Harry Jacob Lemley Jr. (1914–1992)
Harry Jacob Lemley Jr. was born on February 1, 1914, in Hope (Hempstead County), the son of future U.S. District Court judge Harry J. Lemley Sr. and Caroline McRae Lemley. After graduating from Hope High School, Lemley attended the Marion Military in Marion, Alabama, in preparation for his appointment to West Point. Remembering his time at West Point, Lemley wrote years later: “West Point devastated me mentally and physically, as I was grossly immature in every respect. I nevertheless toughed it out, as I have a great many other hurdles over the years.”
He graduated from West Point in 1935; his brother, Kenneth McRae Lemley, would graduate from the military academy in 1940.
Lemley married Margaret Cusack of Hope in 1938; they had a son and two daughters.
Lemley was at the Anzio beachhead when Allied forces landed in Italy, serving as executive officer of the Eighteenth Field Artillery Brigade, which later became the VI Corps Artillery. He also fought in France and Germany during World War II. He received the Legion of Merit “for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services” for his actions as executive officer of the Eighteenth Field Artillery in Italy.
A full colonel, Lemley served as an artillery officer in the headquarters of the Eighth Army during the Korean War in 1953 and 1954, earning a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster to his Legion of Merit. Lemley attended the National War College in Washington DC in 1954–1955. He returned to Germany in 1958 as assistant chief of staff of the Seventh Army and the next year was stationed in the headquarters of U.S. Army Europe.
In August 1961, Lemley was assigned as assistant commandant of the U.S. Army Command and Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, becoming commandant from 1963 to 1966, during which time he also was Army Combat Development Command’s combined arms group commander. He was awarded an Army Distinguished Service Medal for “exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services…in a duty of great responsibility” for his service at Fort Leavenworth. He then served as the army’s deputy chief of staff for military operations until 1969, earning a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster for his Distinguished Service Medal. He also was the army’s senior member on the United Nations Military Staff Committee in 1969.
Lemley then became chief of staff and commanding general of the army portion of the Allied Forces in southern Europe, serving until his retirement as a lieutenant general in 1971. He and his wife returned to Leavenworth, where he died on October 25, 1992. He is buried in Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery.
For additional information:
“H. J. Lemley, Jr., Now A Full Colonel.” Hope Star, July 3, 1951, p. 1.
“Harry J. Lemley Jr. 1935.” West Point Association of Graduates. https://www.westpointaog.org/memorial-article?id=447c4429-ecc0-42b8-bc20-46d28e0fbaa0 (accessed December 12, 2022).
“Harry Lemley.” Hall of Valor Project. https://valor.militarytimes.com/hero/107771 (accessed December 12, 2022).
Lasater, Mary Anita. “Major General Hope Native.” Hope Star, January 12, 1963, p. 1.
“Local Youth Enters West Point July 1.” Hope Star, July 11, 1931, p. 1.
Obituary of General Harry Lemley Jr. Kansas City Star, October 27, 1992, p. 11.
Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System
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