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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Top 7 American Generals of All-Time

Know Your Medal of Honor Recipients:

Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith (US Army) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on April 4, 2003, near Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq. His citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy near Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq on 4 April 2003. On that day, Sergeant First Class Smith was engaged in the construction of a prisoner of war holding area when his Task Force was violently attacked by a company-sized enemy force. Realizing the vulnerability of over 100 fellow soldiers, Sergeant First Class Smith quickly organized a hasty defense consisting of two platoons of soldiers, one Bradley Fighting Vehicle and three armored personnel carriers. As the fight developed, Sergeant First Class Smith braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons, and organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from an armored personnel carrier struck by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60mm mortar round. Fearing the enemy would overrun their defenses, Sergeant First Class Smith moved under withering enemy fire to man a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a damaged armored personnel carrier. In total disregard for his own life, he maintained his exposed position in order to engage the attacking enemy force. During this action, he was mortally wounded. His courageous actions helped defeat the enemy attack, and resulted in as many as 50 enemy soldiers killed, while allowing the safe withdrawal of numerous wounded soldiers. Sergeant First Class Smith’s extraordinary heroism and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Third Infantry Division Rock of the Marne, and the United States Army.

Private Richard Smith (US Army) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on August 21, 1864, at Weldon Railroad, Virginia. His citation reads:

Captured 2 officers and 20 men of Hagood's brigade while they were endeavoring to make their way back through the woods.

Private Robert Smith (US Army) received his Medal of Honor for his actions on September 9, 1876, at Slim Buttes, Montana. His citation reads:

Special bravery in endeavoring to dislodge Indians secreted in a ravine.

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A couple of days ago we were on the sea, today we’re on the land. You will note that I am ranking the Top 7 American Generals… not United States Generals. Just something to keep in mind.

The I'm just sayin… Countdown May List of the Day

Top 7 American Generals of All-Time

7   Colin Powell   Years of Service: 1958-1993; Battles/wars: Vietnam War, Invasion of Panama, Persian Gulf War; Rank: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (4 Star General)   His nickname ("The Reluctant Warrior" is a good starting point on why Powell is on this list. I think being reluctant to fight is a good trait of a military leader. Another good trait is to be a good leader when the time comes to fight. Powell and General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. (who just missed making this list) showed great leadership during the Persian Gulf War.

6   William T. Sherman   Years of Service: 1840-1853 and 1861-1864; Battles/wars: War of Northern Aggression (First Battle of Bull Run, Battle of Shiloh, Vicksburg Campaign, Jackson Expedition, Chattanooga Campaign, Meridian Campaign, Atlanta Campaign, Savannah Campaign - March to the Sea, Carolinas Campaign; Rank: General of the Army of the United States (4 Star General)   It may come as a shock to some of you that someone from where I'm from would have Sherman on this list… but my views of him have changed over the years. Plus, like him or not, he played a huge role in the north winning the war. Two things really help changed my views of him. The first was this quote from May 1865, "I confess, without shame, I am sick and tired of fighting—its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands and fathers ... tis only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated ... that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation". The second thing, was reading this story (I read it in a book, but you can also find it on Wikipedia: On 19 February, a funeral service was held at his home, followed by a military procession. General Joseph E. Johnston, the Confederate officer who had commanded the resistance to Sherman's troops in Georgia and the Carolinas, served as a pallbearer in New York City. It was a bitterly cold day and a friend of Johnston, fearing that the general might become ill, asked him to put on his hat. Johnston famously replied: "If I were in [Sherman's] place, and he were standing in mine, he would not put on his hat." Johnston did catch a serious cold and died one month later of pneumonia.

5   George Washington   Years of Service: 1752-1758, 1775-1783, 1798-1799; Battles/wars: French and Indian War (Battle of Jumonville Glen, Battle of Fort Necessity, Braddock Expedition, Battle of Monongahela, Forbes Expedition), American Revolutionary War (Boston campaign, New York and New Jersey campaign, Philadelphia campaign, Yorktown campaign), Northwest Indian War; Rank: General of the Armies   I think we all know what he did and why he's on here.

