officier; Etoile Noire, Commandeur; Gold Medal, M. S. I., 1911.

Vol. IX
[Supplement, Vol. IX: 1940‑1950]

Military History: —

Col Ret 29 Feb 24;

Brig Gen Ret 13 Jun 40.

Died Oct. 12, 1942 at Reno, Nev.: Aged 76.​d

Buried, San Francisco National Cemetery, San Francisco, CA.

Thayer's Notes:

a1 a2 Gen. Parker's birthdate is often given online as Sept. 9: an error now widely disseminated by its having been made on a widely-copied cult site. The Sept. 19 date given in the Register is confirmed by multiple sources printed during his lifetime, as for example One Thousand American Men of Mark (Chicago, Ill., 1916), "compiled from standard biographical publications and original sources", p37. He is also variously said to have been born in Sedalia, or in or near Tipton: the two towns are in different counties, but only about 40 km apart.

Most genealogical sites online, clearly referring to the same man (i.e., reporting the same death date), give the year of his birth on the other hand as 1888: an obvious error doubtless caused by misreading the final digits "66" as "88".

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b In the February 17, 1906 issue of the Army and Navy Register, p17, we also read:

Aguinaldo is the leading character in a drama written by Captain John H. Parker, 28th Infantry, stationed at Fort Snelling, Minn. Captain Parker first wrote a military novel styled "Brown of the Steenth,"º dealing with conditions in the Philippines after the capture of the Filipino chieftain and before the general insurrection was suppressed. This has now been dramatized.

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c Here, the Register as printed has "Distinguished Service Cross"; in correcting that manifest error — the citation following that line is not for heroism — I follow an anonymous hand in the printed copy I transcribed.

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d Gen. Parker is also variously said to have died on Oct. 13 or 14, and/or at the Presidio (the place of his burial).

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Page updated: 6 Apr 15