John J Pershing Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1860 – 1948 *** Full Name: John Joseph Pershing *** Nickname: Black Jack *** Occupation: General in the United States Army *** Date of Birth: John J Pershing was born on September 13th 1860 *** Place of Birth: John J Pershing was born in Laclede, Missouri, USA *** Family background: His father was John Fletcher Pershing and his mother Ann Elizabeth Thompson. His father’s family originated from Germany in the late 18th century and their surname would have been spelt as Persching. His mother’s family originated from England. One of five siblings he had two brothers and three sisters *** Early life and childhood: He grew up in Missouri and can remember his father working as a sutler, a civilian merchant but was not active during the war *** Education: John J Pershing attended school in his home town and completed high school in his home town also, later he attend the North Missouri Normal School in Kirksville ***
John J Pershing Fact 1: John J Pershing was born on September 13th 1860 and during the 19th century period in history when many empires across the globe collapsed, the Spanish, first and second French, Holy Roman, Mughal and Chinese but the British and Russian Empires, the United States and German Empire where on the rise.
John J Pershing Fact 2: When he finished school he applied to the United States Military Academy, West Point, in truth he applied because the level of education was superior to that of his home town.
John J Pershing Fact 3: John J Pershing began attending West Point in 1882. Outstanding from early on he was chosen for leadership and worked his way through the ranks consecutively First Corporal, First Sergeant, First Lieutenant, and First Captain attaining the rank possible for any cadet.
John J Pershing Fact 4: Graduating in 1886 General Wesley Merritt, the Superintendent of West Point, commended John J Pershing for his leadership skills and his possession of “superb ability”.
John J Pershing Fact 5: After graduating 30th in his class of 77 at the age of twenty six he seriously considered requesting a furlough in order to delay his commission so he could attend law school. He changed his mind and chose active duty instead and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army.
John J Pershing Fact 6: On September 30th of 1886 John J Pershing reported to Fort Bayard in New Mexico Territory ready for active service. Assigned to the 6th U.S. Cavalry he took part in various Indian campaigns and was cited for his bravery in combat against the Apache.
John J Pershing Fact 7: While stationed at Fort Stanton, Pershing together with two others, Lt Julius Penn and Lt Richard B Paddock became close friends and were given the nickname “The Three Green P’s”.
John J Pershing Fact 8: In December of 1890 the 6th Cavalry including Pershing were called upon to suppress the final uprising of the Lakota (Sioux) Indians.
John J Pershing Fact 9: In September of 1891 John J Pershing would join the faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as Professor of Military Science and Tactics and would hold this position for four years. During that time in 1892 he received a promotion to first lieutenant and by 1895 he became commander of the 10th Cavalry Regiment, previously one of the Buffalo Soldier regiments comprised of African-American soldiers with white superiors.
John J Pershing Fact 10: At the beginning of the Spanish-American War John J Pershing was the regimental quartermaster for the 10th Cavalry Regiment and saw combat with them on Kettle and San Juan Hill in Cuba for which he received a citation for gallantry.
John J Pershing Fact 11: His next promotion came in the form of a major for the United States Volunteers in August 1898 and would be assigned as an ordinance officer.
John J Pershing Fact 12: Having recovered from malaria by March 1899 he would be placed in charge of the Office of Customs and Insular Affairs, which basically oversaw occupation forces in areas gained during the Spanish-American War, those territories included Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines.
John J Pershing Fact 13: John J Pershing was in 1903 ordered to return to the U.S. where President Theodore Roosevelt, so highly impressed with Pershing’s record requested of the Army General Staff to have Pershing promoted to Colonel but was refused because of the Army’s seniority-based promotional system.
John J Pershing Fact 14: Having felt undermined by the Army Roosevelt requested the United States Congress sanction a diplomatic mission and Pershing was sent to Tokyo as the military attaché in 1905.
John J Pershing Fact 15: Pershing also go married that year to Helen Frances Warren the daughter of Frances E Warren the U.S. Senator for Wyoming and a Republican. This marriage would be good for his military career.
John J Pershing Fact 16: President Roosevelt by this time used his presidential privilege and selected Pershing as a brigadier general which Congress approved. It did mean an unprecedented leap of three ranks resulting in those that thought he was being singled out for special treatment for political reasons rather than on merit of military ability. Fortunately Pershing was not the only junior officer to receive such honors, Albert L Mills, Tasker H Bliss and Leonard Wood would all received promotions in the same way purely on their abilities and were supported by many of the fellow soldiers who respected their abilities.John J Pershing Fact 19: As the United States became involved in World War I President Woodrow Wilson wanted Frederick Funston in charge of his armed forces. Unfortunately he died suddenly of a heart attack leaving the next man available Pershing himself to step into the breach.
John J Pershing Fact 17: His next major posting after the Philippines was to Fort Bliss on the United States and Mexican border as tensions were running a little high.
John J Pershing Fact 18: Having spent a year at Fort Bliss Pershing decided it was time to bring his family to where he was rather than have them so far away in San Francisco. With all the arrangements made he awaited the arrival of his family. On the morning of August 27th 1915 John J Pershing received the worst possible news. A telegram arrived informing him that his family had been involved in a fire at the Presidio and that his wife and three daughters had all died from smoke inhalation, only his son, six year old Warren was still alive. He attended their funerals and returned to Fort Bliss with his young son and his May his sister to resume his duties. He would never recover from such an event.
John J Pershing Fact 20: Under Pershing’s command it would be first time American servicemen would serve under allied orders, Pershing felt this was necessary.
John J Pershing Fact 21: The American soldiers saw the first combat in the summer of 1918 at the Battle of Marne. Although not all of his tactics in France were successful and he was highly criticized by other commanders as being too far behind the lines under fire to be of much use, Pershing nevertheless would largely be given the credit for the success. It was actually a common sense move to keep the leading commanders away from the front as they could easily be killed or injured and it enable easier communication between the commanders.
John J Pershing Fact 22: In recognition for his service to his country Pershing was promoted to General of the Armies of the United States under authority of the U.S. Congress for promotion by the President. It is the highest rank to receive for any member of the United States armed forces.
John J Pershing Fact 23: Having returned to the States post war Pershing dabbled in politics more from the perspective of other people wanting to see him run for President rather than any desire for the position himself. As the Second World War approached Pershing was a strong and outspoken advocate of providing aid to the UK.
John J Pershing Fact 24: John J Pershing died on July 15th 1948 of coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. He had been in the Walter Reed General Hospital since 1944. He was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery close the grave sites of those soldiers he had commanded in Europe.
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