4   Dwight E. Eisenhower   Years of Service: 1915-1953, 1961-1969; Battles/wars: WWII; Rank: General of the Army (5 Star General)   He was the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force during the mid to end of WWII. To understand what kind of leader he was, you need to only look at what he planned to say had D-Day failed… "Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone".

3   Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson   Years of Service: 1846-1851 (USA), 1861-1863 (CSA); Battles/wars: Mexican-American War, War of Northern Aggression (First Battle of Bull Run, Jackson's Valley Campaign, Seven Days Battles, Northern Virginia Campaign, Maryland Campaign, Battle of Fredericksburg and Battle of Chancellorsville); Rank: Lieutenant General (CSA)   It has been my opinion (and the opinion of many military people smarter than me) that had Stonewall Jackson lived, the South would have won. Robert E. Lee called Jackson his "right arm". How great was Jackson? He is still studied by military students to this day. The US Navy has, over the years, had a submarine and a Liberty ship named after him. Think about that... He fought against the United States, but he was so respected that they named ships after him.

2   Ulysses S. Grant   Years of Service: 1839-1854, 1861-1869; Battles/wars: Mexican-American War, War of Northern Aggression; Rank: General of the Army (4 Star General)   The best thing President Lincoln did was put U.S. Grant in a leadership position. Grant, more than any other Union General, is the reason the north won. One thing I always liked about him, was the kindness he showed to Robert E. Lee and the Confederate troops who surrendered at Appomattox Court House. He allowed the men to keep their horses and, in some cases, their guns (so they would be able to hunt) on the condition that they would not take up arms against the United States. Grant was so respected that later in life, when he had financial troubles, many Union and Confederate veterans donated money and offered letters of support and encouragment.

1   Robert E. Lee   Years of Service: 1829-1861 (US Army), 1861-1865 (CSA); Battles/wars: Mexican-American War, War of Northern Aggression; Rank: General   How great was Lee? Lincoln wanted him to lead the Union Army once it looked like war was coming. During the war, the north captured Lee's house located in Arlington, Va. They made it a cemetery (Arlington National Cemetery) in part to make sure he'd never be able to return home (they were at war... so it wasn't all love and respect). Still, even though he had lead men in war against the USA, the United States (in 1955) officially designated Arlington House as a permanent Memorial to Robert E. Lee.

1 comment:

  1. Much like with your Admiral list, I will defer to your knowledge of the subject and not even try to come up with my own list of great American generals. So this is my top 7 generals who did not qualify for your list:

    7. The General (from the insurance commercials) - These commercials are incredibly annoying, but it is funny to hear your 4-year old son randomly sing, "for a free low rate you can get online, go to the the general and save some time"

    6. General Hummel - Why would I put a character from The Rock who was trying destroy San Francisco with a chemical weapon? Well, his methods were evil, but his motive (to help get money to families of soldiers who died in clandestine missions) was good...and I like Ed Harris.

    5. General Grievous - Another 'evil' general, this time from the Star Wars series. But how cool is a droid general who can wield four lightsabers?

    4. Bob Knight - I was honestly never a huge fan of college basketball's "General", but he is a legend. And luckily he's no longer going to be a commentator on ESPN, where he was awful.

    3. General Hawk - You can't have a list of 'army' generals without including GI Joe, so Hawk gets on this list. And he was both a cartoon general and a live-action movie general portrayed by Dennis Quaid.

    2. Obi-Wan Kenobi - Probably more thought of as a Jedi Master, but Kenobi did play a key role in the Star Wars series as general of the Army of the Republic. He also the only general on this list to kill another general on this list (Grievous).

    1. General Tso - I have no idea who General Tso is, or if he/she was even a real general. But his/her chicken at chinese restaurants is my go-to dish.