Whitfield Jack

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George Whitfield Jack, Jr.

(Louisiana lawyer and
United States Army officer)

Political party Democrat

Born July 10, 1906
Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
Died April 23, 1989 (aged 82)
Shreveport, Louisiana
Spouse (1) Frances Rand Jack (married 1936-1974, her death)

(2) Betty Ann Collins Montgomery Jack (married 1977-1989, his death)

Religion Episcopalian

George Whitfield Jack, Jr., known as Whitfield Jack or Whit Jack (July 10, 1906 – April 23, 1989),[1] was a United States Army colonel in World War II, a major general of the Army Reserve, and a prominent attorney in his native Shreveport, Louisiana.


Jack's father, George W. Jack, Sr., a native of Natchitoches, Louisiana, was from 1917 to 1924 a U. S. District Judge for the Western District of Louisiana; his younger brother, Wellborn Jack (1907-1991), was from 1940 to 1964 a Democratic member of the Louisiana House of Representatives.[2]

Jack graduated from the former Shreveport High School, prior to the opening of Clifton Ellis Byrd High School, and attended Methodist-affiliated Centenary College in Shreveport, at which he was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity. In 1928, he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He received a bachelor's degree and an Army commission as a second lieutenant. He then spent one year in the 9th Infantry Regiment at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.[3]

He resigned from the Army to attend Yale University Law School in New Haven, Connecticut, but left Yale for his father's alma mater, the Tulane University Law School in New Orleans so that he could take courses needed for admission to the Louisiana bar. He then returned to Yale for his third and final year of law school and procured the Bachelor of Laws degree in 1932.[3]

Legal and military career

Admitted to the bar by the Louisiana Supreme Court, Jack practiced from 1932 until his legal retirement in 1979. During his early years, his brother, Wellborn Jack, was his law partner. His last legal partnership was Booth, Lockard, Jack, Pleasant, and Lesage; the latter partner, Joseph Carnahan "Joe" LeSage, Jr. (1928-2015), was a one-term member of the state Senate from 1968 to 1972.[3]

One of Jack's legal clients was the Shreveport pastor Jimmy G. Tharpe of the Baptist Tabernacle, an Independent Baptist congregation. Tharpe retained Jack to appear before the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was investigating its sale of church bonds. A government administrator in Fort Worth, Texas, had told Tharpe that the church had two weeks before it must declare bankruptcy, but Jack's trip quickly resolved the matter.[4]

From 1929, except for a brief period as a Louisiana National Guardsman, Jack held a commission in either the regular Army or the Army Reserve until his military retirement in 1966. Jack's grandfather, Colonel William H. Jack, was a soldier and lawyer; an uncle, Robert Foster, was a career Army officer. In November 1940, following in their paths, Jack was named a captain and then a company commander, major, and lieutenant colonel in the redesigned 82nd Airborne Division. He became a battalion commander when the 82nd was dispatched to North Africa in 1943 as part of the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. He parachuted into Italy in the campaign to "soften up" the Fascist resistance. He also fought in Sicily, England, and Normandy, France,[3] in which he had been part of the glider assault that preceded the main invasion.[1]

In World War II, Jack was a G-2 Intelligence Officer on the staff of General Matthew B. Ridgway.[5] After the fighting at Normandy, General Ridgway assumed command of the XVIII Airborne Corps, which was dispatched to the European Theater of Operations. By then a colonel, Jack fought in the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium and proceeded to the North Sea. In April 1945, Ridgway selected Jack to deliver under a flag of truce an ultimatum of surrender to German Field Marshal Walter Model (1891-1945), whose troops werer trapped in the Ruhr Valley. Ridgway compared Model's situation to that of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in 1865, when Lee surrendered to U.S. Grant. Unlike Lee, Model refused to surrender out of personal honor but instead discharged his troops and made then civilian prisoners of war and refugees before he took his own life. Jack returned to bring to notify General Ridgway that Model refusal to surrender.[1]

Jack received the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star, the European Theatre of Operations Medal with six campaign stars, the French Croix de Guerre, and the Belgium War Cross with palms. In January 1946, Jack left active Army duty and returned to Shreveport to resume his law practice and serve in the Army Reserve. In April 1948, Jack was promoted to U.S. Army brigadier general. Thereafter, he was the division commander of the 95th Infantry Division Reserve over the three-state area of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. He was then named division commander of the 75th Infantry Division. In May 1955, Jack was promoted to his terminal position of major general. Two years later, he assumed command of the 75th Maneuver Area Command with headquarters in Houston, Texas, and a component group in Shreveport. Jack was affiliated with the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.[3]

Personal life

In March 1936, Jack wed the former Frances Rand of Alexandria, Louisiana, a daughter of Dr. Paul King Rand, Sr. (born 1888), and the former Ellen Blythe White (1890-1972).[6]

The Whitfields had three sons, Whitfield, III (born 1937), a jewelry manufacturer in Key West, Florida; Rand F. Jack (born c. 1940), a Princeton and Yale Law School graduate and a college professor in Bellingham, Washington State, and Robert Blythe Jack (born c. 1943), an attorney in Palo Alto, California. In 1977, three years after the death of Frances,[3] Jack married Betty Ann Collins Montgomery (1930-2010), formerly known as Betty Sims.[7]

Jack was a long-term member of St. Marks Episcopal Church in Shreveport. He died in Shreveport in the spring of 1989 at the age of eighty-two and is interred at Forest Park East Cemetery in Shreveport.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 John Andrew Prime (March 2, 2008). Gen. Whitfield Jack. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on March 25, 2015.
  2. Membership in the Louisiana House of Representatives, 1812-2012: Caddo Parish. house.louisiana.gov. Retrieved on March 25, 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Whitfield Jack (Class of 1928). United States Military Academy (October 30, 1989). Retrieved on March 25, 2015.
  4. Jimmy G. Tharpe, Sr., Mr. Baptist (Springfield, Missouri: 21st Century Press, 2003), pp. 71-74.
  5. Jack 1730, Ireland to North Carolina (March 29, 2003).
  6. "Happy Landing". Clementinehunterartist.com. Retrieved on March 27, 2015.
  7. Betty Ann Collins Jack. findagrave.com (June 11, 2010). Retrieved on March 25, 2015.