Lucian King Truscott Jr.
|Born||January 9, 1895|
Chatfield, Texas, United States
|Died||September 12, 1965 (aged 70)|
Alexandria, Virginia, United States
|Years of service||1917–1947|
|Commands held|| 5th Cavalry Regiment |
3rd Infantry Division
|Battles/wars|| World War I |
World War II
|Awards|| Distinguished Service Cross |
Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
|Relations||Lucian Truscott IV (grandson)|
General Lucian King Truscott Jr. (January 9, 1895 – September 12, 1965) was a highly decorated senior United States Army officer, who saw distinguished active service during World War II. Between 1943–45, he successively commanded the 3rd Infantry Division, VI Corps, Fifteenth Army and Fifth Army. He was, along with Alexander Patch and James Van Fleet, among the few U.S. Army officers to command a division, a corps, and a field army on active service during the war.
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, general is a four-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. General ranks above lieutenant general and below General of the Army or General of the Air Force; the Marine Corps does not have an established grade above general. General is equivalent to the rank of admiral in the other uniformed services. Since the grades of General of the Army and General of the Air Force are reserved for wartime use only, and since the Marine Corps has no five-star equivalent, the grade of general is currently considered to be the highest appointment an officer can achieve in these three services.
The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.
An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority.
Truscott was born in Chatfield, Texas, to an English father and an Irish mother. Raised primarily in Oklahoma, he attended grade school and a year of high school in the hamlet of Stella, near Norman. At age 16, he claimed to be 18 and a high school graduate to qualify for teacher training, attended the summer term of the state normal school in Norman, and received his teaching certification. He taught school before he decided to join the United States Army in 1917, due to the American entry into World War I. Truscott applied for officer training, falsely claiming to be a high school graduate who had completed the equivalent of a year of college. After completing the officer training camp at Fort Logan H. Roots, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Cavalry Branch. During the war, he remained in the United States to patrol the border with Mexico, and served with the 17th Cavalry Regiment at Camp Harry J. Jones, Douglas, Arizona.
Chatfield is an unincorporated community in northeastern Navarro County, Texas, United States, eleven miles northeast of Corsicana. The community lies along Farm to Market Road 1603 just northeast of Interstate 45.
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.
Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.
He served in various cavalry and staff assignments between the wars, including completion of the Cavalry Officers Course, followed by assignment as a Cavalry School instructor, and graduation from the United States Army Command and General Staff College, followed by assignment to the school's faculty. He married Sarah "Chick" Nicholas Randolph, a descendant of Thomas Jefferson Randolph and Thomas Nelson Jr., on 27 March 1919.
In the context of the history of the 20th century, the interwar period was the period between the end of the First World War in November 1918 and the beginning of the Second World War in September 1939. This period is also colloquially referred to as Between the Wars.
The United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is a graduate school for United States Army and sister service officers, interagency representatives, and international military officers. The college was established in 1881 by William Tecumseh Sherman as the School of Application for Infantry and Cavalry,, a training school for infantry and cavalry officers. In 1907 it changed its title to the School of the Line. The curriculum expanded throughout World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War and continues to adapt to include lessons learned from current conflicts.
Thomas Jefferson Randolph of Albemarle County was a planter and politician who served in the Virginia House of Delegates, was rector of the University of Virginia, and was a colonel in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. He was notable as the oldest grandson of President Thomas Jefferson. He helped manage Monticello near the end of his grandfather's life and was executor of his estate.
In 1942, Truscott, now a colonel, was instrumental in developing an American commando unit patterned after the British Commandos. The American unit was activated by Truscott (newly promoted to the rank of brigadier general on June 19, 1942) as the 1st Ranger Battalion, and placed under the command of Major William Orlando Darby.
In the United States Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force, colonel is the most senior field grade military officer rank, immediately above the rank of lieutenant colonel and immediately below the rank of brigadier general. It is equivalent to the naval rank of captain in the other uniformed services. The pay grade for colonel is O-6.
In the United States Armed Forces, brigadier general is a one-star general officer with the pay grade of O-7 in the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. The rank of brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed services. The NATO equivalent is OF-6.
