G-2, 11th Airborne Division
April 7, 1917 -
Citations: Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Air Medal, and the Purple Heart, World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017.
Bio: BRIGADIER GENERAL HENRY J. MULLER US Army, Retired
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Henry Muller, 103 years old this year (2020), entered the Army as a second lieutenant from the Infantry Reserve in 1940 and was commissioned in the Regular Army in 1942.
In May 1943, during World War II, then Major Muller was assigned as the G-2 of the 11th Airborne Division in the Pacific, a position he held until the end of the war. He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in September 1944.
When told about a Japanese prison camp at Los Baños, 30 miles behind enemy lines on Luzon in the Philippine Islands, he personally gathered intelligence from photo reconnaissance, guerilla reports, maps, and scouting missions conducted by his section’s Provisional Reconnaissance Platoon. In collaboration with the Division’s G-3, Muller developed a plan for a surprise threeprong land, amphibious, and airborne attack on the camp. Launched on February 23, 1945, the successful raid liberated 2,147 American and Allied civilians with almost no casualties. Nearly 50 years after the raid, Gen. Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called the raid “the textbook airborne operation for all ages and all armies,” and the 11th Airborne Division commander, General Joseph M. Swing, recalled that it could not have succeeded “without perfect intelligence.”
Following the war, Muller served as Assistant G-2 of the US Eighth Army during the occupation of Japan. He returned to the United States in 1947 and was assigned as Assistant G-2, Army Ground Forces, at Fort Monroe, Virginia. From 1950 to 1953, Lt. Col. Muller was appointed Special Assistant for Current Intelligence to the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In this capacity, he helped prepare and present the weekly intelligence briefings to President Harry Truman.
After completing the Spanish course in the Army Language School, he made use of his language training in El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Argentina, as well as in the Panama Canal Zone as Commandant of the Army's Jungle Warfare Training Center. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, then Col. Muller commanded the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment in the 82nd Airborne Division. His regiment was designated to be first to jump into Cuba shortly before the operation was canceled when Soviet freighters carrying missiles to Cuba turned back (Col. Muller could actually see the Russian ships with the missiles onboard sailing towards the USN picket ships before they stopped then turned around).
In the picture above-right, President John F. Kennedy visited Ft. Bragg, North Carolina on October 12, 1961, to asses the readiness of the 82nd Airborne Division during the Cuban Missile Crisis. General Bruce Palmer, just to President Kennedy's right, presents Colonel Muller, second from the right, in full combat gear with face painted, as well as an unknown trooper (General Muller couldn't remember who at this time).
After his promotion to Brigadier General in March 1967, Gen. Muller served as Assistant Division Commander of the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam and commanded the US Army Advisory Group in the I Corps Tactical Zone. His final assignment was Commanding General of the Infantry Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana, until his retirement in July 1971.
In 1975, Gen. Muller (then of Santa Barbara, California) was presented with a problem: His wife, Cathryn, who was in her 60’s, was unable to manage a wheelbarrow in their stable without it tilting and causing back pain. Because he knew how much his wife loved her stable work, Gen. Muller created the first easy-to-use, lightweight, durable and well balanced stable cart on the market. He patented his new product the Muller’s Stablemate™ and began selling his famous design at nearby stables and ranches. Since then the concept has spread around the world! https://www.smartcarts.com/about-us.html
Henry Muller with his parents, Henry John Muller and Edith Hunter Smith.
Henry Muller on the left with an unknown companion
Henry Muller's Fairfax High School yearbook for 1933 listing Henry as a member of the Sword and Chevron ROTC club
To learn more about Henry's historic unit and the intrepid men who fought in it, you can order Jeremy C. Holm's new book, WHEN ANGELS FALL: From Toccoa to Tokyo, The 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment in World War II by visiting our online store or purchasing a copy wherever books are sold.