Everett Hughes (general)

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Everett Strait Hughes
File:Lieutenant general Everett Hughes 1945.jpg
Born (1885-10-21)October 21, 1885
Ipswich, Dakota Territory
Died September 5, 1957(1957-09-05) (aged 71)
Washington, D.C.
Allegiance United StatesUnited States of America
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Years of service 1908–1949
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major general
Battles/wars Mexican Revolution:

World War I:
World War II:

Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal
Legion of Honor (France)
Croix de Guerre (France)
Order of the Crown (Belgium)
Croix de Guerre (Belgium)
Order of the Fatherland (Soviet Union)
Order of Nichan-Iftikhar (Tunisia)

Everett Strait Hughes (October 21, 1885 – September 5, 1957) was a Major general in the United States Army best known for his close association with Dwight D. Eisenhower. Hughes was born in Ipswich, Dakota Territory, was a West Point graduate, and rose to become lieutenant general in the U.S. Army. He fought in a number of battles including the Mexican border war and World War I. During World War II he was one of George S. Patton's close friends and Eisenhower's "right-hand man" during the entire European campaign.[1][2][3]


Everett Hughes, while born in what is now South Dakota, was raised in Minnesota and appointed to the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York from that state. He is noted for being the first captain of the West Point lacrosse team. Hughes graduated 13th in his class from West Point with a B.S. in 1908,[4][5][6] was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 3rd Field Artillery on February 14, 1908. He was stationed at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he became a first lieutenant in the 6th Field Artillery on March 11, 1911.[4]

In 1912 he graduated from the Ordnance School of Technology at the Watertown Arsenal, Massachusetts,[5][6] and was seconded to the Ordnance Department. He was posted to Manila Ordnance Depot in the Philippines, where he was promoted to captain on June 20, 1913. His secondment to the Ordnance Department ended on June 20, 1915, and he was assigned to the 4th Field Artillery at Fort Bliss, Texas.[4]

Hughes and George S. Patton, Jr., became good friends while serving under John J. Pershing in the punitive expedition to Mexico.[7][8] After the United States entry into World War I, Hughes was posted to the Office of the Chief of Ordnance in Washington, D.C., where he was involved in purchasing artillery. He was promoted to major on June 25, 1917, lieutenant colonel on January 10, 1918, and colonel on October 19, 1918. He arrived in France on October 23, 1918, serving there until March 16, 1919, when he returned to duty at the Office of the Chief of Ordnance.[4]

With the end of the war, Hughes reverted to his substantive rank of captain on June 30, 1920, but was promoted to major again the next day. He was Ordnance Officer of the VI Corps Area at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, where he transferred to the Ordnance Department on August 21, 1920. He attended the School of the Line at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and then the General Staff School there, becoming an instructor on graduation in June 1923. In August 1928, he entered the Army War College.[9]

On graduation from the War College, it was normal for officers to serve on a staff posting, so he returned to Washington, D.C., for duty with the G-1 Branch of the War Department General Staff. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel again on November 13, 1931. On August 17, 1932, he was posted to the Aberdeen Proving Ground, where he remained until August 26, 1935, when he was transferred to the Picatinny Arsenal. He was promoted to colonel again on October 1, 1936. On May 20, 1939, he returned to duty in the Office of the Chief of Ordnance, where he was serving when the United States entered World War II.[10]

On May 19, 1942, Hughes became Chief of Ordnance of the European Theater of Operations United States Army (ETOUSA). He became Chief of Staff of the Services of Supply on July 29, with the rank of brigadier general from September 6, 1942. On January 26, 1943, he became Deputy Chief Of Staff of the European Theater of Operations, and then on February 15, 1943 he was appointed Deputy Theater Commander of the North African Theater of Operations, and commander of the Communications Zone. He was promoted to major general on March 18, 1943.[11][12] He threw out the first ball in the North African World Series on 3 October 3, 1943.[13]

When the Allied forces suffered heavy casualties at the hands of the German general Erwin Rommel in the Battle of the Kasserine Pass, Hughes recommended Patton to Eisenhower for command in Africa. Patton went on to win victories over the German forces.[7][8] Eisenhower considered Hughes one of his closest friends and confidants and Hughes' reports on the incredible shortcomings of the supply situation in North Africa, sent shock waves through Allied command.[14] His reports upset Eisenhower's Chief of Staff, Major General Walter Bedell Smith. Smith and Hughes had been "engaged in a power struggle" since the planning of Operation Torch and their relationship was tense,[15][16] Smith accused Hughes of "empire building", and the two clashed over trivial issues.[17] For his services in the Mediterranean, Hughes was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Army Distinguished Service Medal.[12]

