West Point

1916 – 1917

Julius was not yet 18 years old when he applied to West Point immediately upon his June 1916 graduation from Menominee High School. I can’t imagine having that degree of focus and certainty at such a young age, but times were different then. There was a serious threat to the security of the entire world.

I wish I knew the backstory on this, and it might have been routine protocol to be nominated for West Point cadet status, but it’s fascinating that Julius was recommended by a sitting U.S. Senator.

Julius Graduated Menominee High at 17 Years of Age

This is an early era drawing of Menominee High School in Menominee, Michigan. Julius graduated in 1916 and wasted little time moving ahead with his dream of attending West Point.

Julius is Recommended

It may have been required protocol at the time, so I’m not sure how significant this is, but if  you look closely at the bottom of the letter, you will see that Julius was recommended to West Point through U.S. Senator Charles E. Townsend.

Encouraging News Arrives

Julius receives notification of the West Point Academic Board’s approval of his academic certificate provided by Menominee High School.

Next? A mental entrance examination. And a little homework.

Report for Duty, Young Soldier!

Julius is ordered to report in person to the Superintendent of the Military Academy at West Point, New York, on June 14, 1917.

And so, his military life begins.

Charles E. Townsend

Charles Elroy Townsend (August 15, 1856 – August 3, 1924) was an American lawyer who served as both a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from the state of Michigan. He served in the United States Congress from 1903 to 1923.

Julius is Recommended

It may have been required protocol at the time, so I’m not sure how significant this is, but if  you look closely at the bottom of the letter, you will see that Julius was recommended to West Point through U.S. Senator Charles E. Townsend.

Charles E. Townsend

Charles Elroy Townsend (August 15, 1856 – August 3, 1924) was an American lawyer who served as both a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from the state of Michigan. He served in the United States Congress from 1903 to 1923.

Encouraging News Arrives

Julius receives notification of the West Point Academic Board’s approval of his academic certificate provided by Menominee High School.

Next? A mental entrance examination. And a little homework.

Report for Duty, Young Soldier!

Julius is ordered to report in person to the Superintendent of the Military Academy at West Point, New York, on June 14, 1917.

And so, his military life begins.

West Point Cadet Class of 1918

Julius graduated from West Point 34th in his class as a Second Lieutenant on November 1, 1918, having completed the War Emergency Course of instruction.

On November 27, 1918, orders from the Secretary of War, General Peyton C. March, were received appointing Julius as a second lieutenant in The United States Army, with rank from November 1, 1918.

Julius was listed 34th of 284 graduates.

Not bad.

Student Officer Class of 1919

After graduating and becoming part of the Regular Army, Julius and other members of his class were recalled as Student Officers on December 3, 1918, graduating on June 11, 1919. The Student Officer’s class was designated as the Class of 1919 by the Association of Graduates, U.S.M.A.

On May 24th, just shy of the June graduation date, the 277 unassigned second lieutenants learned that after graduation, they would be allowed leave for the period up to July 19, 1919, then report to the Commanding General, Port of Embarkation, Hobeoken, N.J., for transportation to France for a short tour of observation and study.

Upon return to the United States, on or before October 1, 1919, they would report for duty at various schools.

Julius, as part of the Field Artillery discipline, was to report for duty at Camp Zachary Taylor in Kentucky. He received his orders on September 26, 1919 by command of Major General Shanks.

 

A Bachelor of Science degree was awarded to Julius on October 12, 1937.

Camp Zachary Taylor Field Artillery School

1919 to 1920

Julius began his next educational course on October 1, 1919, and the next day on the 2nd of October, he was promoted to First Lieutenant of Field Artillery. This promotion in rank would later be reversed due to  to the next day promoted to First Lieutenant (which wouldd be somehwat shortlived given the Acts of . This time it was Field Artillery School at Camp Zachary Taylor, Louisville, Kentucky. He completed the Basic Course on October 31, 1920.

On July 24th he was assigned to 6th F.A. Camp Zachary Taylor. Julius ranked 22nd in his class of 81 students, earning him the Certificate of Completion dated July 31, 1920. In August of 1920, he was assigned to Battery “C” of 6th F.A.

On October 2, 1919, Julius was promoted by the War Department to First Lieutenant of Field Artillery.

I think he earned it.

Officers Mess Hall

(not Camp Zachary Taylor, but I like it)

Julius was appointed Mess Officer of the Officer’s mess 6th F.A. on October 8, 1920. This was just six days after his promotion in grade to First Lieutenant.

Sounds messy.

6th F.A. Battery “B”

This is great. From Mess Officer to Commander in three months!

On January 5, 1921,  Julius was attached to Battery “B” to assume command within 6th F.A., Fort Dix, New Jersey.

He served there until December 15, 1921, took a two month leave of absence, and then from February 16, 1922 until December 11, 1922, served as Battery Commander 6th F.A. Camp Dix, N.J., including tours at Camp Welsh, N.Y., Mitchell Field, N.Y., and Fort Hoyle, MD.

Discharged, Re-classified, Reprimanded,

and

Sent to Hawaii

 

On December 15, 1922, Julius was honorably discharged and shortly thereafter appointed by the President as Second Lieutenant (per Acts of June 30 and Sept. 14 1922).

On January 9, 1923, orders came through directing him to report to the Hawaiian Department for duty. He was to proceed to Schofield Barracks, H.T., reporting to the commanding officer of the 11th Field Artillery.

Although it had nothing to do with Julius’s performance, I imagine he was disappointed about the reclassification. I would be.

But, then there was Hawaii!

 

You might assume that Julius was a purely stand up officer.

I … don’t think so. I think Julius had a pretty strong view of life, and although he was lauded repeatedly in his performance reports, he was also apparently no doormat. There’s a cryptic note in his official Statement of Service that as a Battery Commander of the 6th F.A., he was above average in his performance. And right next to it are these words:

“Reprimanded Jan. 21”

That’s it. A mystery remains, but I figure it gives me something to leverage when I tell the fictionalized story of his military life.

The Hawaiian Department

On December 12, 1922, the War Department was authorized to transport Julius from New York, NY to Honolulu on the Army Transport Cambrai, scheduled to sail December 22, 1922.

And so it happened. On December 22, 1922, Julius set sail for paradise.

It was his assigned Foreign Service Tour of Duty … tough gig!

Honolulu, Hawaii in the 1920’s

Schofield Barracks

On January 9, 1923, by command of Major General Charles Pelot Summerall (read about him below), Julius proceeded to Schofield Barracks to serve as the Battery Officer, 11th F.A.

The Hawaiian Department

Prior to WW II, U.S. Army commands in major overseas territories of the U.S. were called departments. A department was roughly equivalent to a corps; but in addition to its basic defense mission with assigned combat units, it had general responsibility for command and control of all Army units in the territory.

In August 1944, the Hawaiian Department was redesignated the Central Pacific Base Command, and redesignated a second time as the U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii in 1994.

General Charles P. Summerall

General Charles Pelot Summerall (March 4, 1867 – May 14, 1955) commanded the 1st Division in 1919 to 1921, receiving promotion to Brigadier General of the regular army in February 1919 and to major general in April 1920. He commanded the Hawaiian Department from 1921 to 1924.

Colonel William “Billy” Mitchell visited Summerall during his command in Hawaii, and criticized the lack of air defenses for the islands. This angered the general, who later attempted to preside over Mitchell’s court-martial in 1925, until the defense won his dismissal by showing his bias. However, he still testified as a witness against Mitchell.

Interesting man!

Source: Wikipedia (Summerall) (worth a visit!)

Julius is Examined for Promotion by Colonel Tiemann N. Horn

On February 27th, by command of Major General Summerall, Julius received orders to report in person to Colonel Tiemann N. Horn, Commander of the 13th Field Artillery, and president of the examining board, in order to undergo a determination of his physical fitness for active duty and promotion.

Colonel Tiemann had served in WW I as the commander of the Seventh Field Artillery Brigade and the Seventh Infantry Division.

This photograph was taken at Schofield Barracks H.T. shortly before Julius’s arrival. 

The notation on the above photo …

To

General John J. Pershing with the compliments of the Brigade

Just before passing in review before the Department Commander in this closely massed formation on June 24, 1921. (About 400 vehicles). No motor failed and formation remained intact, a record that will rarely be equalled and never surpassed.

