James S. O’Brien
Major General James S. O'Brien was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 30, 1922, and enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard as a private in Company A, 135th Infantry Regiment at the age of seventeen. He obtained his education in Stillwater, MN schools and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration from the College of St. Thomas in Saint Paul. Elements of the 34th Infantry Division of the Minnesota National Guard were called to Federal active duty in February 1941 and O'Brien, then a private first class, was assigned with the Division for training at Camp Clayborne, LA. Following completion of training there, he was transferred with the Division to overseas duty in Ireland in December 1941. He returned from overseas in October of 1942 and following various infantry assignments, was ordered to Fort Benning, GA, where he attended and graduated from the Infantry Officers Candidate School and was commissioned a second lieutenant in January 1945. | Major General O'Brien rejoined the Minnesota National Guard upon release from active duty and served as a member of the 135th Infantry, where he held various assignments as a Unit Commander and Staff Officer. He was promoted to Captain in 1950 as the Operations and Training Officer for the First Battalion, 135th Infantry. In January 1951, the Minnesota National Guard was again called to active duty during the Korean Conflict and O'Brien served at Camp Rucker, AL, as an Officer in the 135th Infantry Regiment of the 47th Infantry Division. He was assigned to 1116th Engineer Battalion, following transfer to Korea and served there until December 1952. | Upon release from active duty, he returned to the control of the Minnesota Army National Guard, and served since that date as an Infantry Staff Officer, Battalion Commander, Brigade Commander, Division Artillery Commander and Chief of Staff of the 47th Infantry Division. He was assigned as the Commanding General, Headquarters, Command Group, Minnesota Army National Guard on 1 April 1971, and served in that capacity until his appointment as Assistant Division Commander on 1 October 1973, appointed Division Commander, 47th Infantry Division on 1 July 1976, the position in which he served until his retirement on 23 June 1979. During his military career since 1939, Major General O'Brien served as an enlisted man in almost every grade and as an officer in all from Second Lieutenant to the grade of Major General. | Major General O'Brien's military education includes graduation from Infantry Officer Candidate School, Officers Career Course, Command and General Staff College, Command and General Staff Refresher Course for seven years, Air Ground Operations School and various one and two week period of active Army schooling. | His Awards and Decorations include: The European Theater of Operations Medal, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Expert Infantry Badge, Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Bronze Star, Minnesota Legion of Merit, Minnesota State Service Award and Minnesota Distinguished Service Medal.