History of the West Hamilton Dinner
Brigadier General West A. Hamilton was born in 1886. He was educated at Dunbar High (formerly known as the "M" Street School) of the District of Columbia (D.C.) and received a degree in teaching from the Miner Normal School (forerunner of the D.C. Teacher’s College). Fifty years later he earned a master’s degree from American University in 1955, at the age of sixty-nine. General Hamilton once said that, "the lag in educational achievement in Washington is due mainly to sociological conditions that are beyond the control of the schools. The parents have got to do more, for one thing. The schools can’t do it all..."
He enlisted in the D.C National Guard in February 1905, where he was rapidly promoted through the enlisted ranks. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in July 1913. He served in the Reserves/National Guard for forty-four years and achieved the rank of Colonel in 1933. In July 1983, during the dedication of the West A. Hamilton Museum at the D.C National Armory, he was promoted to the honorary rank of Brigadier General.
During his most distinguished career, General Hamilton served in a variety of Command and Staff positions to include Professor of Military Science at Prairie View A&M and Morgan State Colleges. In 1916, he served with General "BlackJack" Pershing during the Mexican Border incident. During World War I, he had assignments in the United States and Europe. Between wars he commanded 428th Infantry Regiment and the Citizens Military Training Corps at Fort Howard, Maryland. During World War II, he commanded the 366th Infantry Regiment at Fort Devens, Massachusetts.
In his civilian career, he and his brother owned the Hamilton Printing Company. He served on the D.C. School Board for twenty-one years, and was a member of the Washington Board of Trade, the Greater Washington Educational TV Association, as well as the D.C. Board of Elections.
BG West Hamilton was a member of the ROCKS, Inc. and was a pioneer for the advancement of African - Americans in the Army. The ROCKS, Inc. are proud to honor the memory of this distinguished soldier every year at the annual West Hamilton Memorial Membership Dinner.
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