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Fourth Army

The Fourth Army shoulder sleeve insignia was originally approved on 26 January 1927. The insignia was redesignated for Fourth United States Army on 4 October 1957. It consista of a red square 2 inches on a side, a white four-leaf clover with stem, 1 3/8 inches across leaves, stem to bottom - the square to be worn point up. The composition of this design alludes to the numerical designation of the organization and the colors are those associated with "armies."

For a number of years after the Great War only about one fourth of the officers and one-half of the enlisted men of the Regular Army were available for assignment to tactical units in the continental United States. Many units existed only on paper; almost all had only skeletonized strength. In 1928 the United States and France joined in drafting the Pact of Paris, which renounced war as an instrument of national policy. Thereafter, the United States announced to the world that, if other powers did likewise, it would limit its armed forces to those necessary to maintain internal order and defend national territory against aggression and invasion.

The Fourth Army was one of the four field armies formed within the continental limits of the United States in the summer of 1932. The purpose of these armies, as stated by the Chief of Staff, General Douglas MacArthur, comes under five heads: (1) planning: to provide agencies to complete the development of war plans prepared by the War Department General Staff; (2) command and staff: to form higher commands prepared to take the field and execute the plans prepared; (3) training: to provide agencies for the conduct of command post and other suitable peacetime training exercises; (4) mobilization: to provide ... an adequate force, within the minimum of time with the maximum of training, sufficient to protect any general mobilization that may be necessary; (5) emergency defense: to provide a force sufficient to handle all emergencies short of general mobilization.

In the summer of 1932, the Fourth Army [the 'A-Plus' Army"] was activated at Omaha, Nebraska, with a mission "to deal with the Pacific Coast." As a training army, it prepared and equipped about half the combat troops sent overseas during WWII. Initially largely a paper organization, it was responsible for the Seventh and Ninth Corps Areas. Fourth Army headquarters, under Maj. Gen. Johnson Hagood, had as its mission responsibilities for the western states. On paper it commanded four army corps containing eleven divisions (Regular Army, National Guard, and Organized Reserve) and four cavalry divisions (Regular Army and National Guard).

On June 18, 1936, Fourth Army headquarters transferred to the Presidio of San Francisco and there a general officer commanded both the Ninth Corps Area and Fourth Army. Ninth Corps Area was comprised of the eight states while Fourth Army consisted of four infantry divisions and the coast artillery units within those same states.

The 1935 "Joint Action" plan divided the coasts of the United States into four parcels, the North Atlantic Coastal Frontier that stretched from Maine to North Carolina; the Southern Coastal Frontier that stretched from North Carolina to the Mexican Border; the Great Lakes Coastal Frontier that covered the Great Lakes on the Canadian Border, and the Pacific Coastal Frontier that included the entire Pacific Coast. The frontier boundaries coincided with those of army areas - the First Army backed the North Atlantic Frontier; the Third Army backed the Southern Coastal Frontier; the Second Army backed the Great Lakes Coastal Frontier and the Fourth Army the Pacific Coastal Frontier.

In June 1936 the headquarters of Fourth Army moved to the Presidio of San Francisco where Maj. Gen. George S. Simonds took command of both it and the Ninth Corps Area. In 1940, under the command of Lt. Gen. John L. DeWitt, this Army was deployed throughout the Ninth Corps Area, which, also under the command of General DeWitt, encompassed Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Utah. Arizona was added to this group in 1941.

On 17 March 1941, this region and its military organizations became the Western Defense Command, with General DeWitt as commander. Its main troop component was the Fourth U.S. Army, and its primary mission was: "Responsible in peacetime for planning all measures against invasion of area under command, and in case of invasion of area, responsible for all offensive and defensive operations until otherwise directed by War Department."

On 11 December 1941, the Western Defense Command, with Alaska included, became the Western Theater of Operations. Its headquarters, combined with those of its major constituent units, was at the Presidio of San Francisco. It was under the command of General Headquarters, War Department, and General DeWitt was theater commander. Actually, in 1942, the top staff of the Western Defense Command, in conjunction with certain officers in the G-1 section of the General Staff, influenced the development of the national policy governing the dealings with aliens on the West Coast, and the Fourth U.S. Army furnished troops and support that carried out the War Department's alien control program in that area, including the evacuation of the Japanese.

