Charles H. Bonesteel III

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Charles H. Bonesteel III
Birth nameCharles Hartwell Bonesteel III
BornSeptember 26, 1909 (1909-09-26)
Plattsburgh, New York, U.S.
DiedOctober 13, 1977 (1977-10-14) (aged 68)
Alexandria, Virginia, U.S.
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1931–1969
Rank General
Commands held24th Infantry Division
VII Corps
Eighth United States Army
United States Forces Korea
United Nations Command Korea
Battles/warsWorld War II
Korean War
Korean DMZ Conflict
AwardsDistinguished Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit (2)
RelationsMajor General Charles Hartwell Bonesteel Jr. (father)

Charles Hartwell Bonesteel III (September 26, 1909 – October 13, 1977) was an American military commander, the son of Major General Charles Hartwell Bonesteel Jr. and grandson of Major Charles H. Bonesteel Sr. (1851–1902). He served in the United States Army during World War II and the Korean War. In the 1960s, he served as commander, United States Forces Korea during the Korean DMZ Conflict (1966–69).

Early life and education[edit]

Bonesteel (pronounced Bon-uh-stel) was born on September 26, 1909, in Plattsburgh, New York.[1] As a teenager, he was an Eagle Scout and was awarded the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award by the Boy Scouts of America.[2]


Bonesteel with distinctive "eyepatch"
Bonesteel with his "eyepatch", an opaque lens behind his eyeglasses which was required after surgery for a detached retina.[3]
Bonesteel welcoming the crew of USS Pueblo
Bonesteel, welcoming the crew of USS Pueblo following the Pueblo incident.

A 1931 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Bonesteel received from his classmates the lifelong nickname of "Tick." After graduation, he was a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford.[4][5]

After carrying out a series of command and staff assignments, he served in the United States and Europe during World War II in a number of senior positions. With the surrender of Japan imminent, Bonesteel, General George A. Lincoln, and Colonel Dean Rusk of the Strategy Policy Committee at the Pentagon were tasked with drawing up General Order No. 1 to define the areas of responsibility for American, Soviet and Chinese forces. On August 10, 1945, with Soviet forces already moving through Manchuria into northern Korea, Bonesteel proposed the 38th parallel as the Division of Korea. The draft General Order was cabled to the Soviets on 15 August and accepted by them the following day.[6]

In the postwar era, Bonesteel served as special assistant to the Secretary of State. In November 1958, in an official capacity, he visited the city of Saigon, Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). He also served as commanding general of the 24th Infantry Division (1961–1962), and commanding general of the VII Corps (1962–1963).[7]

Bonesteel served as the Commander of U.S. Forces Korea (and Commander-in-Chief, U.N. Command Korea; Commanding General, Eighth U.S. Army) from 1966 to 1969. During this period he defended against North Korean infiltration during the Korean DMZ Conflict (1966–1969) and dealt with tensions arising from the January 1968 Pueblo incident.

Later life, death and funeral[edit]

Bonesteel retired from the U.S. Army in 1969, died on October 13, 1977, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery near his father and grandfather.

Awards and decorations[edit]


  1. ^ Kinfolk. Vol. 29–33. Wellfleet, MA: Rich Family Association. 1994. p. 3.
  2. ^ "Distinguished Eagle Scouts" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-12. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
  3. ^ Dane Publishing Company, Scenes from an Unfinished War: Low Intensity Conflict in Korea 1966–1969, 1991, page 10
  4. ^ St. Petersburg Times, Charles Bonesteel, Retired General, October 15, 1977
  5. ^ Lewis Sorley, editor, Vietnam Chronicles: The Abrams Tapes, 1968–1972, 2004, page 245
  6. ^ Chong-sik Lee (December 1985). "Why did Stalin accept the 38th Parallel?". Journal of Northeast Asian Studies. 4 (4): 67–74. doi:10.1007/BF03025069. S2CID 150478318.
  7. ^ Charles. H. Bonesteel. 1941.
  8. ^ a b c d Houterman, Hans. "US Army Officers 1939–1945: Bonesteel 3d, Charles Hartwell". World War II unit histories. Archived from the original on 8 December 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  9. ^ "Troop, Crew and Pack 179". Archived from the original on 18 October 2007. Retrieved 12 January 2022.

External links[edit]