In the United States Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force, major is a field grade military officer rank above the rank of captain and below the rank of lieutenant colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of lieutenant commander in the other uniformed services. Although lieutenant commanders are considered junior officers by their respective services, the rank of major is considered field grade in the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps.
In May 1942, Truscott was assigned to the Allied Combined Staff under Lord Louis Mountbatten and in August, he was the primary U.S. observer on the Dieppe Raid. The raid was primarily a Canadian operation, consisting of elements of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division, with two British Commandos attached along with a 50-man detachment from the 1st Ranger Battalion. The Rangers were assigned to No. 3 Commando, No. 4 Commando, and 6 Rangers were spread out among the Canadian regiments. This was considered the first action by American troops against German forces in World War II.
Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma was a British Royal Navy officer and statesman, an uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and second cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth II. During the Second World War, he was Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia Command (1943–1946). He was the last Viceroy of India (1947) and the first Governor-General of independent India (1947–1948).
Operation Jubilee, more commonly referred to as the Dieppe Raid, was an Allied assault on the German-occupied port of Dieppe, France, on 19 August 1942, during the Second World War. The main assault lasted less than six hours until strong German defences and mounting Allied losses forced its commanders to call a retreat.
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In July 1942, Truscott was appointed to the staff of IX Corps Area, at Fort Lewis, Washington.On November 8, 1942, now a two-star major general, Truscott led the 9,000 men of the 60th Infantry Regiment (part of the 9th Infantry Division) and 66th Armored Regiment (part of the 2nd Armored Division) in the landings at Mehdia and Port Lyautey in Morocco, part of Operation Torch under Major General George S. Patton.
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Washington, officially the State of Washington, is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Named for George Washington, the first U.S. president, the state was made out of the western part of the Washington Territory, which was ceded by Britain in 1846 in accordance with the Oregon Treaty in the settlement of the Oregon boundary dispute. The state, which is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, by Oregon to the south, by Idaho to the east, and the Canadian province of British Columbia to the north, was admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889. Olympia is the state capital; the state's largest city is Seattle. Washington is often referred to as Washington State to distinguish it from the nation's capital, Washington, D.C..
Truscott took command of the 3rd Infantry Division in March 1943, and oversaw preparations for the Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed Operation Husky. He was known as a very tough trainer, bringing the 3rd Infantry Division up to a very high standard. At the age of 48, he was one of the youngest division commanders in the U.S. Army at the time. He led the division in the assault on Sicily in July 1943, coming under the command of the Seventh U.S. Army, commanded by Patton, now a lieutenant general. Here his training paid off when the division covered great distances in the mountainous terrain at high speed. The famous 'Truscott Trot' was a marching pace of five miles per hour over the first mile, thereafter four miles per hour, much faster than the usual standard of 2.5 miles per hour. The 3rd Infantry Division was considered to be the best-trained, best-led division in the Seventh Army.
After a brief rest to absorb replacements the division, in mid-September, nine days after the initial Allied landings at Salerno, Italy, came ashore on the Italian mainland, where it fought its way up the Italian peninsula, under the command of the VI Corps, commanded by Major General John P. Lucas. The VI Corps was part of Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark's U.S. Fifth Army. After crossing the Volturno Line in October and fighting in severe winter weather around the Gustav Line, which saw heavy casualties sustained, the division was pulled out of the line for rest and relaxation.
In January 1944, the division assaulted Anzio as part of the U.S. VI Corps, which also included the British 1st Infantry Division, along with two British Commandos and three battalions of U.S. Army Rangers, Combat Command B of the 1st Armored Division and the 504th Parachute Regimental Combat Team. The operation, the brainchild of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, was intended to outflank, and potentially force the Germans to withdraw from their Winter Line defenses, which had considerably slowed Allied progress in Italy.
