George Harris Paine
b. 14 July 1884, d. 11 May 1949
- Father: William A. Paine
- Mother: Eliza Harris
- George Harris Paine was born on 14 July 1884 in Scranton, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania.
- He married Margaret LeGrand Cameron, daughter of Francis Hawks Cameron and Eugenia LeGrand Weaver, on 27 December 1910 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.
- His wife Margaret LeGrand Cameron became a widow at his death.
- George Harris Paine died on 11 May 1949 at age 64 in Rapides Parish, Louisiana.
- He was interred at Alexandria National Cemetery, Pineville, Rapides Parish, Louisiana.
- The following appeared on 12 May 1949 in The Alexandria Town Talk: Brig. Gen. George H. Paine, 64, retired from the U. S. army after 44 years continuous service, died in the Veterans hospital, Wednesday, Mary 11, 1949, at 12:50 a. m.
Gen. Paine was a graduate of West Point in 1906. He was commanding officer of a field artillery brigade at Camp Livingston during the war. He was transferred to Fort Sill, Okla., and remained there until his retirement in 1946.
He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Legrand Paine, Military highway, Pineville.
Arrangements for the funeral service are incomplete at this time. Interment will be in the national cemetery under the direction of Hixson Bros. Funeral Home. The George M. Simmons Post, American Legion, will conduct the full military service.
- The following appeared on 14 May 1949 in The Alexandria Town Talk: Funeral service for Brig. Gen. George H. Paine was held at 2 p. m. Friday, May 13, 1949 in the Hisxon Bros. chapel with Rev. J. Hodge Alves officiating. Interment was in the National Cemetery.
Military service at the grave was conducted by the George M. Simmons Post No. 3, American Legion, with S. C. Shengler, commander, and Gray Mann, chaplain.
Pallbearers were Robert V. Hatcher, William B. Houston, Frd Murphy, T. Sgt. Joseph LeBlanc, Sgt. Herbert A. Lacour, and Sgt. A. Sloan.
The buglers were L. B. Magee and Alfred Dauzat. Color guards were M. Sgt. R. L. Polk, and Sgt. J. E. Myers. Color bearers were T. Sgt. Willie D. Johnson and Cpl. Leon Bala.
Firing squad was composed of Sgt. H. P. Lee, Sgt. W. J. Gauthier, Cpl. Tisdale, Col. E. S. Smith, Cpl. Pardue, Pvt. Flowers, Pvt. Raggion, Pvt. Tolbert, Pvt. Rosier, T. Sgt. C. W. Martin, Cpl. A. D. Martin, Jr., and Pvt. Bruce Huber.
Members of the guard of honor were Col. Howard N. Frissell, Capt. Max E. Cary, M. Sgt. R. L. Polk, Sgt. James e. Myers, Cpl. B. L. Richard, Col. Massaro, Maj. Downs, Maj. Arnold, Capt. Hill, Lt. Lovell, Mr. Varinaitis, and Sgt. F. C. Johnson.
- The following was published online by the West Point Association of Graduates: In their lovely century-old home near Pineville, La., close to Alexandria in the land of Evangeline, George H. Paine suffered a sudden stroke on the evening of May 10. 1949. He recovered only enough in the Alexandria hospital to speak to LeGrande and say, “The patrol is ended”. Then he went into the long sleep of death in the early hours of May 11. He had suffered a severe heart attack on the day of his retirement from active duty and never fully recovered his strength, but after three months of hospitalization, LeGrande took him to the home they had prepared together for a long rest and play when the call to duty was over. He improved a little under the pleasure of his home, giving rise to hope for recovery, but the strong body and mind had been worn too much in the strenuous service during the war and the postwar period.
Officers and men of the Old Army of men and horses and guns which his class joined in 1902, will think first of polo when they hear the name of George Paine. For that horseman’s sport, he gave most of his free time through all of his army life, building up enthusiasm, organizing teams, training ponies, playing matches and talking horse and rider. A good player, a fine horseman himself, polo in America owes him a debt of gratitude.
And those officers and men of the Army who believe in precision and economy of artillery,—long range behind the infantry lines,—or short range behind heavy armor, will remember George Paine over the years for his schools and his doctrines;—The Firing Center at Camp Jackson;—The Basic School at Camp Taylor and Camp Knox, The Field Artillery Board at Fort Bragg;—The 46th Brigade at Camp Livingston and at the end of his service, The School of Fire at Fort Sill where he trained the demonstration troops and conducted the artillery technique. A fine artilleryman, a splendid teacher, modern artillery owes to him a debt of gratitude.
