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First Name: James

Last Name: Rudder

Birthplace: Eden, TX, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Earl

Date of Birth: 06 May 1910

Date of Death: 23 March 1970

Rank: Major General

Years Served: 1941 - 1967
James Earl Rudder

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


James Earl Rudder
Major General, U.S. Army

James Earl Rudder was born on 6 May 1910, in Eden. TX, the son of Dee Forest and Annie Powell Rudder.

Rudder attended John Tarleton Agricultural College for two years before transferring to Texas A&M where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Education in 1932. He began work as a football coach and teacher at Brady High School in Brady, TX, in 1933. Rudder became a football coach and teacher at Tarleton Agricultural College in 1938.

After his graduation from Texas A&M, Rudder had been commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry in the U.S. Army Reserve. After he was called to active duty in 1941, Rudder took part in the D-Day landings as Commanding Officer of the 2nd Ranger Battalion. His Army Rangers stormed the beach at Pointe du Hoc, scaling 100-foot cliffs under enemy fire to reach and destroy German gun batteries. The battalion's casualty rate for this perilous mission was greater than 50 percent. Rudder himself was wounded twice during the course of the fighting. In spite of this, the Rangers dug in and fought off German counterattacks for two days until relieved. He and his men helped to successfully establish a beachhead for the Allied forces. (The siege was replicated in the 1962 epic film The Longest Day.)

Seven months later, Rudder was assigned to command the 109th Infantry Regiment, which saw service in the Battle of the Bulge. Rudder was a Colonel by the war's end and was promoted to Brigadier General of the U.S. Army Reserves in 1954 and to Major General in 1957.

Political & Academic Career

For information on this part of his life, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Earl_Rudder

Medals, Awards, Badges & Tabs

Distinguished Service Cross
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Purple Heart with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 4 Bronze Stars
World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge
Ranger Tab

Foreign Medals and Awards

French Legion of Honor
Croix de Guerre and Palm (France)
Order of Leopold (Belgium)
Croix de Guerre and Palm (Belgium)

Distinguished Service Cross Citation

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) James Earl Rudder (ASN: 0-294916), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 2d Ranger Infantry Battalion, in action against enemy forces on 6 June 1944, at Normandy, France. Lieutenant Colonel Rudder, commanding Force "A" of the Rangers, landed on the beach with his unit which was immediately subjected to heavy rifle, machine gun, mortar and artillery fire. Devastating fire was also directed from the cliffs overlooking the beach. Completely disregarding his own safety, Lieutenant Colonel Rudder immediately scaled the cliffs in order to better direct the attack. By his determined leadership and dauntlessness he inspired his men so that they successfully withstood three enemy counterattacks. Though wounded again he still refused to be evacuated. Lieutenant Colonel Rudder's heroic leadership, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, First U.S. Army, General Orders No. 28 (June 20, 1944)

Silver Star Medal Citation

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) James Earl Rudder (ASN: 0-294916), United States Army, for gallantry in action while Commanding the 109th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, in action against the enemy from 16 to 27 December 1944, in Germany. Lieutenant Colonel Rudder's regiment was attacked by vastly superior numbers of enemy forces on extended positions held in the vicinity of Bastendorf, Vianden, and Brandenburg, Germany. Lieutenant Colonel Rudder, as Regimental Commander, quickly estimated the difficult situation at the beginning of the attack. Through the skillful handling of his troops he was able to direct numerous counter-thrusts against the forceful attacking enemy. At great personal risk to himself, Lieutenant Colonel Rudder also made frequent trips to subordinate units, through enemy-infiltrated territory and under heavy enemy artillery fire. After assigning new and more advantageous defensive positions to his Combat Team, Lieutenant Colonel Rudder directed, during heavy enemy shelling, the destruction of bridges in the path of the enemy after his troops had passed over them. His outstanding tactical ability permitted his Regiment to inflict high casualties on the enemy with a minimum loss to his own troops. During this action, he is also credited with stopping an enemy offensive that threatened a large area to the south and west of his defensive positions. By his gallant and skillful leadership, Lieutenant Colonel Rudder reflects great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States.

General Orders: Headquarters, 28th Infantry Division, General Orders No. 10 (February 2, 1945)


On 12 June 1937, Rudder married Margaret E. Williamson. The couple had five children: James Earl "Bud" Rudder, Jr., Jane Rudder Roach (d. 1984), Robert Dee Rudder, Anne Rudder Erdman, and Linda Rudder Williams.

Death and Burial

Major General James Earl Rudder died on 23 March 1970 after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. He is buried at the College Station Cemetery in College Station, TX.

Honoree ID: 307179   Created by: MHOH




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