Jay W. MacKelvie

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Jay W. MacKelvie
File:Jay MacKelvie.jpg
Born (1890-09-23)September 23, 1890
Esmond, Kingsbury County, South Dakota
Died December 5, 1985(1985-12-05) (aged 95)
Denver, Colorado
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch Emblem of the United States Department of the Army.svg United States Army
Years of service 1913–1946
Rank US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General
Commands held 85th Division Artillery
7th Division Artillery
90th Infantry Division
80th Division Artillery
V Corps Artillery
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart
General Service Cross (Great Britain)
Legion of Honor
Croix de Guerre with Palm (France)
Order of the Patriotic War 2nd Class, (Soviet Union)

Jay W. MacKelvie (September 23, 1890 -– December 5, 1985) was a career United States Army officer who attained the rank of Brigadier General. He was prominent during World War II for being relieved of his command of the 90th Infantry Division shortly after the D-day invasion.

Early life and start of career

Jay Ward MacKelvie was born in Esmond, Kingsbury County, South Dakota on September 23, 1890.[1]

MacKelvie enlisted in the Army in 1913, and was assigned to the 7th Cavalry.[2] By 1915 he had risen to noncommissioned officer.[3] MacKelvie advanced to regimental Sergeant Major before receiving his commission as a Second Lieutenant in 1917.[4]

Originally assigned to the Cavalry branch, MacKelvie later transferred to the Field Artillery. He joined the 78th Field Artillery for World War I, and took part in the St. Mihiel Offensive.[5]

He remained in the service after World War I, receiving promotion to First Lieutenant in 1917, temporary Captain from 1917 to 1919, permanent Captain in 1920, Major in 1933, and Lieutenant Colonel in 1940. MacKelvie completed the Field Artillery Battery Officers' Course in 1923, the United States Army Command and General Staff College in 1932, and the United States Army War College in 1936.[6]

World War II

After service in the War Department's Plans Division brought him to the attention of George C. Marshall, in 1942 he was promoted to Brigadier General and named as commander of the 85th Division Artillery, serving until 1943, when he was appointed commander of the 7th Division Artillery. From 1943 to 1944 MacKelvie commanded the XII Corps Artillery.[7]

MacKelvie was named commander of the 90th Infantry Division in 1944 and participated in the D-day landings at Normandy. Shortly after the invasion, VII Corps commander Major General Lawton Collins decided that the division was not performing satisfactorily in combat. As a result, he relieved General MacKelvie and two regimental commanders.[8][9]

MacKelvie had been nominated for promotion to temporary Major General while in command of the 90th Division, but after his relief the nomination was withdrawn.[10]

MacKelvie was relieved without prejudice, and Collins made clear that he thought MacKelvie was capable of continuing to exercise command, especially of Artillery units. After being relieved from command of the 90th Division MacKelvie was assigned to command the 80th Division Artillery, serving until 1945.[11]

From 1945 until his 1946 retirement MacKelvie served as commander of the V Corps Artillery.[12]

Awards and decorations

MacKelvie's awards and decorations included: two awards of the Bronze Star Medal; Purple Heart; General Service Cross (Great Britain); Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre with Palm (France); and Order of the Patriotic War 2nd Class, (Soviet Union).[13][14]

Death and burial

MacKelvie died in Denver, Colorado on December 5, 1985.[15][16] He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Section 59 Lot 532.[17]


  1. David G. Chandler, James Lawton Collins, The D-Day Encyclopedia, 1994, page 347
  2. National Archives and Records Administration, U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914, Record for Jay W. MacKelvie, accessed September 15, 2012
  3. California Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1957, Record of Incoming Passengers (J. W. Mackelvie, Manila to San Francisco, U.S. Transport Ship Sheridan, December 14, 1915
  4. U.S. Committee on Public Information, Official Bulletin: List of Second Lieutenants Appointed From the Enlisted Men of the Regular Army, Volume 1, 1917, page 14
  5. Harold J. Meyer, Hanging Sam: A Military Biography of General Samuel T. Williams, 1990, page 3
  6. U.S. Army Adjutant general, Official U.S. Army Register, 1946, page 428
  7. William C. Sylvan, Francis G. Smith Jr., Normandy to Victory: The War Diary of General Courtney H. Hodges and the First U.S. Army, 2008, Footnote 67
  8. Henry G. Gole, General William E. DePuy: Preparing the Army for Modern War, 2008
  9. U.S. Army Center of Military History, Utah Beach to Cherbourg (6 June-27 June 1944), 1947, page 129
  10. Army and Navy Journal, Incorporated, Armed Forces Journal International, Volume 81, Issues 27-52, 1944, page 1274
  11. 80th Infantry Division Commemorative Web Site, 80th Infantry Division History Page, accessed September 15, 2012
  12. Normandy to Victory, Footnote 67
  13. Official U.S. Army Register, 1946, page 428
  14. 80th Infantry Division, Miscellaneous Reports, Awards for Heroism and Service, 1945, page 1
  15. Social Security Death Index, entry for Jay MacKelvie, accessed September 15, 2012
  16. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010, entry for Jay MacKelvie, accessed September 15, 2012
  17. Jay W. MacKelvie at Find a Grave