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Minuteman: The Military Career of General Robert S. Beightler

John Kennedy Ohl
Minuteman: The Military Career of General Robert S. Beightler
ISBN: 978-1-55587-923-5
2001/291 pages/LC: 00-042504

"A significant contribution to our understanding of the role of the National Guard in World War II."—Maj James Gates, Air & Space Power Journal

"[A] wonderful historical panorama.... If you enjoy reading World War II annals through the lens of a biography, you truly will have a food time with Minuteman.... Ohl [also] provides penetrating insights into past acrimony between the regular Army and the National Guard.... [Minuteman] without question, will garner broad reader appeal within the defense intellectual community."—Colonel Richard J. McCallum, ARNG, Parameters

"Minuteman gives an excellent look not only at Beightler's career—and that of his division, one of the best in the Pacific—but also at the often strained relationship between the Regular and Guardsmen, and at the organization, training, and operations of an infantry division. An important book for anyone interested in the National Guard, the Pacific War, and the U.S. Army as an institution."—The NYMAS Newsletter

"Professor Ohl has made an important contribution to the literature of World War II. Robert S. Beightler's success story has been largely overlooked by military historians. He was the only National Guardsman to lead his division in combat—from mobilization in 1940 to V-J Day in 1945! His astonishing saga helps to put into perspective those men of pre-WWII America who prepared themselves to serve if the country ever needed them—and it did! Ohl's biography of ‘Battling Bob' Beightler is an inspiration for today's youth and serves to remind all Americans of the citizen-soldier roots from which our wartime armies come."—Major General Bruce Jacobs, AUS, Ret.

"An overdue classic of American military literature"—Russell W. Ramsey

"Ohl's deeply researched and carefully written biography of Ohio Guardsman Robert S. Beightler is the kind of work that can only strengthen U.S. military history. He provides an insightful assessment of an ardent Guardsman whose greatest desire was to serve his country as a combat commander—and who realized his dream during World War II despite institutional obstacles posed largely by the regular Army. Ohl has given us a fine piece of history that broadens our understanding of the U.S. military experience in the twentieth century."—Jerry Cooper


Following World War II, Robert S. Beightler was one of only two US National Guard generals to be commissioned in the regular Army. Ohl's revealing study traces Beightler's military career from his 1911 enlistment as a private in the Ohio National Guard through his rise to major general and appointment and tenure as commander of the Army's 37th Division during World War II.

Beightler's service in France during World War I and his successful leadership of the 37th in WW II's New Georgia, Bougainville, and Luzon campaigns are portrayed against the often rocky relationship between the Guard and the regular military establishment.


John Kennedy Ohl is professor of history at Mesa Community College. His publications include Hugh S. Johnson and the New Deal and Supplying the Troops: General Somervell and American Logistics in WWII.


  • Formative Years.
  • In Federal Service.
  • The Good Years.
  • Camp Shelby.
  • Trial by Fire.
  • Bougainville.
  • On to Manila.
  • The Battle for Manila.
  • Shock Troops.
  • War's End.
  • Epilogue.