The Last Salute: Civil and Military Funeral, 1921-1969


Former Army Chief of Staff
General Malin Craig
Funeral Without Formal Classification
26-30 July 1945

After a year's illness General Malin Craig, who had been Chief of Staff of the Army from 1935 to 1939, died at Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington, D.C., on 25 July 1945. He had retired from the Army in 1939, but returned to active duty in September 1941 to head the War Department Personnel Board and was still on active duty at the time of his death. He would have been seventy years old on 5 August.

General Craig was entitled under Army regulations to a funeral with military honors and ceremonies befitting his rank as former Chief of Staff of the Army. These included a 17-gun salute and a funeral procession with a military escort composed of a regiment of infantry, a squadron of cavalry, and a battalion of field artillery.

Had usual procedures been followed, orders announcing the death of General Craig would have directed that these and other honors be rendered, but the general during his fatal illness had asked that his funeral be kept entirely private. Acting Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson acknowledged this request in announcing the death of the former Chief of Staff to the Army on 25 July. The "funeral will be private," the secretary informed all major commands, "and all ceremonies and honors omitted." Deference to General Craig's wish was repeated in War Department General Order 61 formally announcing the general's death on 26 July. In this order, issued in the name of the Army Chief of Staff, General of the Army George C. Marshall, who was in Europe at the time, it was announced that General Craig would be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on 30 July.

Surviving General Craig were his son, Col. Malin Craig, Jr., and a brother, General Louis A. Craig. Colonel Craig, at the time of his father's death, was stationed in Europe; the Army arranged to have him flown to Washington, where he arrived during the evening of 28 July. Lt. Col. H. M. Pasco, Acting Secretary of the General Staff, meanwhile offered the full assistance of the Chief of Staff's office to the Craig family. "General Marshall," he told the former Chief of Staff's brother, "wanted me to put every facility at your disposal that was needed."


Col. F. Granville Munson, an Army officer assigned to the Chief of Staff's office, met with Mrs. Malin Craig, Jr., to offer help in arranging the private funeral; together they drew up a list of twenty-seven honorary pallbearers. Although it was known that General Marshall, General Arnold, General Somervell, and Colonel Lee were out of the country and could not attend, their names were placed on the list. On 27 July the names were turned over to The Adjutant General, who dispatched a formal invitation to each of the following honorary pallbearers:

General of the Army George C. Marshall Brig. Gen. Walter J. Reed
General of the Army Henry H. Arnold Brig. Gen. Williams G. Grant
Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell Maj. Gen. Everett S. Hughes
Lt. Gen. Thomas T. Handy Lt. Gen. Charles D. Herron
Maj. Gen. Emory S. Adams Brig. Gen Raymond F. Metcalfe
Lt. Gen. Stanley D. Embick Maj. Gen. Joseph A. Green
Lt. Gen. Ben Lear Maj. Gen. Kenneth T. Blood
Maj. Gen. Guy V. Henry Brig. Gen. Charles H. White
Col. Charles W. Exton Maj. Gen. William Bryden
Maj. Gen. Amos A. Fries Maj. Gen. Oley Danielson
Brig. Gen. Edwin D. Bricker Maj. Gen. Lorenzo D. Gasser
Brig. Gen. William E. Cole Lt. Gen. John L. DeWitt
Brig. Gen. Jacob C. Johnson Col. Carnes Lee
Brig. Gen. William P. Wooten  

The members of the Craig family, accepting support from the Army as needed, but adhering strictly to General Craig's desire to have a private funeral, held the service in the Fort Myer Chapel at 1400 on 30 July. Following the service, final rites were conducted in Arlington National Cemetery at a gravesite in Section 2, on the slope below the Custis-Lee Mansion.

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Last updated 24 May 2005