GEN Lucian Truscott

2018-9-6 Truscott

Some men are born to serve in the Armed Forces. Sometimes it’s familial tradition for sons to follow in a father’s footsteps, or a grandfather’s. In other cases, young men, at a very early age, dream of doing nothing else. And some men are drawn to service not by birthright or innate desire, but by circumstances in which they find themselves or their country.

Men in the latter category can become surprisingly effective, adapting to the service’s rigors and demands as if they were, in fact, born to it.

One such man is Lucian Truscott, considered to be one of the finest Generals who ever served in World War II. Even though he didn’t attend West Point, the prestigious military academy, and had no battlefield experience at the outset of the war, Truscott’s less obvious talents soon became clear, and he proved himself an ideal candidate for top honors as a military commander.

He first entered the war as a Colonel, as he had signed up during World War 1, feeling honor bound to serve his country. But when that war ended, he had a decision to make: realistically, would his lack of experience on the field impinge on his chances for advancement? But he stayed, and when World War Two arrived, he was made Colonel.

Truscott turned out to have a skill that proved very valuable to his leaders, including Dwight D. Eisenhower. He could play, and knew a great deal about, polo. This gave him a connection to Lord Mountbatten, who was leading forces in Europe at the time.

Eisenhower sent Truscott overseas with a mandate to forge a stronger bond between the two Allies. Truscott and others watched the Dieppe battle led by Mountbatten in 1942, and though it was a somewhat disastrous raid, but learned a lot about what not to do.

He was subsequently determined to use what he had learned at Dieppe to reduce casualties and death among his men when he finally began planning raids and battles himself.

His first mission as a General, in 1942, was when he led Operation Torch in Morocco. It was considered a success and earned Truscott a second star. But he felt it had been less than wonderful, too many men lost their lives. Yet it led Eisenhower to appoint him Deputy Commander.

Truscott always tried to think of strategic ways to reduce casualties. Because he believed that the enemy was in superior shape, he insisted his men undergo brutal rounds of personal training before heading into battle. They got into such great physical shape that they went into fighting doing what the men fondly dubbed, “the Truscott Trot.” But it helped, and the men grew fiercely loyal to him.

Truscott’s dedication to his men, as much as his training and experience, led to him becoming one of the most in demand generals leading forces into battle all over Europe.

When sent to Italy, he was not happy with one General, in particular, Mark Clark, who had rerouted troops in an attempt to seize Rome. Truscott felt that the attack was Clark’s vainglorious attempt to stroke his own ego, demonstrating little regard for the well being of the men, or the bigger picture of the war’s goals. He did not wish to participate in what he deemed to be an exercise in ego. Ultimately, Truscott led VI Corps in the invasion of Southern France.

In May, 1945, Truscott was asked to speak at a ceremony at the Sicily Rome American Cemetery in Italy. When he rose to stand by the dais, Truscott turned his back on his listeners so he could speak directly to the dead. Then, as World War II cartoonist Bill Mauldin recalled, he apologized to the fallen men buried there.

He would not speak of “the glorious dead,” Mauldin commented, as so many other military leaders did. He found no glory in row after row of white crosses giving mute testimony to dead soldiers, most of whom were in their late teens or early twenties.

According to Mauldin, Truscott then made a promise. That if he ever met any old people, particularly old men, who thought death in battle was glorious, he would straighten them out. It was, he said, the least he could do.

We honor you, Lucian Truscott.

(#Repost @War Stories)

MG Dee Ann McWilliams

2018-4-14 McWilliams.jpg

Major General Dee Ann McWilliams, USA, Retired, took the helm as president of the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation on January 1, 2016. Serving 29 years with the United States Army, MG McWilliams held a variety of Human Relations positions, including command of four companies, a training battalion, and a personnel brigade. She also taught national strategic studies and leadership, and served as an Equal Opportunity Officer. As Director, Military Personnel Management for Department of the Army, MG McWilliams developed policy and strategy for staffing, salary compensation, and training for over 1 million soldiers, to include recruitment of more than 100,000 annually. She also served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel and Installation Management in Europe where she provided human resource and quality of life support to soldiers in Germany, Italy, Hungary, Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia, Greece, and Egypt. MG McWilliams retired from the Army in 2003 and later joined the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. She retired in 2010 as Director of the Lessons Learned Center. MG McWilliams holds degrees from Lon Morris College, Stephen F. Austin University where she was named a distinguished alumnus, Texas Woman’s University, and the National War College. She serves on the advisory boards of the Army Historical Foundation and the Army Women’s Foundation where she previously served as President. In 2007, MG McWilliams joined the board of directors for the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, assuming the position of Vice Chair in 2014. She was the 2013 recipient of the Lillian K. Keil Award for outstanding contributions to women’s service in the United States military and was named a Trailblazer by Women Veterans Interactive.