Signed

Tiemann N. Horn, Colonel 13th Field Artillery, Commanding

Colonel Tiemann Newell Horn (January 8, 1868 – January 13, 1923) was an American military commander in the United States Army, and served as a Brigadier General during World War I. From 1915 to 1918, Horn was stationed in the Philippines and Hawaii. Horn was promoted to brigadier general on February 6, 1918. During World War I, Horn commanded the Seventh Field Artillery Brigade and the Seventh Infantry Division.

Horn retired in Plainfield, New Jersey and died in Hawaii on May 5, 1923. His rank of brigadier was posthumously restored.

 

Source: Wikipedia

First Lieutenant Julius Easton Slack

After arriving in Hawaii, Julius not only served as Battery Officer, 11th F.A., Schofield Barracks, he also served as the Regimental Athletic Officer.

On June 5, 1923 Julius was promoted to First Lieutenant F.A. by order of Division Commander Charles P. Summerall.

Julius was relieved of his duty as Regimental Athletic Officer on September 11, 1923 by the Regimental Commander. Maybe the guys had lost a few too many games.

This is Julius in July 1923 in Hauula, Hawaii.

He might have been feeling some sadness during the period when this photo was taken. Colonel Horn, the 13th F.A. Commanding Officer who had assessed his fitness for promotion and active duty, had passed away less than two months before.

Julius was relieved of his duty as Regimental Athletic Officer on September 11, 1923 by the Regimental Commander. Maybe the guys had lost a few too many games.

This is Julius in July 1923 in Hauula, Hawaii.

He might have been feeling some sadness during the period when this photo was taken. Colonel Horn, the 13th F.A. Commanding Officer who had assessed his fitness for promotion and active duty, had passed away less than two months before.

The Hawaiian Quartermaster Depot

February 1924

On February 26, 1924, Julius was ordered by command of General Summerall to detached service at the Hawaiian Quartermaster Depot in Honolulu.

The Quartermaster function addresses the logistics of supplies and accommodations. One of Julius’s many emerging talents was as a strategic and tactical builder of “machines,” meaning people and processes aimed at achieving an end goal or supporting an ongoing concern. His extraordinary capabilities were not lost on the higher ups.

I wasn’t able to find a photo of the actual depot located in Honolulu. This is a Quartermaster Depot established in North Africa – McNarama’s Defense Logistics Agency. You get the idea.

Julius Pulls His Weight Before Moving On

Julius was eventually designated as the officer in charge of Pier 5 on June 26, 1924, serving in that role, amongst others, until October 23, 1925.

During his tenure there, Julius was also appointed, by order of Lt. Colonel Matthews, Class “A” Agent Financial Officer, Hawaiian General Area Deport, Captain Herbert Baldwin, Finance Department, Disbursing Officer.

Julius was apparently good with details and numbers.

In August of that year, by Order of the Secretary of War, Major General J.L. Hines, Julius learned that he would be assigned to the 9th Field Artillery, Fort Snelling, Minn. upon completion of his Hawaiian tour of foreign service.

When the time drew near, he was granted permission to leave the Quartermaster Hawaiian Department about October 24, 1925 to enjoy eight weeks of leave before reporting for duty as a Battery Officer of the 9th Field Artillery in Fort Snelling, Minn. on January 3, 1926.

Variety of Snapshots from the Decade

1925 thru 1930

Julius spent the next few years building experience as both a Battery Officer and Battery Commander before his next very exciting duty.

Military and Academic Roles

Fort Snelling, Minnesota

January 2, 1926 to August 10, 1926

Battery Officer, 9th F.A.

West Point, NY

August 26, 1926 to July 24, 1927

Instructor, Department of Chemistry

Academic Leave

Fort McInstosh, Texas

July 25, 1927 to May 21 1928

Battery Officer, 4th F.A.

 

“Expert” Shot

Julius graduated as a “Sharpshooter” from West Point, but apparently that wasn’t good enough for him.

Seriously, this man was a contender.

And yes, in case you are wondering, the background photo shows Julius’s actual holsters, both of which are safely stored away in my secret hiding place.

 

Click on the document to zoom.

More photos from Fort Sill and Fort McIntosh

Fort Robinson, Nebraska

May 22, 1928 to January 7, 1929

Battery Officer, 4th F.A.

Fort Robinson, Nebraska

January 8, 1929 to November 1, 1930

Battery Commander, 4th F.A.

Julius and Marie’s quarters on the left. Julius with Judy at 6 months old, May 30, 1929

More photos from Fort Robinson