Robert C. Richardson


Name Robert C. Richardson
Born October 27 1882
Died March 2 1954
Birth Location Charleston, South Carolina


Career army officer and Hawai'i's second military governor under martial law and successor to Delos Emmons.

Robert C. Richardson was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and graduated from Charleston college before he entered West Point. In 1904, he was commissioned from the United States Military Academy and attended the University of Grenoble, France, as well as the Army War College. He was a liaison officer in the American Expeditionary Force fighting in France during the first world war and also served as military attaché in the embassy in Rome. His last military command was in Hawai'i where he was governor under martial law from June 1, 1943, to late 1945 when the government was returned to civil authorities. Richardson was also Commanding General of United States Army Forces in the Pacific Ocean Areas a job in which he was responsible for training and sending men into Pacific war theaters. He was credited with the construction of Tripler Army Medical Center, headquarters of the Pacific Regional Medical Command and the present headquarters at Fort Shafter, known as the Pineapple Pentagon.

In his job as military governor, Richardson often found himself in opposition to civil officials particularly during a court test of his suspension of the right of habeas corpus. Former Federal Judge Delbert E. Metzger, in late 1943 ordered the general to produce in his court two Americans of German ancestry who had been incarcerated by the military. After Richardson refused to do so, Metzger found him in contempt of court and fined him $5,000. Richardson was eventually pardoned by President Roosevelt and retired November 9, 1945. During his career, Richardson was awarded the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Officer Legion of Honor from France. On March 2, 1954, Richardson passed away as a result of a heart attack while visiting Rome. He was eventually buried at West Point.

Authored by Kelli Y. Nakamura, University of Hawai'i

For More Information

"Gen. Richardson Dies in Rome of Heart Attack," Honolulu Star Bulletin, March 2, 1954, 1.

"Lt. Gen. Robert C. Richardson." U.S. Army Pacific website, http://www.usarpac.army.mil/history2/cg_richardson.asp

"Richardson, Wartime Boss Here, Dead." Honolulu Advertiser, March 3, 1954, A-5.

"Robert Charlwood Richardson, Jr." Military Times Hall of Valor. http://projects.militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=18088.

Robinson, Greg. A Tragedy of Democracy: Japanese Confinement in North America. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009.

Scheiber, Harry N., and Jane L. Scheiber. "Bayonets in Paradise: A Half-Century Retrospect on Martial Law in Hawaii, 1941–46." University of Hawai'i Law Review 19 (1998): 477–648.

Tripler Army Medical Center website. http://www.tamc.amedd.army.mil/.