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Colonel Philip R. Dwyer

Igor Ostapenko

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Philip Roy Dwyer graduated from the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) high up in the class of 1923. (West Point graduate number 7015).

Born Pennsylvania 9 May 1900, had WW1 service before appointment to the USMA. Commanded 153rd, 116th, and 407th Infantry Regiments in WW2, retiring still a Colonel (!) in 1954. He received 2 Silver Stars, a Legion of Merit, 2 Bronze Stars, Commendation Ribbon, and Combat Infantry Badge (above his ribbons in photo). Died Malvern, Pennsylvania 3 December 1985.

His ribbons are quite eccentric. Top row appears to have placed the Legion of Merit ahead of his Silver Star, while in the second row his WW1 Victory Medal is followed by a WW2 Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal ribbon with one star without the American Defense Medal in between. The rest are too small and "off camera" for me to say what he's wearing-- but he has got them SCRAMBLED out of correct regulation precedence.

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:Cat-Scratch: Very nice! no mention of THAT in his Directory Of West Point Graduates listings! :speechless1::cheeky:

I always wonder WHO decided which RANDOM military personnel should have been submitted for "courtesy" foreign awards!

The information above was from the 1999 edition. This is from the 1969--

Served in the office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, Washington, DC 1949-51, U.S. Army aid group in Turkey 1951- Chief of that mission 1953. In 1969 farming in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Also some information on the three infantry regiments he commanded-- but without knowing WHEN, exactly what he did in the last two is unclear:

153rd Inf Rgt (Arkansas National Guard) served independently as garrison troops in the Department of Alaska-- liberation of the Aleutian Islands from the Japanese invvasion force (Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal, 1 star for "Aleutian Islands")

116th Inf Rgt (Virginia National Guard) was part of 1st Inf Div-- went ashore at Normandy on 1 June 1944. Regiment earned European-African-Middle Eastern combined Campaign Medal with 4 stars for "Normandy,' "Northern France," "Rhineland," and "Central Europe."

407th Infantry Regiment landed in France 28 September 1944 (but WHEN he took over as commander is the vital question) earning the last two battle stars same as the above.

This suggest he had (quite unusually) Pacaific Campaign with 1 star and European Medal with 4 stars-- earned in that order rather than the other way around.

An odd career, and he seemss to have fossilized at Colonel for far too long-- which is another question.

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About the failure of Colonel Dwyer to advance beyond his apparently long held grade. The pre-war Army was small. I?m reminded of a story in Bradley?s book about the wonderful officer ? Van Fleet ?15 (classmate to Ike & Bradley). Went ashore for D Day with the 4th Infantry Division as a regimental commander and was magnificent. When Bradley was asked by Marshal via McNair, ?who looks good??, Bradley instantly replied ? Van Fleet ? can?t understand why he hasn?t been promoted. McNair?s reply ? too bad about his drinking! Bradley went nuts ? ?I know who you are talking about! Wrong Van Fleet! Van Fleet ended up a Corps commander by VE Day! (Makes you wonder about the Ike/Kay caper ? doesn?t it?)

Any way ? lets go through some boiler plate math. Army has about the same numbers of generals now as during WWII. Let?s call that number (for simplicity?s sake 300). The Army had 89 divisions. These divisions had 6 colonel slots (One of the Asst. Div Cdrs, Chief of Staff, 3 Regiments & Division Artillery). About 540 Colonels in divisions alone! Rapid advancement happened when the Army expanded not after ? hence many stuck in grade of colonel. These were perhaps the cream but ? odds of making general were still pretty poor even amongst this group considering maybe 50 promotions to BG a year? After the war, the Army imploded again leaving the survivors to either be demoted or languish in grade forever.

Beyond that ? medals are a distracter ? high ranking officers are real magnets. (I am not suggesting they were not deserving, rather that when they were ? it was noticed whereas lower ranks were often not).

Final thought ? there is often a personality trait for excellent warriors that doesn?t enhance career growth to general. Air Force had the same issue ? note Zemke & Blackslee ? most famous fighter group commanders we had ? both stayed after the war but never promoted again ? retired as colonels.

What was the issue with Dwyer? I can only guess that he was unlucky and did not rise to the competitive level amongst his star seeking peers.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here's something very interesting...

A good friend of mine was Colonel John Wohner, whose Order of Nevsky is just above Colonel Dwyer's on the list!

I thought that document looked familiar...I have a photocopy of that same awards list and used it in my JOMSA article about "Soviet Awards to Americans during the Second World War" that was published in late 2007.

Colonel Wohner has passed on, but I do have quite a bit of information about HOW and WHEN this award was given to Col Dwyer, if you are interested.


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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 7 months later...

I see on this photo LoM and Silver Star .

Some have information about awards of this officer ?

COL Philip "Roy"Dwyer was my grandpop.....I knew him well. I too am a retired Colonel. I followed in his footsteps. We're both graduates of USMA.....57 years apart. He started the family busines....being Army Officers.....

My father(OCS), brother (ROTC) wife, brother in law, nephew and two sons(all USMA grads) are all in the family business.....

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