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It is primarily Simpson’s personal nature that has prevented recognition of his army’s outstanding performance. Selfless and steady, Simpson placed teamwork and mission accomplishment above publicity and personal recognition. Had he sought the limelight, like the better known Patton, or had he been more colorful, it seems highly probable that Ninth Army’s significant accomplishments would have been more widely reported. As it was, by the time Simpson and the Ninth Army became operational in Europe and began to achieve significant successes, there seemed to be only one army commander and only one army to stir the war correspondents’ imagination and generate headlines – George Patton and his Third Army.
Simpson, who seemed actively to avoid publicity, remained in the background, identified in reporters’ dispatches as “the Ninth Army commander” and rarely by name. This contrasts to the reporters’ habit of virtually always referring to Patton’s unit as “Patton’s Third Army”. To Simpson, such personal recognition was unnecessary.
Simpson’s operations officer credits his army commander for why the Ninth Army staff worked
General Simpson’s genius lay in his characteristic manner, his command presence, his ability to listen, his unfailing use of his staff to check things out before making decisions, and his way of making all hands feel that they were important to him and to the Army…I have never known a commander to make better use of his staff than General Simpson.
General Simpson retired from active service for reasons of health shortly after the end of the war and was promoted to four-star rank on the retired list in 1954. General Simpson died in 1980 at age 92. (Extracted from J.D. Morelock, Generals of the Ardennes: American Leadership in the Battle of the Bulge, Chapter 4, NDU Press, Washington D.C., 1994) _______________________________________________
Major General Leonard T. Gerow Commanding General, V Corps Born in Petersburg, Virginia, Leonard T. (Gee) Gerow was a 1911 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute. A good friend of Bradley and Eisenhower, he served in the Mexican Punitive Expedition and in France in World War I, winning the Distinguished Service Medal. Bradley and Gerow met in 1924 when they were classmates in the Advanced Infantry Course at Fort Benning. He graduated first in the class; Bradley, second. Marshall selected Gerow to head War Plans Division of the WDGS. “He was an outstanding gentlemen and soldier—cool, hard-working, intelligent, well organized, competitive—clearly destined for high rank and responsibility.”
Major General Matthew B. Ridgway Commanding General, XVIII Airborne Corps Ridgway graduated from West Point in April 1917, deployed to the Mexican border, but was assigned to teach Spanish at West Point in September 1918, missing his chance to join the American Expeditionary Forces in France. Ridgway’s career was quite unusual. After teaching Spanish, he stayed on at West Point as executive for athletics and graduate manager of athletics. He then shipped out for Tientsin, China, where he served a tour with the 15th Infantry, arriving before George C.
Marshall’s tour as commander ended. He then became executive assistant to MG Frank McCoy on a special mission to regularize relations between the United States and Nicaragua. He moved on to become a member of the Commission of Inquiry and Conciliation on the BolivianParaguayan border dispute. After two years in Panama he went to the Philippines in 1932 to serve as military advisor to Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. He then returned to the United States, attended the Staff College and the War College, and joined the War Plans Division in September 1939, just as Marshall became Chief of Staff. In March 1942 he was promoted to brigadier general and became assistant division commander of the 82nd Infantry Division. Ridgway helped lead the conversion of the Division into the first U.S. airborne division and then became its commander. In March 1943 he took the 82nd into North Africa, and then to Sicily, Salerno, and Anzio.
On D-Day Ridgway jumped with the division into Normandy. In August 1944 he became Commanding General, XVIII Airborne Corps, before Operation Market Garden, and James Gavin took command of the Division. During the Battle of the Bulge his corps headquarters assumed command of the 30th Infantry Division and 7th Armored Division as well as the 82nd Airborne Division.
