More detail on this person: John Gillespie Hill, Jr. Major General, U.S. Army John Gillespie Hill, Jr. was born on 9 August 1926 in Plattsburgh, NY, the son of John Gillespie and Selma Lawes Hill. He received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY, and graduated with the Class of 1946, at age 19. At graduation he received a commission as a Second Lieutenant of Armor. In September 1950, then-First Lieutenant John Gillespie Hill, Jr. was serving with 7th Cavalry Regiment (Task Force 777), 1st Cavalry Division, in Korea. On the night of 26-27 September, 1LT Hill's unit was engaged with enemy forces in the vicinity of Hambung-ni, Korea. 1LT Hill's battalion was rapidly moving forward in pursuit of hostile troops when his battalion's column was suddenly subjected to a large volume of artillery and automatic weapons fire that pinned it down and created several casualties. Simultaneously, two enemy tanks appeared and, using heavy cannon and machine-gun fire, succeeded in dividing the battalion into two parts. 1LT Hill hurried up the road to the battalion's advance party, organized it into rocket-launcher teams, and guided them back to the scene of the battle. He then supervised the placement and firing of the rocket launchers while simultaneously throwing grenades and firing his own weapon. Just as one of the hostile tanks was destroyed by the rocket launcher fire, six additional tanks, reinforced with hostile troops, appeared and greatly increased the threat to the friendly unit. 1LT Hill immediately launched an attack on the newly arrived tanks and directed the fire of his men until two more tanks were destroyed and the remainder retreated. Inspired by 1LT Hills' leadership, the friendly troops beat off the attack and continued their advance. The extraordinary heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by 1LT Hill earned him the U.S. Army's second highest award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross. On 10 March 1951, while serving as Company Commander of Company E, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, in action near Yongdogwon-ri, Korea, then-Captain Hill's Company was attacking the well-fortified Chinese positions on Hill 554 when heavy and accurate machine gun fire suddenly swept the slopes and halted the advance. CPT Hill rushed through the intense fire to the point of his lead platoon. Shouting words of encouragement, CPT Hill led his men in the attack and final assault. Inspired by his leadership and courage, the men of Company E charged forward and routed the Chinese who fled in a disorganized mob, leaving behind many dead and much equipment. CPT Hill's actions earned him the U.S. Army's third highest award for valor, the Silver Star Medal. Hill served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War. In the first tour (1968-69), Lieutenant Colonel Hill was Senior Advisor to the Phuoc Binh Thanh Special Zone and later to the 10th Infantry Division, Army of the Republic of Vietnam. In his second tour (1971-72), Brigadier General Hill was a Brigade Commander in the 5th Mechanized Infantry Division; Assistant Division Commander of the 101st Airborne Division; and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Support Command in Cam Ranh Bay. After 32 years in the Army and a final assignment as Head of the U.S. Military Training Mission to Saudi Arabia, he retired in 1978 as a Major General Post-Military Life Following his retirement from the Army, Hill pursued a career as an attorney. He earned a law degree from the University of Texas and established a private practice in Austin. He retired in the mid-1990s due to health reasons. Medals and Awards Distinguished Service Cross Army Distinguished Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster Silver Star Medal Legion of Merit with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster Distinguished Flying Cross Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device and Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star Korean Service Medal Vietnam Service Medal United Nations Service Medal Vietnam Campaign Medal Republic of Korea War Service Medal Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation Distinguished Service Cross Citation The President of the United States of America, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Major (Armor), [then Lieutenant] John Gillespie Hill (ASN: 0-27997), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving with 7th Cavalry Regiment (Task Force 777), 1st Cavalry Division. Major Hill distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces in the vicinity of Hambung-ni, Korea, on the night of 26 - 27 September 1950. On that night the battalion of which Major Hill was a member was moving rapidly forward in pursuit of hostile troops. Suddenly the column was subjected to a large volume of artillery and automatic weapons fire which pinned it down and inflicted several casualties. Simultaneously, two enemy tanks appeared and, directing murderous cannon and machine-gun fire against the friendly unit, succeeded in dividing it into two parts. Major Hill, with keen tactical perception, hurried up the road until he reached the battalion's advance party, which he immediately organized into rocket-launcher teams and guided them back to the scene of the battle. With complete disregard for his personal safety, he supervised the emplacement and firing of the rocket launchers while simultaneously throwing grenades and firing his own weapon with deadly accuracy at the foe. Just as one of the hostile tanks was destroyed by the rocket launcher fire, six additional tanks reinforced with hostile troops, greatly increasing the threat to the friendly unit. Major Hill immediately launched an attack on the newly arrived tanks, and directed the fire of his men with great effectiveness until two more tanks were destroyed and the remainder retreated. Inspired by Major Hills' courageous example, the friendly troops beat off the attack and continued their advance. The extraordinary heroism and completely selfless devotion to duty displayed by Major Hill throughout this action reflect great credit upon himself and are in keeping with the most esteemed traditions of the military service. General Orders: Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea: General Orders No. 578 (September 25, 1952) Distinguished Flying Cross Citation The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Brigadier General John Gillespie Hill, Jr. (ASN: 0-27997), United States Army, for heroism, while participating in aerial flight, evidenced by voluntary actions above and beyond the call of duty in the Republic of Vietnam. Brigadier General Hill distinguished himself on 26 May 1972, while participating in aerial flight during the battle for Kontum, Republic of Vietnam. On the first day of the battle the defenses of the 44th Regiment of the 23d ARVN Division were threatened by an attack by North Vietnamese tanks and infantry. At 0500, 26 May 1972, General Hill departed for the battle area to make a first hand assessment of the attack that began at 0430. Arriving over the battle area, he made an estimate of the situation and immediately called for gunship support. He flew his aircraft into an area of intense enemy fire to mark a position which he suspected contained enemy tanks. He directed the gunships to engage the tanks to separate the infantry from the armor threat and called for helicopters mounted with anti-tank missiles to engage the tanks. At the most critical point of the battle, the enemy was within 200 yards of the Regimental Command Post. As the fire from the gunships took effect, the enemy attack began to stall and became disorganized. Although the 44th Regiment destroyed two tanks, the attack was progressing with every sign of success until actions were taken to separate the infantry from the tanks. As a result of the actions taken by General Hill, seven enemy tanks were destroyed by the helicopters and the enemy attack was stopped. General Hill's personal bravery and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his command, and the United States Army. General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army Vietnam/MACV Support Command, General Orders No. 1914 (August 16, 1972) Death and Inurnment Major General John Gillespie Hill, Jr. died of brain cancer on 28 March 1999 at a nursing home in Austin, TX. His ashes are inurned at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Arlington County, VA, in Section 5A, Row 4, Site 1.
Burial information: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA
This information was last updated 09/10/2018
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