|U.S. Army Major William G. Kreitner
Corps of Engineers
Director of Operations, Desert District
Persian Gulf Command
|WWII Persian Gulf Command History:
During World War II, the U.S. Army's Persian Gulf Command maintained a supply line through Iran for the
benefit of our Soviet allies. The first American troops of the PGC arrived in Iran in December 1942 and quickly
took control of the Trans-Iranian Railway, which had been completed only three years earlier. The Persian Gulf
Command moved material and supplies from port cities on the gulf through the mountains to Iran's border with
the Soviet Union, by train and by truck, until the end of the war in Europe in the spring of 1945.
The strategic importance of Iraqi oil for the British war effort, the state of British colonial rule in Iraq, and the
April 1941 coup by Rashid Ali al-Gaylani, led to a brief Anglo-Iraqi war. Aside from maintaining access to oil,
Churchill also wanted to prevent German intervention on the Iraqi side. This conflict between the United
Kingdom and the rebel government of Ali al-Gaylani in the Kingdom of Iraq lasted from May 2nd to May 31st
1941. The campaign resulted in the re-occupation of Iraq by British forces and the return to power of the
ousted pro-British Regent of Iraq, Prince Abdul Ilah. While the British secured Iraq for the Allies, the campaign
further fueled nationalist resentment in Iraq toward the British-supported Hashemite monarchy.
Coming shortly after the British occupation of Iraq and the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941,
the Anglo-Soviet occupation of Iran secured a vital route for supplies to the Soviet Union and assured British
control of the region’s oil fields. This Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran, codenamed Operation COUNTENANCE,
began on August 25th 1941 and concluded on September 17th. Allied occupation of Iran secured supply lines
for the Soviets now fighting against Axis forces on the Eastern Front. Although Iran was officially neutral, its
monarch Rezâ Shâh Pahlavi, was friendly toward the Axis Powers. He was deposed during the subsequent
occupation and replaced with his young son, Mohammad Rezâ Shâh Pahlavi.
Although coveted by the Axis powers for its rich oil supplies, the Persian Gulf Theater was the scene of very
little fighting in World War II. Nonetheless, the theater remained important. The delivery of war materiel to the
Soviet Union brought a substantial American military presence to the region for the first time. At its peak, the
theater had approximately 65,000 U.S. civilians and 30,000 uniformed Service Members. However, when the
U.S. Army began deploying troops to Iran, American policy makers and the general public had very little
knowledge of the region. The War Department did not have maps of Persia when the decision was made to
move into the country, and the State Department’s Division of Near-Eastern Affairs had a small staff of
thirteen, only three of whom spoke regional languages.
|Recommendation for Award, Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Non-Combatant Gallantry, above photo.
This document, dated November 1945, Persia Area, Persia and Iraq Command, is for Major William G. Kreitner, Corps of
Engineers, Persian Gulf Command, U.S. Army, for the British Medal: MBE Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences,
work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established on June 4th 1917
by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the
recipient either a knight, if male, or dame, if female. The fifth order is the MBE, Member of the Most Excellent Order of the
British Empire, the recommendation shown above. The MBE is awarded for an outstanding achievement or service to the
community which has had a long-term, significant impact, and awarded by the United Kingdom.
The citation above reads: “As Director of Operations, Desert District, during the period of 1942 to 1944, Major Kreitner was
responsible for arranging American engineer assistance on the Southern, and most difficult, portion of the main Aid-to-Russia
highway. He also maintained very close liason with the DCRE ANDIMESHK (Deputy Commander, Royal Engineers, Andimeshk,
Iran), where our interests were very intermingled with those of the PGC (Persian Gulf Command), and a high degree of co-
operation was attained.” Signed Major-General R.A. Savory, General Officer Commanding, Persia and Iraq Command.
|Wool Field Jacket, Major William G. Kreitner, above two photos.
This Olive Drab Wool Field Jacket, Stock No. 55-J-384-730, Size 42R, was produced by Mercer Clothing Mfg. Co., Purchase
Order No. 12036, Dated June 9th 1944, Pattern Dated May 10th 1944, was owned by Major William G. Kreitner, Persian Gulf
Command. Major Kreitner served as Director of Operations, Desert District, during the period of 1942 to 1944.
William G. Kreitner was born January 1902 in New York. His parents were Karl Kritner and Maria Schumacker.
He started his service on May 20th 1933, New York Guard, 107th Infantry, Company F., promoted to Private First Class
December 4th 1934, Corporal July 2nd 1935, Sergeant July 21st 1936, First Sergeant January 29th 1937, and was
discharged May 19th 1939. He was commissioned a Captain in the 7th Regiment, Company F, New York Guard, December
4th 1940. He was transferred from the New York Guard, December 19th 1941. He would then serve in the Persian Gulf
Command, as an Engineering Officer from 1942-1944. After WWII, he would serve in Salzburg, Austria, “Camp Roeder
Landscaped”, home of the U.S. Forces Austria, as the 969th Tactical Command Troops Commanding Officer, Lt. Col William
G. Kreitner. He retired his commission on April 30th 1953.
William G. Kreitner died July 1961, East Orange New Jersey.
|Wool Field Jacket, Major William G. Kreitner, above photo.
This Olive Drab Wool Field Jacket has the U.S. Forces Austria Shoulder Sleeve Insignia on the left sleeve and the Former
Wartime Service Shoulder Sleeve Insignia on the right sleeve for the Persian Gulf Command. The rank insignia on the
shoulders is for the rank of Major. The Distinctive Insignia is for the 342nd Engineer Regiment and bears the motto "Face
Aut Tace" - Act or Be Silent.
This coat would have been issued to Major William G. Kreitner, at the end of his service with the Persian Gulf Command.
|Pre-WWII New York Guard Medals, Major William G. Kreitner, above photo.
These medals were awarded to William G Kreitner when he served in the New York Guard.
These medals include: New York Guard 7th Regiment 100% Duty Medal (black/red/gray ribbon) New York Guard Recruiting
(multi-colored ribbon), Medal New York Guard 7th Regiment 100% Duty Medal, Five Years (blue/red/gray ribbon), Marksman
Medal for Rifle, Auto Rifle and Rifle Grenade, engraved CAMP SMITH 1933, 7TH REGIMENT CO. F, W.G.KREITNER on the
reverse and two Distinctive Insignia for the 7th Regiment.
These awards were not allowed to be worn once the Service Member transferred to the Army.