Clayton P. Kerr
Kerr as a major general, circa 1958.
|Born||August 16, 1900|
|Died||August 13, 1977 (aged 76)|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1918–1962|
|Rank|| Major General (Army)|
Lieutenant General (Texas National Guard)
|Unit||Texas Army National Guard|
Army National Guard
|Commands held||2nd Battalion, 144th Infantry Regiment|
Combat Command B, 49th Armored Division
49th Armored Division Artillery
49th Armored Division
Army National Guard
|Battles/wars||World War I|
World War II
|Awards||Distinguished Service Medal (U.S. Army)|
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Hall of Honor
|Other work||Owner, home building and construction company|
Clayton P. Kerr (August 16, 1900 – August 13, 1977) was a major general in the United States Army. A longtime member of the Texas Army National Guard, he was prominent for his service as deputy commander of the Allied Military Mission to the Italian Army during World War II, and his post-war assignments as commander of the 49th Armored Division and Director of the Army National Guard.
Born in Denver, Colorado and raised and Dallas, Texas, in 1918 joined the Texas National Guard. He quickly advanced through the noncommissioned officer ranks to become sergeant major of the 72nd Infantry Brigade. In 1922, he received his commission as a second lieutenant in the 56th Cavalry Brigade, and he advanced through the ranks in command and staff positions, primarily as a member of the Texas National Guard's 36th Infantry Division.
During World War II, Kerr served in Europe as the 36th Division's inspector general and chief of staff, and later as U.S. Representative to and Deputy Commander of the Allied Military Mission to the Italian Army. After the war he was an original organizer of the 49th Armored Division. In 1958, he became the division commander as a major general, and in 1959 Kerr was selected to serve as Chief of the Army Division (now Director of the Army National Guard) at the National Guard Bureau. He served in this position until his 1962 retirement. In 1964, received a state promotion to lieutenant general as recognition of his accomplishments and years of service.
Kerr died in Dallas in 1977, and was buried at Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery.
Clayton Price Kerr was born in Denver, Colorado on August 16, 1900, the son of Harry Basil Kerr, a veteran of the Spanish–American War, and Rosa Mae (Taylor) Kerr. He was raised and educated in Dallas, Texas, and graduated from Bryan High School in 1919. In September 1918, he joined the National Guard as a member of Headquarters Troop, 6th Texas Cavalry, and he took part in patrols of the Texas-Mexico border during the closing months of World War I. In March 1919, he was scheduled to take the entrance examination for the United States Military Academy, but opted instead to continue his National Guard career. He quickly advanced through the noncommissioned officer ranks, and became sergeant major of the 72nd Infantry Brigade.
In 1921 he received his commission as a second lieutenant in the 56th Cavalry Brigade. He advanced through the ranks in command and staff positions, primarily with the 36th Infantry Division. His commands included Company E, 144th Infantry Regiment and 2nd Battalion, 144th Infantry. In 1940, Kerr authored a military handbook, Pointers for Infantry Troop Leaders, which went through several editions, and was used during both World War II and the Korean War.
In his civilian career Kerr became the owner and operator of a home construction and contracting business.
World War II
In November 1940, Kerr entered active duty as inspector general of the 36th Division, and he later served as executive officer of the 72nd Infantry Brigade before becoming the division's chief of staff in 1942. He served in this position until 1944, and took part in the North African and Italian campaigns. In February 1944, he was assigned as deputy commander of the Allied Military Mission to the Italian Army. In this role, he worked to integrate Italian forces into the Allied war effort following the overthrow of Benito Mussolini's dictatorship, including participation in the 1945 offensive which brought about the surrender of Nazi forces in Italy. After the war, Kerr negotiated with the Italian government for land on which to place a monument to commemorate the 36th Division's 1943 landing at Salerno. Kerr was a frequent contributor of articles to professional journals and other publications, including 1944's "Joint Maintenance in Theater Operations". In addition, he authored a 1945 article on the operations of U.S. forces in the Pacific Ocean and South West Pacific theaters, "The Organization of the Pacific Ocean Areas and of the Southwest Pacific Area".
Post World War II
Kerr was one of the original officers who formed the Texas Army National Guard’s 49th Armored Division. Among his assignments with the division was commander of Combat Command B, and commander of the Division Artillery. He was promoted to brigadier general in 1947.
By the time Kerr became a general officer, income from part-ownership in a chemical plant, real estate holdings, and investments enabled him to work full time for the Texas National Guard in an unpaid status. In 1958 Kerr was appointed commander of the 49th Armored Division and promoted to major general. Kerr continued to author articles on military topics, including 1959's "Training an Army National Guard Armored Division".
National Guard Bureau
In October, 1959 Kerr was named Chief of the Army Division (now Director of the Army National Guard) at the National Guard Bureau. He served in this position until his 1962 retirement. As the head of the Army National Guard, Kerr oversaw its efforts to modify unit organizations as part of the Reorganization of Army Divisions (ROAD) program. In addition, he led efforts to modernize equipment and vehicles, and to enhance individual and unit training, which led to improved overall readiness levels.
Kerr completed the Army officer courses for Infantry, Field Artillery, Air Defense Artillery, and Armor. In addition, he was a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College.
Awards and decorations
His foreign decorations included: Officer of the Order of the British Empire; Grand Commander, Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (Italy); War Cross for Military Valor (Italy); Grand Officer of the Order of the Crown of Italy; War Merit Cross (Italy); and Knight Commander of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (Italy).
|Distinguished Service Medal|
|Legion of Merit (2)|
|Bronze Star Medal|
|Officer of the Order of the British Empire|
|Grand Commander of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (Italy)|
|War Cross for Military Valor (Italy)|
|War Merit Cross (Italy)|
|Grand Officer of the Order of the Crown of Italy|
|Knight Commander of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (Italy)|
|Lone Star Distinguished Service Medal|
Death and burial
- The Monthly Supplement: A Current Biographical Reference Service. 7–8. Chicago, IL: A.N. Marquis Company. 1946. p. 213.
