General John Joseph Pershing
Over a century has passed since Pershing's birth and more than forty years since his death, yet his memory stands tall in the land and his name rings firm in the historical echo of his times. General Pershing is the First World War, and the proof of this lies in the fact that after over fifty years no other general's name comes readily to mind when that war is mentioned.
Pershing was born into the opening fanfare of the golden age of Grant, Lee, Sherman, and Jackson--four names that will stand linked forever before the fact of the preserved Union. Pershing's earliest toddler memories were of Southern bushwhackers raiding his hometown and shooting up the village. He was five years old when Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse. He grew to manhood and as a junior officer served under Generals Nelson A. Miles, Adna R. Chaffee, John M. Schofield, and William R. Shafter--four men indelibly associated with the march of America across the shrinking plains, to Cuba and the Orient, while the 19th century wound its way out and the century of great wars came upon us.
In the First World War, however, Pershing played his part without peer--standing alone in his time as history would have it, and with no one to share the fame.
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There is a rumor going around the internet that he had 50 terrorists killed in the Philippines. According to his biographer, the rumor is not true.