Pierce attended the West Texas Military Academy in San Antonio, Texas and subsequently Texas Agricultural and Mechanical University and then joined the Army in June 1917.
He is most noted as a commander of the 16th Armored Division during Subsequently served during World War I in France. After war, Pierce served with 8th Infantry Division within Occupation forces in Koblenz, Germany. After return to the United States, Pierce stayed in the Army and was interested in mobile warfare and the development of armor.
He stayed in this capacity until September 1944, when he was transferred to Camp Chaffee in Arkansas, where he assumed command of 16th Armored Division.
He replaced major general Douglass T. Greene in this capacity. Pierce arrived with his 16th Armored Division in Europe in February 1945 and participated in combats in Germany and Czechoslovakia.
Pierce commanded the division during the liberation of Pilsen. Pierce was subsequently transferred back to the United States, where he was appointed the President of the Secretary of War"s Discharge Review Board.
He served in this capacity until 1946, when he retired from the Army.