After leading his corps to victory in Europe, Ridgway was promoted to lieutenant general and commanded the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, later becoming the deputy Supreme Allied Commander there, 1945-46. He was posted to the United Nations Military Staff Committee where he simultaneously served as the United States Representative and as chairman of the InterAmerican Defense Board. He commanded the Caribbean Command, 1948-49, and then served as Deputy Chief for Administration, Department of the Army. During the Korean War he commanded 8th Army, halting the Chinese counteroffensive and replacing General Douglas MacArthur as commander of all UN forces in Korea. He then became NATO Supreme Allied Commander and ended his career as Army Chief of Staff (1953-1955). Ridgway published his memoir, Soldier, in 1956. (Dr. Hal Nelson, BG(ret)) _______________________________________________
Walter M. Robertson Commanding General, 2nd Infantry Division Walter Robertson started his Army service at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and then became a junior officer in the 24th Infantry Regiment with service at the Presidio of San Francisco and Ft.
Missoula, Montana. He served in the Inspector General Directorate of the Army Expeditionary Forces in France and then had normal school and troop assignments after the war.
His assignments were largely centered on Fort Sam Houston, home of the 2nd Infantry Division, and before he became the Division Commander in late 1941 he had commanded two of its three regiments (9th and 23rd) and had served as its Assistant Division Commander. He led the Division through the Louisiana Maneuvers, subsequent tests of the use of liaison and artillery spotter airplanes, and an experiment in airlifting an infantry division. He then led the Division
techniques and amphibious operations. In October of 1943, he became Assistant Division Commander of the 29th Infantry Division and began training that division for the landings in France.
Cota distinguished himself through personal gallantry while serving as Assistant Division Commander of the 29th Infantry Division during the Normandy landings, and was decorated with both the Distinguished Service Cross and the British Distinguished Service Order.
A member of his Weapons Section while teaching at the Infantry School in 1930, Cota had known Bradley for years. For his part, Bradley considered Cota a good friend. After relieving Maj. Gen.
Lloyd Brown from command of the 28th Infantry Division during the hedgerow fighting in France, Bradley assigned it to the ADC of the 9th Infantry Division, who was mortally wounded a few hours after taking command. His next choice, in August, was Cota, largely because of his heroism at Omaha Beach. In his postwar analysis, Bradley concluded that Cota led the 28th Infantry Division with great distinction, and that the division “soon became one of the toughest and most dependable in my command.” After the war, Cota brought the division back to the United States and was assigned in 1946 as commanding general of the Fourth Service Command at Fort Jackson. He retired as a major general in June, 1946. He died on 4 October 1971. (CK) _______________________________________________
Major General Robert C. Macon Commanding General, 83rd Infantry Division Macon graduated from the Virginia Polytechnique Institute in 1912 and was commissioned in 1916, serving initially with the 19th Infantry Regiment and then with the 15th Infantry Regiment in China (1920-22). After attending the Infantry Officer’s Course at Ft. Benning, he served as PMS&T at VPI for four years. He attended the two-year course at the Command and General Staff School and then spent two years in the Panama Canal Department, first as G-4, then G-3.
He graduated from the War College in 1934 and served as an instructor at the Infantry School, 1934-39. He then served as G-3 Plans officer for VII Corps Area until August 1940, when he took command of the 6th Armored Infantry while tests of the armored infantry concepts were being conducted. He then became G-3 of the 4th Armored Division before commanding the 7th Infantry Regiment in the 3rd Infantry Division in North Africa. When he was promoted to Brigadier General in 1943 he became assistant division commander of the 83rd Infantry Division and assumed command in January 1944. He commanded the division until the end of the war, then became military attaché to Moscow, 1946-48, and Deputy Commanding General Army Field Forces, 1949-52, until he retired. (HN) _______________________________________________
Major General Maurice Rose Commanding General, 3rd Armored Division Maurice Rose was killed in action while commanding his division on March 30, 1945. One of the best sketches of this fine leader is found in an unofficial history of the division published in
Germany shortly after V-E Day:
“Major General Maurice Rose (1899-1945) was a soldier’s soldier. Immaculate, ruthless in his calculated destruction of the enemy, he was qualified by his experience, achievement, and character to lead the spearhead of the first Americans. General Rose
In April 1941 Hasbrouck took command of the 22nd Armored Field Artillery Battalion in the 4th Armored Division at Pine Camp, New York. He then served briefly with the 1st Armored Division at Ft. Knox before joining the 8th Armored Division in August 1942 to command a Combat Command. He deployed to England in August 1943 to become the chief of staff of First Army Group during the buildup for the liberation of France. He served on that staff as it transitioned into 12th Army Group, and in September 1944 took command of the 7th Armored Division when MG Sylvester was relieved. He continued in command of the Division until the end of the war and retired for disability as a major general in 1947. (HN) pilot for the New York-Cleveland airmail route in 1933-1934. In that year, he had a brief tour at the Infantry School, where he served as George C. Marshall’s pilot and met then-Maj. Omar Bradley.
