6 Things You Didn’t Know About 5-Star Generals

Portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)
Portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

On this date in 1976, George Washington was posthumously promoted to the rank of General of the Armies of the United States by President Gerald Ford.

Here are six things you might not known about the highest ranks in the American military.

  • The highest rank held by George Washington during his lifetime was Lieutenant General and commander in chief. Until 1855, no other officer held the rank of Lieutenant General until Winfield Scott received an honorary promotion to the rank.
  • Ulysses S. Grant was the first Lieutenant General to wear three stars as an indication of his rank. He was also the first to wear four stars as General of the Army.
  • Following the Civil War, The ranks of three- and four-star generals were discontinued until World War I. One of the generals promoted to four-star general during the war, John J. Pershing, was later promoted to General of the Armies of United States, which was widely seen as a five-star rank.
  • The rank of five-star general was created during World War II. It was seen as necessary to make American generals equivalent to the field marshals of foreign armies. The first American five-star general was George S. Marshall. One story says that the American Army chose the five-star general rank over that of field marshal so that George Marshall wouldn’t be known as Marshal Marshall.
  • The five men promoted to five-star general: Marshall, Henry Arnold, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, and Omar Bradley, retained their ranks for life and drew full pay until their deaths.
  • Washington’s promotion to General of the Armies of the United States insures that he will always be the highest ranking officer in the history of the American military.

Our question: what was Lieutenant General Winfield Scott’s nickname?

Today is National Coming Out Day, National Newspaper Carriers Day and International Day of the Girl Child.

It’s unofficially Southern food heritage day, national food truck day, and national sausage pizza day.

It’s the birthday of former US first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who was born in 1884; author Elmore Leonard, who was born in 1925; and musician Daryl Hall who turns 70 today.

This week in 1976, the top song in the U.S. was “Disco Duck” by Rick Dees and his cast of Idiots.

The No. 1 movie was “ Marathon Man,” while the novel “Trinity” by Leon Uris topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

Weekly question

The 100,000 people left homeless after the 1871 Great Chicago Fire represented what portion of the city’s population at the time?



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