CIC 459

Past Issues
CIC 458
CIC 457
CIC 456
CIC 455
CIC 454
CIC 453
CIC 452
CIC 451
CIC 450
CIC 449
CIC 448
CIC 447
CIC 446
CIC 445
CIC 444
CIC 443
CIC 442
CIC 441
CIC 440
CIC 439
CIC 438
CIC 437
CIC 436
CIC 435
CIC 434
CIC 433
CIC 432
CIC 431
CIC 430
CIC 429
CIC 428
CIC 427
CIC 426
CIC 425
CIC 424
CIC 423
CIC 422
CIC 421
CIC 420
CIC 419
CIC 418
CIC 417
CIC 416
CIC 415
CIC 414
CIC 413
CIC 412
CIC 411
CIC 410
CIC 409
CIC 408
CIC 407
CIC 406
CIC 405
CIC 404
CIC 403
CIC 402
CIC 401
CIC 400
CIC 399
CIC 398
CIC 397
CIC 396
CIC 395
CIC 394
CIC 393
CIC 392
CIC 391
CIC 390
CIC 389
CIC 388
CIC 387
CIC 386
CIC 385
CIC 384
CIC 383
CIC 382
CIC 381
CIC 380
CIC 379
CIC 378
CIC 377
CIC 375
CIC 374
CIC 373
CIC 372
CIC 371
CIC 370
CIC 369
CIC 368
CIC 367
CIC 366
CIC 365
CIC 364
CIC 363
CIC 362
CIC 361
CIC 360
CIC 359
CIC 358
CIC 357
CIC 356
CIC 355
CIC 354
CIC 353
CIC 352
CIC 351
CIC 350
CIC 349
CIC 348
CIC 347
CIC 346
CIC 345
CIC 344
CIC 343
CIC 342
CIC 341
CIC 340
CIC 339
CIC 338
CIC 337
CIC 336
CIC 335
CIC 334
CIC 333
CIC 332
CIC 331
CIC 330
CIC 329
CIC 328
CIC 327
CIC 326
CIC 325
CIC 324
CIC 323
CIC 322
CIC 321
CIC 320
CIC 319
CIC 318
CIC 317
CIC 316
CIC 315
CIC 314
CIC 313
CIC 312
CIC 311
CIC 310
CIC 309
CIC 308
CIC 307
CIC 306
CIC 305
CIC 304
CIC 303
CIC 302
CIC 301
CIC 300
CIC 299
CIC 298
CIC 297
CIC 296
CIC 295
CIC 294
CIC 293
CIC 292
CIC 291
CIC 290
CIC 289
CIC 288
CIC 287
CIC 286
CIC 285
CIC 284
CIC 283
CIC 282
CIC 281
CIC 280
CIC 279
CIC 278
CIC 277
CIC 276
CIC 275
CIC 274
CIC 273
CIC 272
CIC 271
CIC 270
CIC 269
CIC 268
CIC 267
CIC 266
CIC 265
CIC 264
CIC 263
CIC 262
CIC 261
CIC 260
CIC 259
CIC 258
CIC 257
CIC 256
CIC 255
CIC 254
CIC 253
CIC 252
CIC 251
CIC 250
CIC 249
CIC 248
CIC 247
CIC 246
CIC 245
CIC 244
CIC 243
CIC 242
CIC 241
CIC 240
CIC 239
CIC 238
CIC 237
CIC 236
CIC 235
CIC 234
CIC 233
CIC 232
CIC 231
CIC 230
CIC 229
CIC 228
CIC 227
CIC 226
CIC 225
CIC 224
CIC 223
CIC 222
CIC 221
CIC 220
CIC 219
CIC 218
CIC 217
CIC 216
CIC 215
CIC 214
CIC 213
CIC 212
CIC 211
CIC 210
CIC 209
CIC 208
CIC 207
CIC 206
CIC 205
CIC 204
CIC 203
CIC 202
CIC 201
CIC 200
CIC 199
CIC 198
CIC 197
CIC 196
CIC 195
CIC 194
CIC 193
CIC 192
CIC 191
CIC 190
CIC 189
CIC 188
CIC 187
CIC 186
CIC 185
CIC 184
CIC 183
CIC 182
CIC 181
CIC 180
CIC 179
CIC 178
CIC 177
CIC 176
CIC 175
CIC 174
CIC 173
CIC 172
CIC 171
CIC 170
CIC 169
CIC 168
CIC 167
CIC 166
CIC 165
CIC 164
CIC 163
CIC 162
CIC 161
CIC 160
CIC 159
CIC 158
CIC 157
CIC 156
CIC 155
CIC 154
CIC 153
CIC 152
CIC 151
CIC 150
CIC 149
CIC 148
CIC 147
CIC 146
CIC 145
CIC 144
CIC 143
CIC 142
CIC 141
CIC 140
CIC 139
CIC 138
CIC 137
CIC 136
CIC 135
CIC 134
CIC 133
CIC 132
CIC 131
CIC 130
CIC 129
CIC 128
CIC 127
CIC 126
CIC 125
CIC 124
CIC 123
CIC 122
CIC 121
CIC 120
CIC 119
CIC 118
CIC 117
CIC 116
CIC 115
CIC 114
CIC 113
CIC 112
CIC 111
CIC 110
CIC 109
CIC 108
CIC 107
CIC 106
CIC 105
CIC 104
CIC 103
CIC 102
CIC 101
CIC 100
CIC 99
CIC 98
CIC 97
CIC 96
CIC 95
CIC 94
CIC 93
CIC 92
CIC 91
CIC 90
CIC 89
CIC 88
CIC 87
CIC 86
CIC 85
CIC 84
CIC 83
CIC 82
CIC 81
CIC 80
CIC 79
CIC 78
CIC 77
CIC 76
CIC 75
CIC 74
CIC 73
CIC 72
CIC 71
CIC 70
CIC 69
CIC 68
CIC 67
CIC 66
CIC 65
CIC 64
CIC 63
CIC 62
CIC 61
CIC 60
CIC 59
CIC 58
CIC 57
CIC 56
CIC 55
CIC 54
CIC 53
CIC 52
CIC 51
CIC 50
CIC 49
CIC 48
CIC 47
CIC 46
CIC 45
CIC 44
CIC 43
CIC 42
CIC 41
CIC 40
CIC 39
CIC 38
CIC 37
CIC 36
CIC 35
CIC 34
CIC 33
CIC 32
CIC 31
CIC 30
CIC 29
CIC 28
CIC 27
CIC 26
CIC 25
CIC 24
CIC 23
CIC 22
CIC 21
CIC 20
CIC 19
CIC 18
CIC 17
CIC 16
CIC 15
CIC 14
CIC 13
CIC 12
CIC 11
CIC 10
CIC 9
CIC 8
CIC 7
CIC 6
CIC 5
CIC 4
CIC 3
CIC 2
CIC 1

