Brig. General Lewis C.Beebe

Brig. Gen Lewis Beebe,
Chief of Staff of the 4th Army under General Wainwright.
Fort Sam Houston, Texas, 1946

A Brief Biography of Brig. Gen. Lewis C. Beebe

Prisoner of the Rising Sun: The Lost Diary of Brig. Gen. Lewis Beebe

By Rev. John Beebe
Texas A&M University Press

Lewis Charles Beebe b. 7 Dec 1891, Ashton, Osceola, IA, m. (1) 1917, in OR, Beatrice Butler , m. (2) Dorothy McRae 26 Dec 1924, in Fort Hayes, Columbus, OH. After graduating from the University of Oregon, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery, Oregon National Guard on 30 Sept. 1916, and entered Federal Service with his unit. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Regular Army on 26 October 1917. He then worked his way through the ranks until until March 1942 when he was promoted to Brigadier General (temporary) and Brigadier General (permanent) in October 1945.

After the United States became involved in World War I, Beebe transferred to the Infantry in order to be assured of being in actual combat. He went overseas with the 30th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Division in April 1918. He was involved in numerous campaigns during that war and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in action near Crezancy, France. He was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds and the French Government conferred upon him the Croix de Guerre with gilt star. After the Armistice, Beebe was assigned to occupation duty in Germany and finally returned to the United States in January 1921.

In between the two world wars, he had numerous assignments including attendance at all of the service schools up through the Army War College; serving as an instructor at the Infantry School in Fort Benning, Georgia; and being the Professor of Military Science and Tactics at Shattuck School in Faribault, Minnesota. In October 1939, he was ordered to Fort William McKinley in the Philippine Islands (with his family, including his wife, Dorothy, and son, John) where he was assigned command of the 3rd Battalion, 57th Infantry (Philippine Scouts). In May 1941, with clouds of war developing in the far East, Dorothy and John were evacuated on the last regular army transport to the United States along with the wives and children of most of the other officers in the Philippines. In July 1941, when General Douglas McArthur was recalled to active duty and placed in command of the newly organized United States Army Forces in the Far East, Beebe was brought up To General McArthur's staff as Assistant Chief of Staff, G4 (supply). In that capacity, he assisted in the mobilization and organization of the Philippine Army. He was still occupying this staff position when war was declared on 7 December 1941 (his birthday) and he had responsibility for coordination of all supply measures necessary for the defense of the Philippine Islands. When Manila was declared an open city, he moved with McArthur to the island of Corregidor. He remained in that staff capacity until McArthur departed for Australia at which time he was promoted to brigadier General and made Deputy Chief of Staff of the United States Army Forces in the Far East. It was McArthur's intention to continue to direct the battle for the Philippines from Australia - his orders to be carried out by General Beebe. President Roosevelt changed matters when he placed General Jonathan Wainwright in command of United States Armed Forces in the Philippines. General Beebe then became his Chief of Staff. He remained with Wainwright during the fall of Bataan and the surrender of Corregidor on 6 May 1942 (which he helped to arrange). Thereafter, he was a prisoner of war, being held in Formosa, Japan and Mukden, Manchuria until August 27th 1945 when he was liberated. He was present for the surrender ceremony on the Battleship, Missouri and participated in the trial of General Homma, the Japanese commander in the Philippines. Following that, he returned to the United States for the tumultuous victory celebration following the conclusion of World War II, in which he was honored along with General Wainwright. While he was still in prison camp, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for service in the Philippine Islands. The presentation was made to his wife, Dorothy, and the citation read as follows:

"Lewis C. Beebe, Brigadier General, United States Army. For exceptionally meritorious service to the government in a position of great responsibility in the Philippine Islands from August I, 1941, to March 11, 1942. As Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, United States Army Forces in the Far East, Colonel Beebe planned the supply system for the mobilization of the Philippine Army and computed its requirements for equipment in addition to that initially available. When hostilities broke out before the supply system was completed, he contrived and supervised the distribution of supplies under conditions of siege. He planned and supervised the execution of the replenishment of supplies by a system of blockade running which supplemented materially the limited food supplies of the garrison.  His foresight, effective planning and energetic supervision of the execution of the supply plans contributed greatly to the ability of the command to offer sustained resistance to the enemy." Upon his return to the United States, General Beebe, reunited with his old commander, General Wainwright, became Chief of Staff of the Fourth United States Army then located at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He continued in that job until 1948 when he was ordered to Germany to participate in the occupation of that country. He was assigned as Commander of Wurzburg Military Post in southern Germany and continued in those duties until his retirement in 1950. He died 17 February 1951 in Faribault, Minnesota while his son, John, a lieutenant in the Army, was involved in operations against the Chinese Forces in Korea. (data provided by John McRae Beebe).

Brig. Gen. Lewis as a child with his siblings

Left to right: Lewis, Vincent (standing in back), Carrol (seated), and sister Divida. c. 1895

Written and Contributed by John McRae Beebe (Son of Brig. Gen Lewis Beebe)

Osceola County Iowa Genealogy - The IAGenWeb Project