In 1941, the Fourth U.S. Army conducted highly instructive command post exercises at the Hunter Liggett Military Reservation, Calif. (with troops which included the III Corps under the command of Maj. Gen. (later Gen.) Joseph W. Stilwell), and army maneuvers in Washington and Oregon. These maneuvers, as well as the static disposition of units, involved all the elements of extra-military area sanitation and control of communicable diseases, except malaria, that have been discussed previously. Aspects of civil affairs and military government public health activities, conspicuous and prophetic in the maneuvers conducted in the eastern, northern, and southern regions of the United States, were equally notable in the Fourth U.S. Army maneuvers.

Through its location in the Pacific Coast States, the Western Defense Command, since late 1941, had been concerned in activities which involved the Army with various civilian and governmental agencies. These interests were represented by the war disaster relief plans, which were a responsibility of the Ninth Corps Area. The plans included such matters as bomb disposal, camouflage, shelters, antisabotage, and general disaster relief. In April 1942, this responsibility was transferred from the Ninth Corps Area to the Western Defense Command, which soon prepared a "War Disaster Relief Plan-Western Theater of Operations, 1942." In this plan, provision was made for cooperative effort by troops of the Western Defense Command and Fourth U.S. Army with local, State, and other Federal agencies. Detailed plans were prepared for each geographic subdivision of the command.

In 1943, these responsibilities were returned to the Ninth Service Command, and the Western Defense Command was relieved of them. The status of the Western Defense Command as a theater of operations was terminated on 27 October 1943, and the Western Defense Command was discontinued on 6 March 1946.

During the period from 2 March to 3 November 1942, the Western Defense Command and Fourth U.S. Army gradually became engaged in an operation which has been characterized as "one of the Army's largest undertakings in the name of defense during World War II." This undertaking was the relocation of approximately 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry from California, southern Arizona, and the western halves of Oregon and Washington. Some persons of Japanese ancestry were removed from Alaska, and a beginning was made on a proposed transfer of such persons from Hawaii to the continental United States. German and Italian residents of these areas were allowed to remain there. Only the Japanese, regardless of American citizenship and without benefit of legal trials, were evacuated. They were moved first to assembly centers under control of the Western Defense Command, in California, Washington, Oregon, and Arizona, and thence transferred to relocation centers under the control of the War Relocation Authority, in dispersed places throughout the country. Mass exclusion was directed and continued until late in 1944. Nearly all the interned Japanese were held in custody until the last months of 1944 when a few were allowed to return to the "restricted areas." The majority were retained at the relocation centers and were to be released between January and June 1945.

This mass evacuation of the Japanese was a controversial issue from the start, and continues to be criticized. Conflicting opinions as to its "military necessity" were held by both individuals and agencies. The War Department was convinced that it was essential to the national security; the Department of Justice, on the other hand, wished to protect the civil rights of individuals within reasonable provisions for national security. Economic and political factors influenced decisions. Public opinion was manipulated, and the fact that the Japanese in the Pacific States, and especially in California, had been targets of hostility and restrictive action for several decades was a factor that unquestionably influenced the measures taken against them following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Fourth U.S. Army moved its headquarters from the Presidio of Monterey, Calif., to Fort Sam Houston, Tex., on 7 January 1944, to assume duties of Headquarters, Third U.S. Army which in turn proceeded to the European theater. Continuing as a great training Army, the Fourth U.S. Army formed two combat armies in 1944, the Ninth and Fifteenth U.S. Armies; and late in 1944, it was supplying at least half of the combat units shipped overseas.

Fort Sam Houston was established in 1875, and by 1917 the installation had been raised to general depot status and was supplying the Mexican frontier, including General John J. Pershing's pursuit of Francisco "Pancho" Villa. In 1940, it was the largest army post in the United States and it served as a major internment center for prisoners of war during World War II. By 1949, Fort Sam Houston had 1,500 buildings on more than 3,300 acres and was the headquarters for the Fourth U.S. Army.

General Jonathan Wainwright was commanding American and Filipino troops in northern Luzon when the Japanese attacked on December 8, 1941. When MacArthur was ordered off Bataan in March 1942, Wainwright, promoted to temporary Lieutenant General, succeeded to command of US Army Forces in the Far East. Bataan fell on April 9, 1942. President Roosevelt authorized Wainwright to continue the fight or make terms as he saw fit. Wainwright chose to continue the battle from Corregidor despite the urgings of some that he leave. At noon on May 6, 1942, General Wainwright surrendered to Japanese General Homma. General Wainwright spent the next three years in Japanese prison camps in the Philippines, China and Formosa (Taiwan). He emerged from captivity little more than a skeleton. General Wainwright was commander of the Fourth U.S. Army at Fort Sam Houston from January 1946 until his retirement from the Army in August 1947.

