General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr.

July 18, 1886 - June 18, 1945

"Deadeyes" Remember General Buckner with Affection and Gratitude.

On July 19, 1954, Buckner was posthumously promoted to the rank of Four Star General

Gen bucknerGeneral Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. was the Commanding General of the Tenth Army as of September, 1944 until his passing

Photo courtesy of West Point Association of Graduates, permission given.

The Tenth Army was composed of both Army and Marine units

During the Battle of Okinawa the Tenth Army consisted of the 1st, 2nd and 6th Marine Divisions and the 7th, 27th, 77th and 96th Infantry Divisions.

 

Medals Earned by General Buckner

  • DSC Distinguished Service Cross for Okinawa (Army)
  • DSM Distinguished Service Medal for Alaska (Army)
  • DSM Distinguished Service Medal for Okinawa (Navy)
  • PH Purple Heart for KIA on Okinawa

On July 19, 1954 Buckner was posthumously promoted to the rank of Four Star General

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GEN Buckner (left) with GEN Geiger of the Marines. Geiger followed Buckner as general after his combat death. 

“ Whatever may be a man’s creed or form of worship, when he dies for a principle, he has displayed the quality upon which all religions are built, that of faith.  These men who now lie silently beneath the soil have found a soldier’s resting place showing faith in their country, faith in their cause, and faith in God."

General Buckner speaking to the assembled 10th Army chaplains on Okinawa

PDF Document of the entire speech
Admiral Spruance, Admiral Nimitz and General Buckner
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GEN Buckner (right) with GEN Shepherd (left) on Okinawa

 

Official Portrait

General Buckner

These images came from the 22nd Infantry Website

 

"Simon with those Soulful Eyes"

The listing for Simon B. Buckner Jr.,
in the 1908 "Howitzer" (West Point yearbook)

Buckner Article Link

 
The Leader
 
The Man
 

    General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. was an American general during World War II. He served in the Pacific Theater of Operations and commanded the defenses of Alaska early in the war.
    After that assignment, he was promoted to command Tenth Army, which conducted the amphibious assault (Operation Iceberg) on the Japanese island of Okinawa.
    He was killed June 18, 1945, on one of the closing days of the battle of Okinawa. Buckner was posthumously promoted to the rank of full four-star general on July 19, 1954 by a Special Act of Congress.
    His father was Confederate General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Sr., who surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Fort Donaldson. He was also the 30th Governor of Kentucky.
    Buckner was raised in the rural hills of western Kentucky near Munfordville, and attended Virginia Military Institute.
    He later won an appointment to West Point (class of 1908) from President Theodore Roosevelt. He served two tours of duty in the Philippines. During World War I, he served as a brevet major, drilling discipline into budding aviators.
    Between the wars, Buckner returned to West Point as an instructor (1919-1923) and again as instructor and Commandant of Cadets (1932-1936). He was also an instructor at the General Service Schools at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and was executive officer at the Army War College in Washington, D.C.
    Prior to Pearl Harbor, Buckner was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned to fortify and protect Alaska as commander of the Army's Alaska Defense Command. Though comparatively quiet, there was some action with the attack on Dutch Harbor on the island of Unalaska, Japanese seizure of the islands Kiska and Attu (June 1942), Battle of Attu (Operation Landcrab, May 1943), and "invasion" of Kiska (August, 1943)
    In July, 1944, Buckner was sent to Hawaii to organize the Tenth Army, which was composed of both Army and Marine units. The original mission of the Tenth Army was to prepare for the invasion of Taiwan; however, this operation was canceled, and Buckner's command was instead ordered to prepare for the Battle of Okinawa. This turned out to be the largest, longest, and bloodiest sea-land-air battle in American military history.
    According to an eyewitness account, on June 18, 1945, Buckner had arrived in his command jeep which was flying its standard 3 star flag, to inspect a forward observation post. A nearby Marine outpost sent a signal to Buckner's position stating that they could clearly see the general's three stars on his helmet. Told of this, Buckner replaced his own helmet with an unmarked one. However, a small flat trajectory Japanese artillery projectile of unknown caliber (estimated 47mm struck a coral rock outcropping next to the general and fragments went into his chest. Buckner was carried by stretcher to a nearby aid station where he died on the operating table.

He was the highest ranking US Army officer to give his life during WWII, while exercising troop command. Upon his death, he was promoted to full General.

Click here to download the West Point Memorial to GEN Buckner in pdf format
Thank you to the West Point Association of Graduates for allowing us to share this article.

Last Know Photograph of General Buckner on Okinawa

 

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Photo of the Burial Ceremony of General Simon Bolivar Bucker, Jr.

He was first buried in the Tenth Army Cemetery on Okinawa before his remains were taken back to Kentucky to lie beside his father, who was Civil War Confederate Lieutenant General and Kentucky Governor Simon Bolivar Buckner Sr

Click Image for more info on older Gen. Buckner

Link to VIDEO

Lieutenant General Robert Richardson, Jr. visiting the grave of then US Lieutenant General Simon Buckner in Okinawa.

Visit General Buckner's Gravesite at Findagrave.com

You can leave flowers and a message.

 

USNS General Simon B. Buckner T-AP-123

 

 

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    Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. and Miss Adele Blanc were married on December 30, 1916 in Louisville, Kentucky. He was the loving father to their three children: Simon Bolivar Buckner, III, Mary Blanc Buckner, and William Claiborne Buckner.

   

Click images to open larger version or to download

   
Buckner family
   

This photo of the Buckner family, taken around 1930, was published for the Hart County Historical Society, Kentucky

     
   
   

General Omar Bradley with General Buckner's daughter Mary at the Presidio, San Francisco, on the day of her wedding.

     
   
   

Links to

Articles by Mary Brubaker, daughter of GEN Buckner

   
   
   

Photo Page of Mary Brubaker's Return trips to Okinawa.

 

   

   

"The Keepsake"

by Mary Brubaker

 

 

A The True Story of

General Buckner, General McArthur and the Mint Julip as told by Mary Brubaker.

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The Recipe for Mint Juleps by General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr.

This was written in a letter to General Connor.

Buckner and son
General Buckner with son, William
William Buckner attended the 96th Division Reunion 2002 to share with the Deadeyes about his father, GEN Buckner. He shared parts of his father's journal, in which many of his entries were of the 96th Divison in Okinawa just prior to his death. William Buckner explained the warm relationship GEN Buckner had with his Deadeyes,
     
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