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Ike and fifth star

Discussion in 'Western Europe' started by Kai-Petri, May 8, 2007.

  1. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    http://www.eisenhowermemorial.org/stories/Ike-fifth-star.htm

    People often wonder where the five star rank came from and how it was awarded to Ike. Unlike all of his previous military promotions, his fifth star had little to do with superior performance. It had everything to do with an irascible British General, Sir Bernard Law Montgomery, and the agenda of some high ranking Admirals of the United States Navy.

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    At the first meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff in February, 1942, all the British Chiefs, except one, had five star ranks thereby “out ranking” the four stars on the shoulders of their American counterparts. By January, 1944 when General Brooke was promoted to Field Marshal all of the British Chiefs outranked all of the American Chiefs.

    On September 1, 1944, the British government elevated General Sir Bernard Law Montgomery to the rank of Field Marshal. As one of two Army Group Commanders, Montgomery was subordinate to General Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe. It was now the case that a British subordinate outranked his American commanding officer.

    President Roosevelt immediately notified Congress that he wanted the five star bill passed. Secretary Stimson knew he couldn’t stop it this time. But what about General Pershing? The solution was to leave Pershing alone the title “General of the Armies” and the new five star ranks would carry the title, “General of the Army.” The Navy agreed to drop the six star rank and settle for the five star rank of Admiral of the Fleet. Congress went back to work on the revised bill and passed it on the 12th of December.

    Since the British promotion of Montgomery to outrank Eisenhower was the trigger to resurrecting the five star plan, Congress had to expand the five star rank beyond the Chiefs of Staff to include the three major theater commanders, MacArthur, Nimitz, and Eisenhower. The promotion list and dates of elevation, as passed by congress, read as follows:

    Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy: December 15, 1944
    General of the Army George C. Marshall: December 16, 1944
    Fleet Admiral Earnest J. King: December 17, 1944
    General of the Army Douglas MacArthur: December 18, 1944
    Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz: December 19, 1944
    General of the Army: Dwight D. Eisenhower: December 20, 1944
    General of the Army Henry H. Arnold: December 21, 1944
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    BTW,

    The Air Force Five-Star General:

    General Henry "Hap" Arnold --Note: General Arnold actually was awarded this rank twice. In 1944, he received his fifth star while the air force was still part of the Army. It was then known as the U.S. Army Air Forces (AAF). After the AAF separated from the Army in 1947 and was renamed the United States Air Force, Arnold became the new service's only five-star General of theAir Force.

    The History Guy: Five-Star Generals and Admirals of the United States
     

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