Later in 1934, he served on the staff of the GHQ Air Force and, in the fall, reported to Maxwell Field, Alabama, to attend the Air Corps Tactical School. Promoted to captain in 1935, he then attended the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth. It was only when he left there in the spring of 1937 that Quesada got his first real operational flying assignment, when he became a flight commander in the 1st Bombardment Squadron at Mitchell Field, Long Island. In 1938, he was sent to Argentina to assist in developing its air force. He was an air observer in London in 1939 and was assigned to the War Department General Staff in 1940 with the rank of major.
In July, 1941, he assumed command of the 33rd Pursuit Group at Mitchell Field and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in January 1942, to colonel in March, and to brigadier general in December, when he assumed command of the 1st Air Defense Wing.
In early 1943, he went to North Africa to command the 12th Fighter Command and served as deputy commander of the Northwest African Coastal Air Force. In October, 1943, he reported to England, where he became commander of the IX Fighter Command of the 9th (Tactical) Air Force. He was promoted to major general in April of 1944 and commanded the IX Tactical Air Command in Europe until the end of World War II.
Quesada returned to the United States in June of 1945 as assistant chief of staff for intelligence.
In March, 1946, he commanded the Third Air Force at Tampa briefly, and then became chief of the Tactical Air Command. He was promoted to lieutenant general in October of 1947. He feuded with the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg, about Vandenberg’s decision to reduce the size and strength of Tactical Air Command, and finally retired from active duty in 1951.
Outspoken, occasionally to the point of rudeness, Quesada inspired either deep loyalty or total antagonism in his subordinates. As he matured as a commander, he increasingly won the respect and admiration of those who worked for him. He remained on the outside of the Air Force establishment because he did not subscribe to the strategic bombing doctrine that defined the service. His determination to make close air support work made enemies among those officers who were primarily concerned with gaining independence for the Air Force. Ground force leaders thought highly of him, as might be expected. Bradley believed Quesada had contributed more to winning the war than had George Patton, and placed Quesada fourth in his listing of the thirty most important American generals, behind only Walter Bedell Smith, Spaatz and Courtney Hodges. Significantly, excepting only Spaatz, Bradley rated Quesada far above any other Air Force general.
His decorations included: Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Companion of the British Order of the Bath, French Legion of Honor, French Croix de Guerre with Palm. (CK) Communist targets in North Korea when weather prevented fighter cover and escort), the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, and Air Medal, as well as awards from Great Britain (Commander, Order of the British Empire--for air cover of Normandy Invasion), France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Korea, Thailand, Philippine Islands, Japan and Brazil. He retired from the Air Force in July of 1959 and died in September of 1979. (CK) Expeditionary Force. After returning to England in 1940, he was promoted to lieutenant general and took command of V Corps, followed by command of XII Corps in 1941. In August, he was called to Egypt to take command of Eighth Army, and was knighted in November of 1942 in recognition of his successes against the Afrika Korps. He was promoted to full general at the same time. He continued to operate in North Africa until Tunisia fell to Allied arms. He then led the British Eighth Army in the invasion of Sicily. In January of 1944, Montgomery took command of the 21st Army Group in England and began preparing for the invasion of Europe.