John Hersey Michaelis was born in San Francisco, California on 20 August 1912, and he graduated from West Point in 1936. During World War II, Michaelis served as executive director of the US 502nd Infantry Regiment, and he was severely wounded while commanding the regiment in the Netherlands in 1944. From 1947 to 1948, he served as aide-de-camp to Dwight D. Eisenhower, and he commanded the US 27th Infantry Regiment in the Pusan Perimeter during the Korean War. Michaelis' tactic of having his men hold off enemy attacks while constantly receiving air-dropped supplies was later used by General Matthew Ridgway, leading to the tide of the war turning in the favor of the UN troops. From 1969 to 1972, Michaelis commanded the UN forces in South Korea, and he retired in 1972. He died in Clayton, Georgia on 31 October 1985 at the age of 73.