He was the son of Dr. and Mrs. William A. Paine of Scranton, Pa. In many ways his service in the Army was remarkable. He came to West Point as a Juliette, young in years,—almost the youngest in the class of 1906;—just out of high school at Scranton, Penna., none too well prepared. Preferring the outdoors, the cavalry and artillery drills, the athletic fields and the riding hall, he nevertheless fought hard for his tenths in the section room. Putting on that serious air of his and batting his eyes, when cornered at the blackboard, he made his battle and got by, when fifty others were falling around him from the academic struggle. He did not get high enough in class standing to get a mounted branch and was commissioned in the Infantry, going for his first station to old Fort Harrison, at Helena, Montana, along with his classmate, Hally Fox. After only a short tour of duty there, the battalion moved to Fort Brady, Mich., on the Soo Canal. During the cold winter, Hally Fox resigned from the Army. George Paine grabbed the opportunity to take the examination for the Field Artillery at Fort Riley and obtained his transfer to the mounted service, where his heart was from his first days at West Point. His first Artillery station was Camp Stotsenburg on the Pampangan plain above Manila, P. I. Schnitz Gruber, John Danford and Bill Bryden of 1904 and Waldo Potter of 1907 were there. The artillery battery was still an independent kingdom in the Army. The Field Artillery song had just come off the musical pen of Schnitz Gruber. The parodies were many, ludicrous and gay that were sung in the bachelors’ hall. I shall never forget the happy experience of my short visit to that group of gay spirits.
Returning in 1908 with his battery to Fort Snelling, Minn. Paine lived with Dutch Klem of 1904 and a lively pair of bachelors they were. Next door lived Charles Burnett and his wife, who were then entertaining as a visitor Mrs. Burnett’s sister, LeGrande Cameron. In the mornings, she watched the sporty-looking artilleryman come out with his shining saber, his boots and spurs and ride off on his big white horse. In the afternoon, he departed on a polo pony in sports costume. In the evening, he walked off in blue uniform, the wind blowing back his cape to show a splash of artillery red. Finally, she met him and listened to long, long tales of polo and horses and artillery. She told me herself, that she had to remind him of that more important subject, that he was neglecting. But he picked it up eagerly and talked it out to its logical conclusion. They were married in Chicago on December 27, 1910. Through the 38 years, they have been together in all parts of this planet, their devotion and cooperation have been unstinted and constant. LeGrande survives him now in their Louisiana home.
George Paine took his turn at recruiting service at Peoria, Illinois, for four years and was rewarded with a year’s tour at Fort Myer, Virginia, across the Potomac from the Capitol City. Foreign service called again and this time to Hawaii, service with troops at last, In the First Field Artillery at Schofield Barracks, with the very definite problem of protecting the naval base at Pearl Harbor from attack by land or sea. All branches were there, Cavalry, Infantry, Coast Artillery, Ordnance, Engineer, Signal and Medical units. Four point seven inch guns and six inch howitzers were available for heavy field firing. All kinds of ammunition were accumulated and tested. Farm tractors were sent to be tested and what a test we gave them over Kole-Kole pass and through the gulches and cane fields. Mechanization was the argument of the clubs. Europe was at war and new ideas were coming in from overseas to change all the old rules. The Ninth Field Artillery was formed from the First and tractor and truck equipment was provided, the first regiment without horses. Paine took over one of the new batteries and marched through the mud to Waianae, all the failures of equipment being laughed at by the proponents of the horse. Soon however, with the other commanders, we worked out technique and maintenance that were valuable lessons for the approaching war service in France.
Honolulu was then a wonderful place for the Paines. There were four civilian polo teams, one from each of the four large islands. There were several Army teams. Eight classmates and their wives, stationed there in the gay years of their lives celebrated together the decennial of graduation and wrote a class history of the first ten years. The planning and writing took many and delightful meetings at the pretty inns and pleasant dance floors of Honolulu. The civilian population, worried over the interned German ships and the Japanese Navy cruising outside the harbors, took a serious interest in the Army and its affairs. Four regiments of National Guard were formed and operated during the war period. And then came the attempted burning of the German ships and the declaration of war, the internment of the Germans, the taking over of the ships, the departure of the regiments and the Japanese cruisers moving into Pearl Harbor. The excitement was intense.
George Paine took a battalion of artillery overseas, under the new rank of Major, was promoted soon to Lieut. Colonel of his regiment and later Colonel in command of 17th Field Artillery of the 2nd Division. His superior service there led to his return to the States to establish the training in the new methods. He set up the Brigade Firing Center at Camp Jackson. His success there led on to his assignment to the Basic School of Field Artillery at Camp Taylor and Camp Bragg and to the command of this new and unusual school. He and LeGrande set up an enthusiastic post, attracting the pretty girls of Louisville to the dances and hundreds of young officers to their home. Polo flourished and a gay post life accompanied the training in a busy and valuable school. New materiel and new methods were in the making and all technical branches attended to plan the new designs for the future armies.
