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Hanson Edward Ely
Maj. Gen. Ely in Merl, December 1918
Born (1867-11-23)November 23, 1867
Died April 20, 1958(1958-04-20) (aged 90)
Place of birth Independence, Iowa
Place of death Atlantic Beach, Florida
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States United States
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Years of service 1891–1931
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Service number 0-80
Battles/wars Spanish–American War
United States occupation of Veracruz
World War I
Awards Silver Star (3)
Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Honour
Croix de Guerre (5)

Hanson Edward Ely (November 23, 1867 – April 28, 1958) was a United States Army officer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He served in several conflicts, including the Spanish–American War and World War I, and he received the Distinguished Service Medal and numerous other awards for his role in them.


Ely was born in Independence, Iowa, on November 23, 1867. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1891 and was commissioned into the 22nd Infantry Regiment.[1]

After serving in Montana, North Dakota, and Nebraska, Ely became a Professor of Military Science and Tactics at the University of Iowa, serving in this position from 1897 to 1898. During the Spanish–American War, Ely reported to his regiment at Camp Wikoff and then served in the Philippines from 1899 to 1901. In addition to commanding General Frederick Funston's mounted scouts, Ely served as a regimental and district adjutant in Luzon. He received his first Silver Star due to his efforts in the Philippines.[1][2][3] He attended the German Army Maneuvers in 1906, and he again served in the Philippines from 1907 to 1912. Ely served with Funston on the United States occupation of Veracruz in 1914.[1][2]

From July 20 to August 24, 1917. Ely served as the Provost-marshal of the American Expeditionary Forces of World War I. He commanded the 20th Infantry Regiment until his promotion to the rank of brigadier general in 1918. On October 1, 1918, he was promoted to major general, even though his permanent rank was only lieutenant colonel. Starting on November 18, 1918, Ely commanded the 2nd Infantry Division and then the 5th Infantry Division. For his actions in the war, he received another Silver Star as well as the Distinguished Service Cross and Distinguished Service Medal.[1] He also received the Legion of Honour and five Croix de Guerres from the French.[4][2]

After returning to the U.S., Ely served as the Commandant of the United States Army Command and General Staff College from August 1921 to 1923.[1] After his permanent promotion to major general in 1923, he became the commandant of the United States Army War College, a position he served in until 1927.[5] His last assignment was at Second Corps Area on Governors Island in New York. Ely retired in 1931, and he died on April 28, 1958, in Atlantic Beach, Florida.[4] He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.[2][6][7][8]



  • Davis, Jr., Henry Blaine (1998). Generals in Khaki. Raleigh, North Carolina: Pentland Press. ISBN 1571970886. OCLC 40298151. 
  • Marquis Who's Who (1975). Who Was Who In American History – The Military. Chicago, Illinois: Marquis Who's Who. ISBN 0837932017. 

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