Lt. General Hobart R. Gay

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Lt. General Hobart R. Gay's Geni Profile

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Hobart Raymond "Hap Gay

Birthplace: Rockport, Illinois
Death: August 19, 1983 (89)
El Paso, Texas
Place of Burial: El Paso, Texas
Immediate Family:

Son of James Clark Gay and Josephine Udell Gay

Occupation: Lieutenant General
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Lt. General Hobart R. Gay

Lieutenant General Hobart Raymond Gay (May 16, 1894, Rockport, Illinois – August 19, 1983, El Paso, Texas), nicknamed "Hap", was a United States Army general.

Early military career

He was first commissioned into the Army Reserve as a 2nd lieutenant following his graduation from Knox College in 1917. On October 26, 1917, Gay was commissioned into the Regular Army. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant on October 26, 1917 and captain in July 1920. In his early career, he was a cavalry officer. He transferred to the Quartermaster Corps June 11, 1934 and was promoted to major on August 1, 1935. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel on August 18, 1940 and colonel on December 24, 1941.

World War II

General Gay was awarded the Silver Star in December 1942 for gallantry in action on November 8, 1942 at Casablanca. He was chief of staff of the I Armored Corps in North Africa at the time. He was promoted to Brigadier General June 24, 1943. In the Sicily campaign he was assigned to the U.S. Seventh Army as chief of staff. Later he became chief of staff, Third Army, under General George S. Patton, in February 1944. When Patton took command of the U.S. Fifteenth Army, Gay was again his chief of staff. He and Patton went pheasant hunting on December 9, 1945. Patton and Gay were seated in the back seat of the staff car, en route to the hunting lodge. There was a traffic accident, during which Patton sustained spinal injuries which later cost him his life. General Gay was uninjured.

Post World War II Europe

After Patton's death, Gay assumed command of Fifteenth Army in January 1946 for a period of one month. He then became commander of the U.S. 1st Armored Division until its return to the United States later in 1946. He then assumed command of the Second Constabulary Brigade. He served in Europe until 1947, when he returned to the United States.

Gay returned to the United States and commanded the Military District of Washington until September 1949. During his command of the district, General John J. Pershing died at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on 15 July 1948. In accordance with tradition, Gen. Gay coordinated arrangements for Pershing's funeral ceremonies as the representative of the U.S. President.

Korean War

In September 1949, Gay took command of the 1st Cavalry Division (United States) in Osaka, Japan. He brought the 1st Cavalry to Korea, where it was in action on July 19, 1950. There is ongoing controversy about an incident between July 26–29, 1950 at the bridge at No Gun Ri. Just days into his first combat command, General Gay had told reporters that he was sure that most persons moving south and toward American lines were "North Korean guerrillas", even though the US Army itself had told civilians to head that way for their own protection. Based on this belief, Gen. Gay ordered bridges blown, even though they were crowded with civilians.

In the case of the bridge at No Gun Ri, not only was the bridge strafed, but a large number of South Korean refugees seeking safety under the bridge were killed by members of the 1st Cavalry Division firing into the groups huddled there.

In 1999, the Associated Press searched declassified military archives for information on the shooting of unarmed civilian refugees by military personnel. While they found no official Army accounts of the No Gun Ri incident, "In interviews with The Associated Press, ex-GIs speak of 100, 200 or simply hundreds dead. The South Koreans...say 300 were shot to death at the bridge and 100 died in a preceding air attack."

"U.S. archives show clear proof of intent, including 1950 communications from the U.S. ambassador in South Korea and a top Air Force officer saying U.S. forces, to guard against infiltrators, had adopted a policy of shooting refugees approaching their lines, and a series of orders from U.S. commanders to fire on all civilians. Refugees are "fair game," said the 1st Cavalry Division's Maj. Gen. Hobart R. Gay."

Gay was appointed deputy commander of the U.S. Fourth Army in February, 1951. In July 1952 he was appointed commander of U.S. VI Corps at Camp Atterbury, Indiana and in April, 1953 made commanding general of U.S. III Corps at Fort MacArthur, California. He moved to Fort Hood in Texas when the III Corps was reassigned there.

Post Korean War

In September 1954 General Gay was made commander of U.S. Fifth Army in Chicago, Illinois. He was nominated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in October 1954 for promotion to Lieutenant General (temporary).

Hobart R. Gay’s career in the U.S. Army ended in 1955 as the Commanding General, Anti-aircraft and Guided Missile Center, Fort Bliss, Texas.


Following retirement, Gay became superintendent of the New Mexico Military Institute.

He died in El Paso, Texas and was interred at the Fort Bliss National Cemetery.

Media Portrayal

In the 1986 telefilm The Last Days of Patton, General Gay was portrayed by Murray Hamilton. In the original theatrical film Patton (1970), the character of Brigadier General Hobart Carver, played by Michael Strong, was based on Gay.
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Lt. General Hobart R. Gay's Timeline

May 16, 1894
Rockport, Illinois
August 19, 1983
Age 89
El Paso, Texas
Fort Bliss National Cemetery, El Paso, Texas