Famous Kansans » Military » Leaders
Dwight D. Eisenhower
- Born: October 14, 1890
- Died: March 28, 1969
- Connection to Kansas: Raised in Abilene
Dwight D. Eisenhower was a five-star General of the United States Army, the second highest ranking in all of the United States armed forces and was leader of American forces during World War II. He entered the army in 1915 after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point and would rise in rank serving in the offices of several generals. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, we was assigned to the General Staff in Washington, D.C. with responsibility for creating the major war plans to defeat Japan and Germany. In June of 1942 he was appointed Commanding General of European Theatre of Operations in London and in November of 1942 was appointed Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force of the North African Theatre of Operations. In this role he was in charge of planning and executing the invasions of North Africa, Sicily and Italy by allied forces fight German and Italian forces stationed there. In 1943 he was named Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in which he was in charge of all allied forces in European Theatre of Operations until the end of the war in 1945. In this position he planned and executed the allied invasion of France, the liberation of Western Europe and the invasion of Nazi Germany. Following World War II he was appointed Military Governor of the U.S. Occupation Zone in Germany until November of 1945 when he was named Chief of Staff of the Army, which he held until 1948. In 1950 he became the first Supreme Allied Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) holding the position until his retirement from the army in 1952 to run for and be elected President of the United States. He was the only general to serve as president during the 20th century.
See also under Government.
John E. Gingrich
- Born: February 23, 1897
- Died: May 26, 1960
- Connection to Kansas: Born in Dodge City
John E. Gingrich was an officer in the United States Navy who was the first chief of security for the United States Atomic Energy Commission, served as Chief of Naval Material and retired from the Navy as a four-star admiral. He entered the Navy after graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1919 and served on several warships before serving as as naval aide to the Under Secretary of the Navy and then the Secretary of the Navy from 1940 to 1944. He served as commanding officer of the cruiser USS Pittsburgh from 1944 to 1945 and following World War II was Director of Naval Reserve. From 1947 to 1949 he was the director of the Division of Security and Intelligence at the Atomic Energy Commission and from 1953 to 1954 was Chief of Naval Material. He retired from the Navy in 1954.
Elizabeth P. Hoisington
- Born: November 3, 1918
- Died: August 21, 2007
- Connection to Kansas: Born in Newton
Elizabeth P. Hoisington was one of the first two women to be promoted to the rank of brigadier general in the United States Army. She began her service in the Army when she enlisted in the Women's Army Corp (WAC) in 1942. She quickly advanced through the ranks and commanded WAC units in Japan, Germany and France and served at the Pentagon. She served as director of the Women's Army Corp from 1965 to 1971. On June 11, 1970 she was promoted to brigadier general.
Richard B. Myers
- Born: March 1, 1942
- Connection to Kansas: Raised in Johnson County
Richard B. Myers is a retired four-star general in the United States Air Force and served as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest ranking uniformed officer in the United States' military, from 2001 to 2005. He began his military career in 1965 in the Reserved Officer's Training Corps (ROTC) at Kansas State University and served as a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War. Before becoming Chairman, he served at many posts including Commander of the Pacific Air Forces and Commander in Chief of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush and was named as a Distinguished Kansan in 2002 by the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas.
Bernard W. Rogers
- Born: July 16, 1921
- Died: October 27, 2008
- Connection to Kansas: Born in Fairview
Bernard W. Rogers was a four-star general in the United States Army who served as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army and Supreme Allied Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). He entered the Army in 1943 after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point and soon began advancing in rank by serving as aides to high ranking officials. He commanded infantry battalions and divisions during the Korean and Vietnam Wars and served as Commandant of the Corps of Cadets at West Point from 1967 to 1969. From 1974 to 1976 was given command of Armed Forces Command where he had authority over all army units in the United States. He was selected as Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army in 1976 and served in this position until 1979 when he was appointed Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, which he held until his retirement in 1987. He was named Kansan of the Year in 1984 by the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas.