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Chase William Curtis

William Curtis Chase
Major General
Serial Number:
1st Cavalry Division (Flying Column)
Date of Death:
Rhode Island
Sam Houston National Cemetery San Antonio, Texas
Section PF Site 224
Navy Distinguished Service Medal, U.S. Distinguished Service Cross, The Bri

Commanded the 1st Cavalry Division “Flying Column” during the Philippines the 1944-1945 campaign. Liberated the Santo Tomas POW Camp in 1945. A veteran of WW1; WW2; and, Korea. From FIND A GRAVE: A native of Providence, R.I., born on March 9, 1895, William Curtis Chase was the son of Dora Evelyn Curtis and Ward Beecher Chase. He enlisted in 1913 with the Rhode Island National Guard, joining Battery A while a student at Brown University. In 1916 he received a BA from Brown where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. That afternoon he and Battery A mobilized to duty on the Mexican border and in June left for El Paso. Their time there was uneventful but he took exams for the regular army. In Dec 1916 he was commissioned a provisional 2nd Lieutenant of Cavalry in the regular army. After training at Ft Leavenworth and posts at Ft Sam Houston & Big Bend before moving to the 39th Infantry and heading to France in 1918. The years between the two world wars were divided between duty with troops and school duty, either as a student or as an instructor. From 1921-25 he was on ROTC duty at Michigan State in East Lansing, while there he married Miss Dorothea Marie Wetherbee. They had no children. During World War II, Maj. Gen. William Curtis Chase served under Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the Admiralties Campaign and in the Philippines. He received his promotion to major general on the battlefield after leading the First Cavalry Division into Manila in 1944. Chase was responsible for freeing 3,400 prisoners from the Santo Tomas Concentration Camp near Manila. With the First Cavalry he was among the first U.S. troops to enter Tokyo during World War II. Following three years of occupation duty in Japan, he was assigned to Formosa, where he was instrumental in converting the defeated Chinese Nationalist Army into a fighting force. It was during this period that he became an adviser to Chiang Kai-shek. Chase was called out of retirement during the Korean War and finally retired from the Army 31 July 1955. Among his many medals were the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, U.S. Distinguished Service Cross, The British C.B.E. and the French Legion of Honor. After retirement he earned his Master of Arts degree in History at Trinity University and was a Visiting Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Houston from 1957-1965. Dorothea died in 1957 and in 1961 he married Mrs. Hallie Barlow Olcott, widow of Perry Olcott. In 1975 General Chase published his autobiography - Front Line General: The Commands of William C. Chase.