Everett Hughes was instrumental during Algeria-French Morocco Campaign, and Eisenhower had him transferred to London for the upcoming Normandy Invasion on February 21, 1944 after Hughes was declared surplus in North Africa. Eisenhower wrote to his wife, Mamie, "I do miss Everett, wish I still had him."[18] Hughes endeared himself to Eisenhower for his gift of procuring hard-to-find items such as Eisenhower's favorite whiskey, Director's Reserve.[18] Hughes' official role during the invasion of Europe was to be what Eisenhower termed his "eyes and ears." He toured behind lines, reported on security issues and logistical problems, and advised Eisenhower on discipline issues.[19]

Hughes retired from the military in 1949 and settled in Washington D.C.. He was appointed as the Director for Office of Energy and Utilities of the National Security Resources Board.[3][6][20]


He was twice awarded the Legion of Merit and also the Army Distinguished Service Medal. For his services in World War II, he also received a number of foreign awards, including the Legion of Honor and the Croix de Guerre from France, the Order of the Crown and Croix de Guerre from Belgium, the Order of the Fatherland from the Soviet Union, and the Order of Nichan-Iftikhar from Tunisia.[12] Here is his ribbon bar:

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
1st Row Army Distinguished Service Medal Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster Bronze Star Medal
2nd Row Mexican Service Medal World War I Victory Medal American Defense Service Medal American Campaign Medal
3rd Row European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with eight service stars World War II Victory Medal Commander of the Legion of Honor (France) French Croix de guerre 1939–1945 with Palm
4th Row Commander of the Order of the Crown (Belgium) Belgian Croix de guerre 1940–1945 with Palm Commander of the Order of Nichan-Iftikhar (Tunisia) Soviet Order of the Patriotic War, 1st Class

Death and burial

Hughes died on September 5, 1957 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center after a long illness. He was interred at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors on September 10, 1957.[3][6][21]

Hughes diary and transcription

Hughes was a prolific note-taker, correspondent, and diarist; his papers at the Library of Congress measure 5.2 linear feet.[22] His diaries sat for many years in the Library of Congress and were not studied due to Hughes' unique "spiky Gothic hand." Molly McClellan was able to "crack" Hughes' code and transcribe the over 900 pages of his diaries, thus allowing researchers to read his account of activities during World War II, notably those of Eisenhower's inner circle.[23]

Personal life

Hughes married Kate Murphy of San Antonio (d. 1980) in 1910. In 1981 Holocaust denier David Irving claimed that Hughes had a girlfriend whom he referred to as “JP” in his diary.[5][6][18] Recent research has discovered that “JP” refers to Elizabeth Prismall, who was a British secretary on Hughes’ staff. The nature of their relationship was indeed close, but it is by no means certain that the two were having an affair. Hughes, of his own volition, informed Kate of Mrs. Prismall’s presence explaining in a letter dated March 8, 1943, "I have taken Mrs. Prismall to the mess several times and during the past few days….So you’ll soon here [sic] that Hughes has a girl friend [sic] along with the rest. But don’t put the wrong interpretation on anything you hear or on what I have said unless you want to make yourself unhappy.”[24]


  1. Lerner 1981, p. 3
  2. Pearson 1943, p. 6
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 New York Times 1957, p. 84
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Cullum 1920, p. 1345
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Cooney & Heiss 2002, p. 3
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Washington Post and Times Herald 1957, p. 1-B2
  7. 7.0 7.1 Irving 1981, p. 54
  8. 8.0 8.1 Axelrod 2006, pp. 96–97
  9. Cullum 1930, p. 786
  10. Cullum 1940, p. 201
  11. Crosswell 1991, p. 142
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Cullum 1950, p. 122
  13. "North African Yankees Win Series Opener, Too". The Milwaukee Journal. October 6, 1943. Retrieved November 8, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Crosswell 2010, p. 301
  15. Howe 1957, pp. 495–496
  16. Crosswell 1991, p. 197
  17. Crosswell 1991, pp. 197–198
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Irving 1981, p. 87
  19. Irving 1981, p. 88
  20. Cooney & Heiss 2002, p. 4
  21. Arlington National Cemetery 2013
  22. Cooney & Heiss 2002, p. 2
  23. Irving 1981, pp. 417–18
  24. Alexander G. Lovelace, "Hughes' War: The Allied High Command through the Eyes of General Everett S. Hughes" (M.A. thesis, The George Washington University, 2013), 71.


Further reading