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OVERVIEW- Major General James A. Ulio helped win World War II, though his war was fought from the desk. As adjutant-general throughout the war years, many American families would have recognized his name from one of nearly 900,000 telegrams he signed—all of which began with the words: "…regret to inform you...” However, his role was far wider than overseeing these sad communications.
Ulio faced the task of building an Army large enough to fight wars in Europe, North Africa and the Pacific. Through his efforts, the Army increased in size from around 200,000 soldiers to eight million—in less than five years. He advocated and navigated around lowering the draft age to eighteen. He led and oversaw training efforts that quickly and efficiently prepared soldiers. The general correctly projected that those methods would be a positive outcome of the war. His team identified the appropriate allocation for incoming troops. In order to field sufficient troops to ensure an Allied victory, Ulio had to address and challenge commonly held beliefs on race and gender. It was his order in 1944 that ended segregation on military transportation and in recreational facilities on Army posts.
In many ways, Ulio became the face of the Army during the war, through radio addresses, newspaper interviews, and public appearances. He served as troop morale booster, advocate, and cheerleader for the war effort. Finally, he led demobilization planning to bring home millions of soldiers after the war, transitioning them back into civilian life.
The son of an immigrant career soldier, General Ulio grew up on Army posts and had an eleventh-grade education. A West Point alternate, Ulio enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army in 1900. In 1904, he earned his commission as a lieutenant, and served in France during World War I. Without a college degree, he graduated from the Army's Command and Staff School and the Army War College and five colleges would eventually award him honorary doctorates. Ulio’s military career spanned 45 years and he served as military aide to two presidents. Despite his lengthy career and success in two major wars, General Ulio remains a little-known figure in military history and is not yet included on the Adjutant General's Hall of Fame at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. This biography sets Ulio’s achievements in context and explores the magnitude of his part in facilitating an Allied victory World War II.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR- Alan Mesches is a former sales and marketing executive from western New York turned author. He earned a BA in political science from Grove City College and an MS in journalism from Ohio University. Mesches served in the Air Force as a public affairs officer, and following that, he worked for Procter and Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Dr. Pepper/Seven Up, and Coca-Cola. Mesches currently resides in Frisco, Texas.
Frank Layton was in Company M of the 351st Regiment. He landed in North Africa in December 1943 and went to Italy in February 1944. He was part of the liberation of Rome and the 351st received a Presidential Unit Citation at Laiatico. On September 25, 1944 he was wounded on a mud-covered mountainside. Layton underwent surgery the next day. He had paralysis of the right foot and was on disability. Unfortunately, he was never whole again and died in 1956 at age 40. He was my wife's father. I never had the chance to meet him.