Short Rounds

The Highest Ranking Officers in U.S. History

In 1976, pursuant to Public Law 94-479, enacted by a Joint Resolution of Congress, George Washington was  promoted to the rank of "General of the Armies of the United States" as of July 4th of that year, because "it is considered fitting and proper that no officer of the United States Army should outrank Lieutenant General George Washington."

Washington's highest rank in the United States Army had been lieutenant general.  On July 3, 1798, during the Quasi-War with France, Congress turned to the by-then former president, and commissioned him "Lieutenant-General and Commander of the United States Army," which he held until his death on December 14, 1799.

Respect for Washington was so great no one was promoted to lieutenant general until March 2, 1864, when U.S. Grant received the newly revived rank; even the great Winfield Scott had had to settle for a brevet promotion to lieutenant general.  And then, of course, on July 25, 1866 Grant was promoted to full general, and in the generations since many officers have borne three- and four-star rank, and a few even higher.

Public Law 94-479 was prompted by the fear that because Washington was "outranked" by a flock of much less famous people, he was somehow being slighted.  However, the over-zealous patriots who prompted the promotion overlooked the fact that on June 15, 1775, Congress had commissioned Washington as "General and Commander-in-Chief of all the forces raised or to be raised" in the defense of American liberties, which strongly suggests he outranks everyone, not just Army officers but Navy, Air Force, Marine , and Coast Guard ones too.