- "Former Students of Bryan School to Plan reunion". Dallas Morning News. Dallas, TX. March 13, 1955. p. 12, sec. 2.
- The Monthly Supplement: A Current Biographical Reference Service, p. 213.
- U.S. Committee on Public Information (March 14, 1919). "List of Candidates Appointed for West Point Entrance Examination". Official Bulletin. Washington, DC: United States Committee on Public Information. p. 7.
- "New Guard Commander Appointed". Brownsville Herald. Brownsville, TX. United Press International. October 26, 1958. p. 7A.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
- "New Guard Commander Appointed", p. 7A.
- "Armory Dedication Speaker". Breckenridge American. Breckenridge, TX. February 17, 1957. p. 1.
- Kerr, Clayton P. (1940). Pointers for Infantry Troop Leaders. Dallas, TX: Boyd Printing. p. Title. OCLC 13310425.
- Wagner, Robert L. (1972). The Texas Army: A History of the 36th Division in the Italian Campaign. Austin, TX: State House Printing. pp. 48, 126.
- "M/G Kerr Will Head Army Division of National Guard Bureau". Army, Navy and Air Force Journal. 97 (1–26). Washington, DC. 1959. p. 164.
- Bracker, Milton (January 19, 1945). "Italian Students Join Arms Appeal". New York Times. New York, NY. p. 8.
- "German Bridgehead Across Senio in Italy Is Wiped Out as Enemy Scores Elsewhere". New York Times. New York, NY. Associated Press. January 20, 1945. p. 4.
- "Nazis, In Surprise Venture, Establish Senio Beachhead". Toronto Daily Star. Toronto, ON. Associated Press. January 18, 1945. p. 3.
- "Memorial to 36th Division Asked by Walker". Paris News. Paris, TX. Associated Press. October 28, 1945. p. 1.
- Gropman, Alan (1997). The Big 'L': American Logistics in World War II. Washington, DC: National Defense University Press. p. 431. ISBN 978-1-57906-036-7.
- Sbrega, John J. (1989). The War Against Japan, 1941–1945: An Annotated Bibliography. New York, NY: Garland Publishing. p. 353. ISBN 978-1-138-91231-1.
- "National Guard Officers Appointed". Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Corpus Christi, TX. Associated Press. July 18, 1946. p. 6.
- "Kerrville National Guard Battery Preparing for Annual Maneuvers". Kerrville Mountain Sun. Kerrville, TX. June 28, 1951. p. 3.
- Paris News Staff (December 11, 1956). "The General Inspects". Paris News. Paris, TX. p. 1.
- "Truman Names 24 Regular Generals". New York Times. New York, NY. February 6, 1947. p. 2.
- Bradford, Ben (March 25, 1951). "Headliner Portrait: Clayton P. Kerr". Dallas Morning News. Dallas, TX. p. 1.
- "Dallas Contractor Named Head of Texas National Guard Unit". Odessa American. Odessa, TX. United Press International. October 27, 1958. p. 11.
- Kerr, Clayton P. (1959). "Training an Army National Guard Armored Division". Armor. Vol. 68. Ft. Knox, KY: U.S. Armor Association. p. 35.
- "General Kerr Named to Guard Bureau Post". Paris News. Paris, TX. October 6, 1959. p. 2.
- "General Kerr Will Retire from Guard". Dallas Morning News. Dallas, TX. Washington Bureau of the News. August 23, 1962. p. 4.
- "Army National Guard Now 'Most Ready' In History". The Independent Record. Helena, MT. February 21, 1960. p. 8.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
- "Army National Guard Now 'Most Ready' In History", p. 8.
- "Guard Officers Arrive at Knox". The Courier-Journal. Louisville, KY. April 21, 1948. p. 11.
- "Clayton Kerr, Ex-Assistant Chief of National Guard Bureau, Dies". Dallas Morning News. Dallas, TX. August 14, 1977. p.��37A.
- "General Kerr is Storybook Commander". Fort Hood Armored Sentinel. Fort Hood, TX. June 12, 1959. p. 4.
- "Generals Receive Medals". Dallas Morning News. Dallas, TX. Austin Bureau of the News. October 15, 1976. p. 22A.
- "Brevet Promotion to Lieutenant General on the Retired List". The National Guardsman. Vol. 18. Washington, DC: National Guard Association of the United States. 1964. p. 38.
- Texas Military Forces Museum (2013). "Inductees by Year". Texas Military Forces Hall of Honor. Austin, TX: Brigadier General John C. L. Scribner Texas Military Forces Museum. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
- "Social Security Death Index, entry for Clayton Price Kerr". Ancestry.com. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com, LLC. 1977. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
- "Texas Death Index, 1903–2000, entry for Clayton Price Kerr". Ancestry.com. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com, LLC. 1977. Retrieved May 20, 2013.
- Clayton P. Kerr at Find a Grave
- "Clayton P. Kerr and Clara Kerr in the 1940 United States Federal Census". Ancestry.com. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com, LLC. 1940.
- "Clara C. Kerr in the U.S. Social Security Death Index, 1935–2014". Ancestry.com. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com, LLC. 1999.
- Clara Elizabeth Corbin Kerr at Find a Grave
- "Clayton Kerr, Ex-Assistant Chief of National Guard Bureau, Dies", p. 37A.