Lucas, the corps commander, initially decided not to push inland, as Allied commanders had intended, and Truscott's 3rd Division was soon engaged in bitter fighting and, again, suffering heavy losses as the Germans launched numerous counterattacks to drive the Allies into the sea. With Clark, the Fifth Army commander, and General Sir Harold R. L. G. Alexander, Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of the Allied Armies in Italy (AAI), growing increasingly worried about the situation, Truscott was appointed as Lucas's deputy commander and, after Lucas was dismissed on 17 February, was given command of the VI Corps. Truscott was succeeded in command of the 3rd Infantry Division by Major General John "Iron Mike" O'Daniel, previously the Assistant Division Commander (ADC). At the age of 49, Truscott was the second youngest corps commander in the U.S. Army, behind only J. Lawton Collins, then commanding VII Corps in England. Clark, writing in his memoirs after the war, claimed that he "selected Truscott to become the new VI Corps commander because of all the division commanders available to me in the Anzio bridgehead who were familiar with the situation he was the most outstanding. A quiet, competent, and courageous officer with great battle experience through North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, he inspired confidence in all with whom he came in contact."
Following Anzio, Truscott continued to command VI Corps through the fighting up the Italian boot, helping in the final Battle of Monte Cassino and the subsequent capture of Rome, just two days before the Normandy landings. However, his command was then withdrawn from the line to prepare for Operation Dragoon, the amphibious assault on southern France.
On 15 August 1944, the VI Corps landed in southern France and initially faced relatively little opposition. The rapid retreat of the German Nineteenth Army resulted in swift gains for the Allied forces. The invasion plan was initially for US forces to conduct the initial landing, and Free French forces to conduct the breakout. This was changed to exploit the withdrawal of the German 19th Army, and US 6the Corps began a pursuit. This resulted in cutting off the escape of the enemy, and their total destruction or capture. The Dragoon force met up with southern thrusts from Operation Overlord in mid-September, near Dijon.
A planned benefit of Dragoon was the usefulness of the port of Marseille. The rapid Allied advance after Operation Cobra and Dragoon slowed almost to a halt in September 1944 due to a critical lack of supplies, as thousands of tons of supplies were shunted to northwest France to compensate for the inadequacies of port facilities and land transport in northern Europe. Marseille and the southern French railways were brought back into service despite heavy damage to the port of Marseille and its railroad trunk lines. They became a significant supply route for the Allied advance into Germany, providing about a third of the Allied needs.
On 2 September 1944, Truscott was promoted to the three-star rank of lieutenant general and in October he was appointed commander of the newly formed Fifteenth Army, which was largely an administrative and training command.
Truscott's next command came in December 1944. He was promoted to command of the U.S. Fifth Armyin Italy when its commander Lieutenant General Mark Clark was made commander of the Allied 15th Army Group, formerly the AAI. Truscott led the Fifth Army through the hard winter of 1944–1945, where many of its formations were in exposed positions in the mountains of Italy. He then led the army through the Allied Spring 1945 offensive in Italy culminating in the final destruction of the German forces in Italy.
Truscott took over command of the Third Army from General George S. Patton on 8 October 1945, and led it until April 1946. This command included the Eastern Military District of the U.S. occupation zone of Germany, which consisted primarily of the state of Bavaria. When the Seventh Army was deactivated in March 1946, Truscott's Third Army took over the Western Military District (the U.S.-occupied parts of Baden, Württemberg and Hesse-Darmstadt).
Will Lang Jr. from Life wrote a biography on Truscott that appeared in the October 2, 1944, issue of that magazine.
After leaving the U.S. Army, Truscott began work on his book Command Missions, which was published in 1954 ( ISBN 0-89141-364-2), and The Twilight of the U.S. Cavalry ( ISBN 0-7006-0932-6). The latter book was published after his death by his son, Lucian III, in 1989. In 1954, Congress passed Public Law 83-508, which promoted several World War II senior officers who had exercised responsibilities greater than their rank; as a numbered army commander, Truscott carried out the duties of a four-star general, and the 1954 law promoted him to general on the retired list.
Truscott helped evaluate officers as a member of the War Department Screening Board. Then in 1948–1949, he spent a year as the Chairman of the Army Advisory Board for Amphibious Operations, at Fort Monroe, Virginia. It was between meetings of this board that he began assembling the material for his two books.
In 1951, Walter Bedell Smith, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), appointed Truscott as "Special Consultant to the United States Commissioner" in Frankfurt, Germany. However, this was simply a cover for his real assignment as senior Central Intelligence Agency representative in Germany. Truscott had been placed in charge of cloak-and-dagger operations in a vital part of Europe. This only came to light after declassification of a secret memorandum in 1994.