Nevertheless, as things presently stand, the senior most officers of the U.S. Armed Forces, are: 

  • General of the Armies of the United States George Washington (1732-1799), to rank from July 4, 1976, but actually already "General and Commander-in-Chief of all the Forces” as of June 15, 1775.
  • Admiral of the Navy George Dewey (1837-1917), March 2, 1899
  • General of the Armies John J. Pershing (1860-1948), September 3, 1919
  • Fleet Admiral William Daniel Leahy (1875-1959), December 15, 1944
  • General of the Army George C. Marshall (880-1959), December 16, 1944
  • Fleet Admiral Ernest Joseph King (1878-1956), December 17, 1944
  • General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (18801864), December 18, 1944
  • Fleet Admiral Chester William Nimitz (1885-1966), promoted December 19, 1944
  • General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969), December 20, 1944
  • General of the Army Henry H. Arnold (1886-1850), December 21, 1944  (Became General of the Air Force pursuant to Public Law 58, 81st Congress, May 7, 1949):
  • Fleet Admiral William Frederick Halsey (1882-1959), December 11, 1945.
  • General of the Army Omar N. Bradley (1893-1981), September 20, 1950

The Second World War batch of super-ranking flag officers was partially due to the need to have senior commanders who could stand on an equal footing with allied field marshals and admirals of the fleet.  The interesting order in which the first seven were commissioned, one each on December 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21, with sailors and soldiers alternating, was to insure a clearly established order of seniority among these officers

As for insignia, Washington wore “ . . . a light blue ribband across his heart ..." during the Revolutionary War, and apparently during the Quasi-War as well.  By the time Dewey received his extraordinary promotion, stars had come into use for full generals and admirals, but he never wore more than four (plus a somewhat fancier amount of gold braid on his cuffs), though he was given the option of wearing five stars, a practice followed by Pershing,.  When the ranks of general of the army and fleet admiral were introduced, five stars in a circle were the designated insignia.

 

William Littler Wins a Commission

Following their victory in the Battle of Oudenarde (Jul 11, 1708), in the eighth year of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene of Savoy, commanding a combined British, Dutch, and Holy Roman Empire army, advanced on Lille, capital of northern France, to lay it under siege.

Approaching from the north, a few miles above the city they came upon the Marquette River, which, although small, presented a rather serious obstacle to their advance, as the crossing was over a drawbridge that was defended by a stout fortification.

Looking across the stream at the drawn-up bridge, the commander of the English advanced guard, Col. Francis Godfrey of the 16th Foot (later the Bedfordshire Regiment), noted that the chains suspending it were exposed, and might be cut.  But to cut it would require a soldier to swim the river under enemy fire.  The good colonel appealed to his troops, offering a fat purse to any man who would do the deed.  Several men took up the offer, but one after another, each was shot down before he succeeded in getting across.  Then Sergeant William Littler stepped forward.  An educated man of sober habits, Littler had several times turned down a commission, preferring to remain a simple soldier.  Approaching Col. Godfrey, Littler said, "Sir, I don't want the money, only let me make the attempt, for the honour of the regiment."  The colonel assented.

Littler grabbed an axe, jumped into the river, and made his way across despite a hail of bullets.  Attaining the other bank, and thus sheltered from enemy fire, Littler, though lightly wounded, climbed up the drawbridge to a point where he could chop away at the chains.  Soon the bridge fell.  Seeing that the loss of the bridgehead was inevitable, the greatly outnumbered French abandoned the position.

As a reward for his gallantry, and over his protests, Littler was commissioned an ensign in the 3rd Foot (later The Buffs).   Over the next few decades he rose through the ranks, serving in several regiments, including the 1st Foot Guards (the Grenadier Guards).  In 1740 Littler was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the 47th Foot (later the Lancashire Regiment).  He died in 1742.

Note: All in the Family:  The French commander during this campaign was James FitzJames, the Duke of Berwick, who was the illegitimate son of the late King James II of England and Arabella Churchill.  Ms. Churchill later married Col. Charles Godfrey, and bore him Francis Godfrey who was thus the half-brother of the French commander.  And, since Ms. Churchill's brother was John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, Francis was also the nephew of his own commander, which may help explain why he eventually rose to brigadier general

 


© 1998 - 2017 StrategyWorld.com. All rights Reserved.
StrategyWorld.com, StrategyPage.com, FYEO, For Your Eyes Only and Al Nofi's CIC are all trademarks of StrategyWorld.com
Privacy Policy