We honor you, Dee Ann McWilliams.

(Submission by: Ninzel Rasmuson)

LTG Julius Wesley Becton, Jr.

2018-1-06 Becton

Military Officer and federal government administrator Julius W. Becton, Jr. was born on June 29, 1926 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania to Julius Wesley and Rose Banks Becton. He joined the Army Air Corps in July 1944 and graduated from Infantry Officer Candidate School in 1945. While on active duty, Becton graduated from Prairie View A & M College in 1960 with his B.S. degree in mathematics and the University of Maryland in 1966 with his M.A. degree in economics. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Armed Forces Staff College and the National War College. Post his military service, Becton has received honorary doctorate degrees from Huston-Tillotson College, Muhlenberg College, Prairie View A & M University, The Citadel, Dickinson College, and American Public University System.

Becton joined the 93rd Infanry Division in the Pacific at the end of World War II and was separated from the Army in 1946, but returned to active duty after President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981 to desegregate the military in 1948. Rising to the rank of Lieutenant General in 1978 he commanded the 1st Cavalry Division, the United States Army Operations Test and Evaluation Agency, and the VII Corps – the Army’s largest combat corps in Europe during the Cold War. Becton also served in the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and retired from the U.S. Army in 1983 after nearly 40 years of service. However, his public service career was far from over.

From 1984 to 1985, he served as the director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance in the United States Agency for International Development. He then served as the third director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency from 1985 to 1989 under President Ronald Reagan. In his mid-sixties, Becton began a new career, that of education administrator. From 1989 to 1994, he was the fifth president of Prairie View A & M University, his alma mater – becoming the first graduate of Prairie View A & M University to attain flag rank in the military. In 1996, he became the superintendent of the Washington, D.C. public school system.

We honor you, Julius Becton.

(#Repost @The History Makers)

GEN Ann Elizabeth Dunwoody

2017-12-23 Dunwoody

The first woman to serve as a four-star general in both the Army and the U.S. armed forces, Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody joined the Army in 1974, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Women’s Army Corps in 1975. Her first assignment was as supply platoon leader, 226th Maintenance Company (Forward, Direct Support), 100th Supply and Services Battalion (Direct Support), Fort Sill, Okla. Her biggest impact was as commander of the Army Materiel Command, or AMC, one of the largest commands in the Army, employing more than 69,000 employees across all 50 states and 145 countries. “It was Ann’s most recent role, as commander of the AMC, in which she unified global logistics in a way [that has never] been done,” said Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno . “She capitalized AMC’s fundamental logistics functions to maximize the efficiency and services they provided of supply, maintenance, contact support, research and development, base and installation support, and deployment and distribution. She connected AMC not only to the Army, but ensured the joint force was always ready and supplied as well.” “From the very first day that I put my uniform on, right up until this morning, I know there is nothing I would have rather done with my life,” she said. “Thank you for helping me make this journey possible.”

At her retirement ceremony in 2012, Dunwoody said, “Over the last 38 years I have had the opportunity to witness women Soldiers jump out of airplanes, hike 10 miles, lead men and women, even under the toughest circumstances,” she said. “And over the last 11 years I’ve had the honor to serve with many of the 250,000 women who have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan on battlefields where there are no clear lines, battlefields where every man and woman had to be a rifleman first. And today, women are in combat, that is just a reality. Thousands of women have been decorated for valor and 146 have given their lives. Today, what was once a band of brothers has truly become a band of brothers and sisters.”

We honor you, Ann Dunwoody.

(#Repost @Military.com)