In 1953, President Eisenhower approved CIA Director Allen Dulles' recommendation that General Truscott be appointed the CIA's Deputy Director for Coordination. This appointment meant that Truscott was now controlling the agency's rapidly expanding network of agents worldwide. His responsibilities included facilitating the overthrow of governments in Iran and Guatemala.Truscott was involved in planning Operation PBSUCCESS, the CIA mission to overthrow Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz. According to Harry Jeffers' biography, Truscott was instrumental in convincing Eisenhower to support PBSUCCESS with air power. However, another biography by William Heefner suggests that specifics of Truscott's involvement cannot be substantiated.
Truscott left the CIA in 1958. He wrote nothing about his service in the CIA in Command Missions, and there is nothing about his CIA activities in his papers at the George C. Marshall Library.
Truscott died on 12 September 1965, in Alexandria, Virginia.On 29 April 1966, Truscott Hall, a bachelor officers' quarters at the United States Army War College, was named after him. On 17 August 1974, Sarah Truscott, his wife, died and was buried next to him at Arlington National Cemetery.
In 2012, he was honored at his birthplace of Chatfield.
Truscott had a very gravelly voice, said to be the result of an accidental ingestion of acid in childhood. He was superstitious about his clothing, and usually wore a leather jacket, "pink" pants and lucky boots in combat. He also wore a white scarf as a trademark, first during the Sicilian campaign.
Truscott once said to his son, "Let me tell you something, and don't ever forget it. You play games to win, not lose. And you fight wars to win. That's spelled W-I-N! And every good player in a game and every good commander in a war…has to have some son of a bitch in him. If he doesn't, he isn't a good player or commander....It's as simple as that. No son of a bitch, no commander."
Truscott was respected by those who served under him. A medical officer in the Seventh Army related stories he'd heard from the men who served under Truscott earlier. Unlike some commanders, Truscott was not noted for self-aggrandisement,nor did he suffer such from his superiors. Others noted he was humbled by the sacrifices those under him had made. Bill Mauldin described the time Truscott gave the address on Memorial Day, May 31, 1945, in the military cemetery at Nettuno, outside Anzio: "He turned his back on the assembled windbags and sparklers and talked to the crosses in the cemetery, quietly, apologizing, and then walked away without looking around."
Truscott was portrayed by actor John Doucette in the 1970 film Patton . In one scene, as commander of the 3rd Infantry Division during the Allied invasion of Sicily, Truscott is shown arguing vehemently with Gen. Patton over the latter's orders pertaining to his Division.
General Lucian Truscott received the U.S. Army's second-highest decoration, the Distinguished Service Cross, for valor in action in Sicily on July 11, 1943, the second day of the invasion. General Truscott's other decorations include the Army Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Purple Heart.
Source - U.S. Army Register, 1948; pg. 2471.
|No pin insignia in 1917||Second lieutenant, Officers Reserve Corps: August 15, 1917|
|No pin insignia in 1917||Second lieutenant, Regular Army: October 26, 1917|
|First lieutenant, Temporary: October 26, 1917|
|First lieutenant, Regular Army: December 10, 1918|
|Captain, Regular Army: July 1, 1920|
|Major, Regular Army: August 1, 1935|
|Lieutenant Colonel, Regular Army: August 18, 1940|
|Colonel, Army of the United States: December 24, 1941|
|Brigadier General, Army of the United States: May 24, 1942|
|Major General, Army of the United States: November 24, 1942|
|Lieutenant General, Army of the United States: December 2, 1944|
|Brigadier General, Regular Army: February 28, 1946|
|Lieutenant General, Retired List: September 30, 1947|
|General, Retired List: July 19, 1954|
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Jonathan W. Anderson
| Commanding General 3rd Infantry Division |
John W. O'Daniel
John P. Lucas
| Commanding General VI Corps |
February 1944 – October 1944
Edward H. Brooks
Newly activated organization
| Commanding General Fifteenth Army |
September 1944 – December 1944
Ray E. Porter
Mark W. Clark
| Commanding General Fifth Army |
George S. Patton
| Commanding General Third Army |