Skip to main content

Clarence C. Schnipke, 1965-1974 The Adjutant General of Michigan

Major General Clarence C. Schnipke, The Adjutant General of Michigan and Director of the Department of Military Affairs, was a veteran of more than 44 years of National Guard and active military service. He was appointed Adjutant General and promoted from Colonel to Major General by Governor George Romney on 22 July 1965 to fill the position he had occupied since 9 October 1964 as Acting Adjutant General. He became the first director of the Department of Military Affairs when he was appointed Director on 18 January 1967.

General Schnipke began his military career as a guardsman when he enlisted in Company I, 126th Infantry on 9 December 1930, several months prior to his graduation from Union High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Seven years later the then Sergeant Schnipke was discharged from the unit to accept an appointment as Second Lieutenant and assignment as a platoon leader in the same 126th Infantry Regiment. In October 1940 Lieutenant Schnipke was appointed munitions officer and assistant supply officer for the regiment and entered active military service for World War II the same month.

With the 126th Infantry of the famed 32nd Division, First Lieutenant Schnipke went to the Southwest Pacific in April 1942. In July of the same year he was promoted to Captain. In January of 1943 he was appointed regimental supply officer, promoted to Major in March 1943, and served in that assignment until August of that year. Major Schnipke was then assigned as G-4 Logistics Officer for the Saidor Task Force operation in New Guinea. He left this assignment in March 1944 when he was appointed Executive Officer of the 126th Infantry.

Returning from overseas in July 1944, Major Schnipke served as a regimental supply officer and Assistant Post Logistics Officer at Fort Meade, Maryland, until July 1945. He served as a supply planning instructor with Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet, prior to going on terminal leave in September 1945. Major Schnipke was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in January 1946 and released from active duty later that same month.

Returning to the National Guard, Lieutenant Colonel Schnipke was assigned as Executive Officer, 126th Infantry, in January 1947. He continued in this assignment as well as being a full time national guard employee with the regiment until early December 1957 when he became Chief of Staff, 46th Infantry Division and promoted to Colonel late that same month.

Colonel Schnipke was assigned as Assistant Adjutant General for Army Units in October 1959 and held that post until he was designated Acting Adjutant General of Michigan by Governor George Romney in October 1964. Schnipke became Adjutant General upon appointment of the Governor in July 1965. Following his retirement on December 30, 1974, Governor William G. Milliken promoted Schnipke to Lieutenant General (MI).

General Schnipke attended the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia; the Special Associate Course, Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Close Air Support School, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and a Senior Officer Atomic Employment Course at Fort Leavenworth. For three weeks each year during 1952-1955 he served as an instructor for a special associate course at the Command and General Staff School.

Awards received by Schnipke during his career include: Bronze Star, Distinguished Unit Badge, New Guinea Campaign, Combat Infantryman's Badge, Bronze Service Arrowhead, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two Bronze Stars, World War II Victory Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with two ten-year devices, Michigan Service Medal with gold oak leaf cluster, and the Michigan Distinguished Service Medal.