General Ulio Adjutant General of the Army

April 8, 2018 General Studies

Adjutant-General James A. Ulio M Smith James A. Ulio was born June 29, 1882 in Walla Walla Washington. He enlisted in the Regular Army in September 1900 at eighteen years old. While enlisted, he served as private, corporal, and battalion sergeant major. He received a commission as an Infantry Officer (second lieutenant) in October 1904. His career as an Officer began with the First Infantry. In August 1916, as a Captain, he joined the Thirty-second Infantry until promotion to Major where he served as adjutant at Camp McClellan, Alabama. In March 1918, after he “revealed marked ability as adjutant” (p. 36), Ulio transferred to the Thirty-Fifth Division (France) where he served as adjutant for the Fourth Corps. He received the Distinguished Service Medal for “organization and administrative ability” (p. 636) for the Fourth Corps success during WWI. Ulio served in differing capacities after the war, mostly managing rebuilding operations for displaced civilians in Europe. In November 1928, after promotion to lieutenant colonel, Ulio worked as the executive officer in the Adjutant General of the Army’s Office until 1935. Promotion to colonel came while serving as chief of the Service Command Section in Hawaii.

He held this position until appointment as Assistant Adjutant General of the Army in 1939, with the rank of brigadier general. His major job as the Assistant to Adjutant General was to maintain the Army’s morale while Congress extended the draft and Soldier’s “disgust” (p. 636) with the Army grew. Ulio was fully aware of the circumstances Soldiers were facing and it was during this time that he made his famous quote on morale: “It is when a Soldier thinks his Army is the best in the world, his regiment is the best in the Army, his company the best in the regiment…and that he himself is the best damn soldier in the outfit. (p. 636). For the remainder of his tenure he fought to improve the quality of morale throughout the Army. In 1942, Ulio received the rank of major general and appointment to the post of the Adjutant General of the Army. General Ulio retired in January 1946 after leaving a legacy of positive change for the subordinate Soldiers serving with him during his term as the Adjutant General of the Army. General Ulio was instrumental in the movement of millions of American and foreign Soldiers during and after WWI and WWII.

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He combined superior administrative and organization skills with excellent leadership capabilities as the Adjutant General of the Army as troop strength increased by 75% during WWII. He possessed the keen ability to maintain the balance between congressional pressures and the real needs of the Soldiers in the Army. He spearheaded the drawdown of 1. 5 million Soldiers by sending home 40,000 to 50,000 Soldiers monthly after WWII. He was instrumental in ensuring all ‘draftees’ were not deprived of their vote.

I chose General Ulio primarily because he created an environment in which Soldiers felt motivated and eager to serve during periods of extreme personnel change in the Army. I believe he was a general who understood his enlisted subordinates with conviction. Over the course of his career, he served according to his beliefs and vision of how to manage Soldiers. References Rothe, A. , (1945). Current Biography, Who’s News and Why, 1945 (pp. 635-637). New York, NY: The H. W. Wilson Company.


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