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"The Making of a General: Ike, the Tank, and the ..." Topic

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Tango0105 Mar 2023 4:29 p.m. PST

… Interwar Years

"The early years of Dwight D. Eisenhower's service in the Army are less well known than his service in World War II and the years following the war. These early years in the Army laid a solid foundation for his rise to high command and leadership in World War II, but Eisenhower sometimes agonized that his military career was not progressing well. However, his ambition, professional competence, and the mentoring by the best officers in the Army made him a "comer" in the peacetime army during those the years between World War I and World War II. During those years, Eisenhower was sorely tested and strengthened by adversity. These trials and tribulations, however, prepared him for the awesome responsibilities that he assumed during World War II.

1920 was not a good year for 30-year old CPT Dwight D. Eisenhower, Infantry (Tanks). Frustrated at not being sent to France during World War I, he had trained troops instead at Fort Ogelthorpe, Georgia; Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Camp Meade, Maryland; and Camp Colt, Pennsylvania. During this period, Eisenhower quickly earned the reputation of being an extremely capable young officer. He had volunteered for combat, but his instructional and organizational abilities had made him invaluable to the mobilization effort back in the United States. In November 1918, he finally received orders to lead a tank battalion to Europe. The Armistice of 11 November 1918, however, ended the war and his hopes for leadership in combat. The war concluded with Eisenhower holding the temporary rank of lieutenant colonel, only three years after graduating from West Point in 1915 (the "Class the Stars Fell On"). Since he had not experienced combat in World War I, he thought his career was over, although he had performed well in the stateside training environment. After the war, in 1919, Eisenhower reverted to his permanent rank of captain.

One event after World War I that made a lasting impression on Eisenhower was his participation in the 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy. Eisenhower traveled as an official observer for the Tank Corps with an Army convoy of 72 military vehicles and about 280 officers and enlisted men. It began at "zero milestone" on the South Lawn of the White House and ended two months later at San Francisco. The Army's objectives for this ambitious undertaking were to support the building of transcontinental roads so necessary for national defense, to encourage enlistment in the Army's Mechanical Training Schools, to demonstrate motor vehicles for military purposes, and to test military vehicles on a wide variety of physical terrain. The convoy even brought along a light Renault tank to test the primitive roads from Washington, DC, to San Francisco. This trip was largely the inspiration for the modern interstate highway system sponsored by the administration of President Eisenhower more than thirty years later…"

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Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP05 Mar 2023 8:54 p.m. PST

Camp Colt, Pennsylvania is Gettysburg, PA the scene of a major battle in the ACW that Eisenhower also missed.

The transcontinental motor convoy was amazing.

It took two months from DC to San Francisco. The intent was to see how long reinforcements would take to get from the east coast to the west coast in case of invasion.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek

Tango0106 Mar 2023 3:19 p.m. PST



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