|Born||13 Jul 1888|
|Died||12 Oct 1972|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseLeonard Townsend Gerow was born in Petersburg, Virginia, United States. He attended high school in Petersburg and then attended the Virginia Military Institute. He graduated the latter with Honor Appointment, which allowed him to be commissioned a second lieutenant on 29 Sep 1911 in the United States Army without examination that was required for other students. In 1915, he received a commendation for his work in the hurricane relief effort for Galveston, Texas, United States. During the Mexican Expedition of 1916 to 1917, in which the US Army troops crossed into Mexican territory to attack Francisco "Pancho" Villa's para-military forces, he served at and near the Mexican city of Vera Cruz. He was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant on 1 Jul 1916 and to the rank of captain on 15 May 1917. Between 16 Jan 1918 and 30 Jun 1920, he served on the staff of the Signal Corps in France during WW1; with the war-time rank of colonel, he was responsible for the procurement of radio equipment for the American Expeditionary Force in Europe. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal and French Legion of Honor for his WW1 achievements. Upon return to the United States, he was promoted to the rank of major on 1 Jul 1920. In the fall of 1924, he enrolled in the advanced course at the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, United States, graduating in 1925 as the first of the class. In 1926, he completed his studies at the US Army Command and General Staff school. In 1931, he completed the Field Officer's Course in Chemical Warfare and Tanks and took a course at the Army War College. In 1932, he served in Shanghai, China. On 1 Aug 1935, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. On 1 Sep 1940, he was promoted to the rank of colonel, and only one month later, on 1 Oct 1940, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general.
ww2dbaseAfter the US entered WW2, Gerow was promoted to the rank of major general on 14 Feb 1942 and received command of the 29th Infantry Division two days later. On 27 Sep 1943, he received the Legion of Merit award. On 17 Jul 1943, he was dismissed as the commanding officer of the 29th Infantry Division and was given command of the V Corps based in the United Kingdom. In this role, he played a part in the planning of the Normandy invasion, and he was the first corps level commander to land on the French coast on 6 Jun 1944. His tenure with the V Corps ended on 17 Sep 1944, but he was assigned the same post again on 5 Oct 1944, this time lasting until 14 Jan 1945. He was awarded the Silver Star for the V Corps' successful efforts toward the liberation of Paris, France. On 15 Jan 1945, he was named the commanding officer of the US 15th Army. On 6 Feb 1945, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general, which was to be retroactively effective from 1 Jan 1945.
ww2dbaseAfter WW2, Gerow was named the commandant of the US Army Command and General Staff School. In Jan 1948, he was appointed the commanding officer of the US 2nd Army. He retired from active service in Jul 1950 and was promoted to the rank of general on 19 Jul 1954 by special act of the US Congress. He passed away in Petersburg, Virginia.
Last Major Revision: May 2010
Leonard Gerow Timeline
|13 Jul 1888||Leonard Gerow was born.|
|12 Oct 1972||Leonard Gerow passed away.|
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945