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LeRoy Eltinge

Brigadier General LeRoy Eltinge

By: Grace Elting Castle

Brigadier General LeRoy EltingeBrigadier General LeRoy Eltinge, a 1896 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, had a long and prestigious military career.

The 64th Annual Report of the Association of Graduates of the US Military Academy (June 12, 1933) provides this information:

"…Without mentioning to his family his wish to enter the Military Academy, he took the examination, passed, and entered with the class of '95. A hazing scrape transferred him to the class of '96, and his first assignment was to Troop E, Fourth Cavalry, then stationed at Vancouver Barracks, Washington. In 1898, six troops of his regiment were sent to the Philippines. He was Quartermaster of Peru, on which General E.S. Otis traveled to assume command of the Eighth Army Corps. The six troops of the Fourth were divided into two squadrons of three troops each, and participated in the fighting around Manila and in the North with Lawton's column until Aguinaldo was captured.

From command of E Troop, promotion took him to further Philippine service with the Sixth Cavalry and to duty with General Franklin Bell's reconcentration forces in Batangas Province. Lieutenant Eltinge accepted a detail in the Quartermaster's dept. in Manila, but promotion coming at that time and the knowledge that his regiment, the newly formed Fifteenth Cavalry, was in a fighting sector among Moros, caused him to apply for duty with his regiment. His first station was the island of Siassi where the mounts for a war-strength troop consisted of two Philippine ponies…"

In the ensuing years, LeRoy Eltinge had an impressive Army career which took him from France as a Deputy Chief of Staff of the American expeditionary forces under General Pershing, to acting Chief of Staff in the Philppine Islands, to commander of the First Cavalry in Texas, then as umpire of the Army and Navy maneuvers in Hawaii, and to Fort McPherson, GA where he commanded the Eighth Infantry Brigade. Later, he commanded the First Cavalry Brigade at Fort Clark, TX. His final assignment was in Omaha, Nebraska where, as commander of the Fourteenth Infantry Brigade, he died from pneumonia on May 13, 1931 .

The 64th Annual Report: "…LeRoy Eltinge had an unusually keen and analytical mind and in his several tours of duty at Fort Leavenworth was known as an outstanding expert in Military Art. He was the pioneer in introducing the psychological factor into the course of lectures and wrote a book, "Psychology of War," which was widely used throughout the duration of the war."

The General LeRoy EltingeAmong his many honors were the Distinguished Service Medal for outstanding service in World War I, and the posthumous commissioning of a ship named for him. General LeRoy Eltinge, launched September 20, 1944 by Kaiser Shipbuilding Co., Inc. in Richmond, CA, was commissioned by the Navy on February 21, 1945.

The ship served throughout the ensuing years, carrying U.S. troops and foreign refugees to and from such places as Guam, Marseilles, Shanghai, Japan, Korea and Germany. In 1952 she made several runs for the United Nations, including transporting Dutch troops from Rotterdam to Korea. She was active during the Hungarian Revolution, the Lebanon Crisis of 1958, and assisted in the rescue of 26 survivors of SS Halcyon Mediterranean off the coast of Spain. Following her July 1960 support of the UN peace mission in the Belgian Congo, the ship was placed on reserve status. Then in May 1965, she was returned to service to embark 2,497 troops for Southeast Asia. She continued to transport men and supplies from west coast ports to the Far East until, returning to San Francisco from Vietnam in January of 1967, she was placed in ready reserve status.

bulletFor one soldier's memories of his trip on the ship during the Vietnam Era, please visit Griffin's Lair website by Peter S. Griffin. Be sure to read his poem "THAT RUSTING CRATE".

In December 2008, Grace Elting Castle released “Answering the Call! An Elting Military Tribute,” that includes chapters on General Eltinge’s service, as well as information on the ship that carried his name.

“Answering the Call! An Elting Military Tribute,” is now available at the following Internet sites:


The author may be contacted at gecastle@cluesonline.com

Portrait of LeRoy Elting courtesy of the late Col. John R. Elting, US. Army Ret.

Elting Military History



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