United States General of the Army. His rank of 5-Star General was the American equivalent of the European rank of Field Marshal. The last surviving 5-star officer, during World War II, he commanded the Twelfth Army Group (later called the Central Army Group), the largest fighting force every amassed under an American Flag. It numbered 40 divisions and over 1,000,000 men. He served 69 years on active duty. Born in Clark, Missouri, he entered the United States Military Academy in August 1911, graduating 44th in a class of 164 in 1915. During World War I, he remained in the United States, rising to the rank of Major. At the beginning of World War II, he succeeded General George S. Patton, as commander of the Second Army Corps in Tunisia, and took this command to the Sicilian campaign. In 1944, he was promoted to four stars, and command of the United States ground forces for the invasion of France. In August 1944, he took command of the Twelfth Army Group, holding the command until the war's end. From 1945 to 1947, he was administrator of Veterans' Affairs, becoming Chief of Staff of the United States Army in 1948, also serving as the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs from 1949 to 1953. He was promoted to General of the Army in 1950, the last person to attain five star rank. His book, "A Soldier's Story," is mostly about his World War II experiences. After the Korean War, he was Chairman of the Board of the Bulova Watch Company. He died in New York City in 1981.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson