Tactics Teachers

Posted: Monday, July 16, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 11:04 am, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

The U.S. Army's top instructors taught military tactics to cadets at Western Military Academy in Alton to prepare them to be leaders on the battlefields of World War II.
Col. Leander Doan, Gen. Edmund Sebree and Maj. Gen. Walter Short taught battlefield strategy to Western Military cadets, who were awarded the nation's highest medals for their leadership in World War I and II.
"Cadets at Western Military received military instruction from the best officers in the U.S. Army," said C.B. Jackson, a historian of Western Military Academy.
Western Military was founded by Jackson's great-grandfather, Albert Jackson, on Seminary Avenue in historic Upper Alton in 1879. The academy trained hundreds of young men until it closed in 1971.
Cadets were officers on the frontlines of battlefields of World War I and II, Korea and Vietnam, said Jackson, who graduated in 1968 from Western.
War hero Lt. Cmdr. Edward "Butch" O'Hare was trained at Western in Alton by Gen. Edmund Sebree, an Army expert who prepared soldiers for combat duty in war.
O'Hare and other cadets in Alton learned military tactics and discipline from Sebree, an instructor who graduated with top honors in 1919 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
O'Hare graduated from the Alton academy in 1932 and was awarded the nation's highest honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as one of the greatest heroes of World War II.
O'Hare was an ace Navy pilot who shot down six Japanese fighter planes, saving the lives of hundreds of U.S. sailors aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Lexington. O'Hare Airport in Chicago was named after the famed pilot, who died in a heroic mission in the South Pacific.
Sebree, one of the Army's top instructors, left Western Military in Alton to command U.S. soldiers in the famous battle to liberate the Pacific island of Guadalcanal from Japanese forces in World War II.
After leading troops to capture Guadalcanal, Sebree went to Europe as a division commander of the famed 35th Infantry Division to defeat German troops on the battlefields of France and Germany.
Sebree was awarded two Silver Stars and two distinguished service medals for his courageous leadership in World War II. After the war he made several visits to cadets at Western Military Academy to share memories of his life as an instructor at the Alton academy, Jackson said.
He was chosen for the position as the first defense attache to Australia.
Gen. Leander L. Doan was another outstanding Army instructor who taught cadets at Western Millitary as a professor of military science and tactics, Jackson said.
He came to Alton in 1936 after graduating with honors from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Doan loved horses and formed a cavalry riding club for cadets at Western Military in Alton. He started an annual horse show, which attracted thousands of people to the military campus in Alton. Beer magnate August Busch was a regular spectator in Alton to watch the equestrian competition with trophies in 15 events.
Doan served as an instructor at Western Military until World War II and then he commanded a tank regiment in the famed 3rd Armor Division. Doan's armored division landed in the D-Day invasion in Normandy and fought at the Battle of the Bulge.
His armored troops moved 101 miles in one day across the battlefield of Europe, setting the record for the longest one-day advance in modern warfare, Jackson said.
Doan was awarded three Silver Stars and the Distinguished Service Cross for heroism. In the face of German artillery shells and machine gun fire, Doan courageously led his tanks across the river to defeat heavily entrenched enemy forces.
His soldiers liberated the German slave labor camp at Nordhausen and forced the enemy to abandon shooting installations for the V-2 rockets.
After the war, Doan made several visits to Western Military Academy in Alton.
Maj. Gen. Walter Short taught math to cadets at Western Military Academy in his hometown of Alton in 1901-02.
"He was one of the most brilliant instructors at Western," Jackson said. "Short became a career officer in the Army and was sent on a mission to capture Pancho Villa in Mexico in 1916."
In 1941, Gen. George Marshall promoted Short to lieutenant general and assigned him as commander of the U.S. military installation in Hawaii. After Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Short was demoted to major general for not being prepared for the attack.
Short and Adm. Husband Kimmel were ordered back to Washington, D.C. The Roberts Commission accused them of dereliction of duty over the Pearl Harbor attack.
On May 25, 1999, the U.S. Senate cleared Short and Kimmel of dereliction of duty charges over the Pearl Harbor attack. Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., said Short and Kimmel "were the final two victims of Pearl Harbor."
"Gen. Short died in 1949 without ever knowing he had been cleared of the charges," Jackson said.

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