In October 1946 Fourth U.S. Army established seven separate recruiting districts in the Southwestern United States. Recruiting District Dallas was one of these original districts. In 1949, the seven districts were consolidated into two districts. One was the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Texas Recruiting District with its headquarters to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and it was subsequently re-designated the U.S. Army Recruiting District as the Army and Air Force established separate recruiting services.

In December 1956, the name was changed to Fourth U.S. Army Recruiting District and covered the five states of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. In September 1964, Headquarters, U.S. Army Recruiting Command was activated as part of the USA Continental Army Command, and the Fourth U.S. Army Recruiting District was separated from Fourth U.S. Army and re-designated U.S. Army Fourth Recruiting District. Eleven subordinate stations, know as U.S. Army Recruiting Main Stations, were established at this time. One of these Recruiting Main Stations was headquartered in Dallas.

In July 1971 Fourth and Fifth US Armies were consolidated as Fifth US Army at Fort Sam Houston, TX.

Between 1984 and 1992, Fort Sheridan served as the headquarters of the Fourth Army and U.S. Army Recruiting Command. During that time, Fort Sheridan was the headquarters for activities at 74 U.S. Army Reserve Centers located in northern Illinois, northwest Indiana, and the lower peninsula of Michigan. HQ Fourth US Army, was at "The Army's Biggest Little Post," Fort Sheridan. The Fort was founded in 1887, named for Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, Civil War Union cavalry leader and commanding general of the Army, 1883-1888; It is located on 695 acres on the shore of Lake Michigan, 29 miles north of Chicago loop. The post serves as an Administrative and Logistics Center for Midwest defense installations. It is also home of the Army Recruiting Command, US Military Enlistment Processing Command, 425th Trans Bde (USAR), Army Readiness Gp., 4th Recruit Bde and Recruit Bn, Chicago. In December 1988, the BRAC Commission recommended closure of Fort Sheridan. The BRAC Commission also recommended relocation of the Headquarters, Fourth Army; and the Headquarters, United States Army Recruiting Command to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana.

There were eight numbered armies in FY 90, but they were reduced to seven in FY 91 with elimination of the Fourth U.S. Army at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. The seven armies were First U.S. Army, Fort Meade, Maryland; Second U.S. Army, Fort Gillem, Georgia; Third U.S. Army, Fort McPherson, Georgia; Fifth U.S. Army, Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Sixth U.S. Army, San Francisco, California; Seventh U.S. Army, Heidelberg, Germany; and Eighth U.S. Army, Seoul, South Korea. The Third Army served as a tactical field army and also as ARCENT, the U.S. Army component command of CENTCOM during the Persian Gulf war. The five continental United States armies (CONUSAs)-the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth armies-commanded the USAR troop units within their geographical areas. They also directed the training of ARNG units within their geographical areas in accordance with HQDA and FORSCOM guidance. FORSCOM assigned the CONUSAs operational control for mobilization and deployment at all mobilization stations in their areas. In the event of full-scale mobilization, the CONUSAs were scheduled to become Joint Regional Defense Commands.

The Distinctive Unit Insignia is a gold color metal and enamel device 1 3/16 inches (3.02cm) in height overall consisting of a red enamel square one angle up bearing a white enamel four-leaf clover with stem to base in front of and extending over a blue (ultramarine) enamel disc, between at top and in base arced gold motto scrolls, that at top crossing over the square in front of the angle, curving downward and terminating at the upper sides of the square, and that in base crossing over the square in front of the angle and terminating at the lower sides of the square, the scroll at the top inscribed "Leadership" and that in base "And Integrity" all in red enamel letters. The design was suggested by the shoulder sleeve insignia of the Fourth U. S. Army modified by the white four-leaf clover with stem being placed in front of and over a blue disc which alludes to the waters of the Pacific and Pacific Coast and the bluebonnet, the State flower of Texas. The distinctive unit insignia was originally authorized on 16 Jan 1969. It was amended on 25 Sep 1969 to correct the symbolism of the design.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 01:29:01 ZULU