Major General Patrick J. Hurley was born January 8, 1883, in the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory to Pierce and Mary Kelly Hurley, Irish immigrants from Texas who eventually settled in Indian Territory in the Choctaw Nation. Pierce felt he would find better opportunities to make a living and moved the family to Indian Territory.
Pat Hurley attended National University Law School in 1907, completing his law degree in 1908. He continued his studies at George Washington University, Washington D. C. During this period, he became a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity. In 1908, Hurley returned to Oklahoma and began practicing law in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Hurley joined the Army and in November 1918, was wounded in action and awarded the Silver Star. He served later as Judge Advocate General of the Sixth Army Corps, negotiating agreements between the American Expeditionary forces and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg for passage of the Expeditionary forces through neutral Luxembourg, saving the United States and its Allies potentially large claims for damages.
In 1912 he was appointed Chief Attorney for the Choctaw Nation. During his term of office, he saved the Choctaw Nation $35,000,000.
In 1929, after running the campaign of Herbert Hoover in Oklahoma, he served as Assistant Secretary of War until the death of Secretary Wood in November 1929, when Hurley was appointed Secretary of War in Herbert Hoovers’ Cabinet, the first Oklahoman to serve in a presidential cabinet.
He was appointed to Brigadier General in 1941 and served in World War II as the first Minister to New Zealand, envoy of President Roosevelt to Russia, ran the blockade twice to get food and ammunition to the troops in the Philippines and to assist in getting General MacArthur out of that area. In 1944, he was promoted to Major General and appointed U.S. Ambassador to China.
For his service in two World Wars he received several awards for service and bravery: The Army Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, World War I and World War II Victory Medals and several World War I and World War II campaign and service medals. He died July 30, 1963.