An ‘Army Boy ’, if ever one was born, Garry Ord entered West Point in 1905, bubbling over with good nature and a contagious enthusiasm which none of the rigors of cadet life could suppress. His paternal grandfather, Edward O. C. Ord, Class of 1839, served with distinction throughout the Civil War, being twice wounded in action and, as a Major General, commanding the Army of the James during the closing months of Grant’s campaign around Richmond. His father was a commissioned officer of the Regular Army for over thirty years, being retired as a Major of Infantry. Garry was born at the old Army post of Fort Lewis, Colorado, in 1886 and never once had any doubt as to his chosen vocation.
At West Point, ‘‘Sunny” (as he was soon dubbed on account of his cheerful and optimistic nature) graduated in the upper half of his class. A ‘“doughboy” by inheritance and inclination, he signed up for the Infantery. After the usual regimental experience of a shavetail, including Mexican Border service, he accompanied General Hunter Liggett to France as aide in September, 1917. His AEF record included one month with the 1st Division, six months as Provost Marshal, I Corps, and as Assistant G-3, I Corps, in the Champagne-Mame, Aisne-Mame, St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne Offensives. Returning to the U. S. in the summer of 1919, he became Asst. G-4, IX Corps Area, at the Presidio of San Francisco. After completing the usual courses at the Infantry School and the C.&G.S. School, he served 4 years as an instructor at Fort Leavenworth, attended the Army War College and then commanded an infantry battalion at the Presidio. Four years in the G-4 Section of the War Department General Staff was followed by troop duty at Fort Washington, Maryland, and by 2 years as Director of the Infantry Board. After two years in command of the 57th Infantry (PS) at Fort William McKinley, P.I., he was the Senior Instructor of the Pennsylvania National Guard until appointed Brigadier General and Assistant Division Commander, 1st Division, in the fall of 1940. He brought to this post and to his subsequent assignments an expert knowledge of infantry weapons and tactics.
Early in 1942 Garry was promoted to Major General, commanding the 28th Infantry Division. To his great chagrin he was not permitted, for physical reasons, to take a combat unit overseas. But with his ingrained loyalty and zeal he supervised in the War Department the organization of Reserve units. In February, 1943, he was appointed Chairman, Joint Brazil-United States Defense Commission and U. S. Army Delegate to the Inter-American Defense Board, a position which he held until the end of the War. For his “exceptionally meritorious conduct” in this important mission he was awarded the Legion of Merit, with a citation including the following,—“Through his tact and professional ability, he contributed much to the excellent relations which existed between the armies of Brazil and the United States. During the early period of the war, when northeast Brazil was of utmost importance in transporting men and materiel to North Africa, his unflagging zeal and deep understanding in negotiations brought about joint reinforcement of this area by the two countries. Later, he was largely responsible for the initial plans and coordination of effort with Brazilian military authorities which resulted in the creation of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force. In his contacts with Brazilian authorities, General Ord exemplified the highest standards of the United States Army. His activities contributed materially to the war effort.”
Following his retirement from the Army in 1946, “Sunny” made his home with his family in Washington, D.C. His enthusiasm for hunting, fishing and other outdoor sports never flagged. While on a fishing trip in Yellowstone Park in the fall of 1958 with an old friend, Father McLoughlin, O.P., he sustained several broken ribs, and shortly afterwards a heart attack which was a prelude to his final illness. But never did he lose his courage or his keen interest in life. His stalwart and buoyant reaction to illness and obstacles always stamped him as a true soldier.
Among his many military decorations not mentioned above were the World War I Victory Medal with five battle clasps and the Decoration of Abdon Calderon, First Class, of the Republic of Ecuador.
Married to Irene Walsh in 1927, there are three children, Edward O. C. Ord, IV., James Garesche Ord, Jr., and Miss Marian Ord. His family life was always uppermost in Garry's mind. A devout Catholic, he made it his business to live each day as one worthy of the finest teachings and traditions of his church and his country.