- Tasker H. Bliss
Infobox Military Person
name=Tasker H. Bliss
December 31, 1853- November 9, 1930
caption=General Tasker H. Bliss
allegiance= United States of America
United States Army
commands=Chief of Staff, U.S. Army
World War I
Tasker Howard Bliss GCMG (
December 31, 1853- November 9, 1930) was Chief of Staff of the United States Armyfrom September 22, 1917until May 18, 1918. He was born in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. His parents were George Ripley Blissand Mary Ann Raymond. His father taught Greek at the University at Lewisburg (now Bucknell University).
After initially attending Bucknell where he was a member of
Phi Kappa PsiFraternity, Bliss graduated from the United States Military Academyat West Point in 1875. After graduation he was assigned to the artillery, then returned to West Point as an instructor in French. After the defeat of George Armstrong Custerat the Little Bighornin 1876, Bliss asked for an assignment in the West, but was turned down and he remained at West Point. During the Russo-Turkish War, Bliss studied Russian to learn more about the campaign.
In 1882 Bliss married Eleanora E. Anderson. They had two children: Eleanora and Edward.
In 1885, Bliss was assigned to teach military science at the
Naval War College, becoming that College's first Army faculty member. Because of his knowledge, Bliss was sent overseas to get information on military schools in England, France and Germany.
John Schofieldbecame commanding general of the Army, replacing Gen. Phillip Sheridan, Bliss became his aide. Bliss was then named special assistant to Secretary of War Daniel Scott Lamont.
After the election of
William McKinley, Bliss was posted to Spain as military attaché. He remained in this post until the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. He served in the U.S. 1st Infantry Divisionin Puerto Rico, as chief of staff to Major General James H. Wilson.
In 1899, Bliss served as Collector of Customs in
Havana, Cubaduring the occupation, due to his knowledge of Spanish.
In 1902, Secretary of War
Elihu Rootordered Bliss to Washington, DC to oversee the reorganization of the Army. He was promoted to brigadier general. Brigadier General Bliss negotiated the U.S.-Cuban reciprocity treaty in 1902. In 1903 he served as the first president of the newly formed Army War College.
Bliss then served as commander of the Department of Luzon in the Philippines.
In 1909, he returned to the United States, again held command of the Army War College, then became assistant chief of staff to Major General
Hugh L. Scott, the Army Chief of Staff. In 1915, Bliss was promoted to major general and Army Assistant Chief of Staff.
At the outbreak of
World War IBliss oversaw the mobilization of American forces. In 1917, Bliss was promoted to temporary full (four star) general and appointed as Army Chief of Staff. When Bliss approached mandatory retirement age at the end of 1917, President Woodrow Wilsonkept him on active duty in his temporary grade of full general (whereas the usual practice had been to reduce an outgoing Chief of Staff to their permanent grade of major (two-star) general). Wilson ordered Bliss overseas and in 1918, appointed him to the Supreme War Council. Bliss supported Ferdinand Fochas Supreme Allied Commander and also for the independence of the United States forces under the command of General John J. Pershing.
After the war, Bliss was a delegate on the Peace Conference.
Near the end of 1918, he was finally relieved from the General Staff and served as governor of the Soldier's Home in Washington, DC. Bliss retired from the military in 1927, and was kept on the Army retired list as a full (four-star) general.
He died on
9 November 1930in Washington D.C.. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
The USS "Tasker H. Bliss" was named for him.
Awards and decorations
*Distinguished Service Medal
World War I Victory Medal
*Grand Cross of the
Order of St Michael and St George(UK)
Order of the Crown (Belgium)
Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus(Italy)
Order of the Rising Sun(Japan)
Medal of Solidarity, 1918(Panama)
The National Cyclopædia of American Biography. (1931) Vol. XXI. New York: James T. White & Co. pp. 86-88.
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