The School of the Line established at Fort Leavenworth demanded his time as student-instructor in 1922. In spite of a serious accident in polo, he nevertheless graduated as a distinguished student. Going on to the General Staff College and the Army War College, he was assigned to the General Staff in 1924 to help formulate the new national military policies. He was assigned with General Reed and under Guy Henry as Chief of Staff, of the Philippine Department in Manila. He and LeGrande lived in the Military Plaza with the senior officials of the Department, assisted at the new Army-Navy Club, played on the polo fields of Pasay, and joined in the wide social activities of that large and interesting command. As G-4 under Gen. Henry, he planned the logistics of Bataan and Corregidor against the Japanese attack that was so plainly indicated already during 1924-1927.
George and LeGrande returned to the States through China, India, Suez, Rome, Paris and London, taking their time on a long leave and finding the things that interested them as they circumnavigated the planet. George came to my office in the American Embassy at London, giving me a wonderful account of the marvels that they had seen and the experiences that they had encountered over the long route.
The greatest interest of their trip was the Eternal City. George asked many questions about the attache business and the amount of real interesting work of a professional nature one could do upon such an assignment. It was plain to see that the attache office in Rome was in his mind as a future military station. He waited nine years to get the assignment, but he got his four years in Rome.
For three years from 1928 to 1931, the Paines were stationed at Fort Bragg where he was a member of the Field Artillery Board. The experimental models, resulting from the experiences of the First World War, were just then coming into full test. The large howitzers, the light howitzers, the longer range guns, the self propelled mounts, the new tractors, the new high explosives and propellants, the new ranging methods, the new communications, and the new supply vehicles that were the forerunners of the weapons of World War II, were examined and tested and Improved, developing new ideas of warfare with every change. And Southern Pines was not far away for polo and good social contacts.
Again he was detailed in the General Staff and sent as G-4 of the Hawaiian Department, living in the beautiful Nuuanu Valley of Honolulu and serving at the Headquarters at Fort Shafter. Again the polo fields of Hawaii called him and his old civilian friends gathered to talk of those wonderful days before the First World War. Again tbe Pacific War that had come much closer occupied his attention. The defense of Pearl Harbor, this time by air as well as by land and sea occupied the minds of all officers. But the nation was in the very midst of a terrible business depression and could not be awakened to the expenditures needed nor to the danger threatening.
At last in 1936, he received his assignment to the coveted post at Rome. They were both overcome with the joy of anticipation. It was indeed their greatest common interest; for George, the equipment and training of the Italian Legions for the new wars in Albania and Abyssinia, and the associations with the military experts of all nations; for LeGrande, the chance to study her much improved painting with such new and wonderful subjects for her canvasses; but for them both, the renewal of their great interests of other years. George had much to observe and report that had profound effect upon the supply and training of our own armies for the approaching world struggle.
Upon their return to the States in 1940, the training camps were already being established. George was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned to the 46th Artillery Brigade at Camp Livingston, Louisiana. For three years, until nearly the end of 1943, he continued to train and furnish to the multiplying Artillery organizations, enlisted men and officers, whose names have made the pages of history in the Crusade in Europe. Foreign officers from most of the Allied nations visited there to witness the new artillery methods. Near the end of 1943, he was called to the Artillery School at Fort Sill to demonstrate with the school troops the basic principles of artillery technique. Many students and observers have praised the high morale and the fine performances of his troops. General Pennell, the School Commander says; “It was a truly difficult task to keep his school troops constantly in the high degree of training necessary to demonstrate to thousands of students the best of artillery technique. Had he not done extremely well, he would not have been retained for over three years as the Commanding General of these troops. He was indeed a credit to the Class of 1906 and to tbe Military Academy”. Letters and telegrams from classmates and Army associates praise his military genius and his confident approach to the many difficult problems that were assigned to him in all corners of this planet. Telegrams and letters from LeGrande Paine emphasize again and again her great admiration and love and her grief and desolation over the shattered world of which he was such a major part to her.
Along with so many classmates and friends, I picture him as “Agony”, the gay and smiling companion of cadet days; as Captain Paine, the host, opposite his approving wife at his table, tossing a French salad and expounding the difference between a dream and a disaster; as Major Paine, struggling with the mechanized battalion of new equipment, none too good, and raw recruits, none too familiar with their roles, on the muddy cane field roads of Hawaii; as Colonel Paine in Rome at the head of his table again, but with the military representatives of the world’s armies around him and his wife, speaking now one tongue and now another, about the darkening days before the final struggle of World War II and as General Paine, reviewing his heavy artillery brigade on the Louisiana roads and smiling with satisfaction at the result of his long years of artillery planning. What memories he carried to his Cajun home! What stories he had to tell his officers, as he trained them for our terrific struggles across the oceans of this planet and again for the post war security of our victorious nation.
George Paine has gone. At his request, he lies buried in the cemetery of Alexandria. "The patrol is ended." The nation and the Military Academy can be proud to record in its annals the worthy record of George Paine. We have lost a great soldier and a beloved classmate. Peace be unto him.
—Charles O. Mettler.
- Last Edited: 6 Aug 2016