Early Military Career
Entering the United States Military Academy in June 1911, Eisenhower had a "spectacular" 1912 football touchdown praised by the New York Herald. The week after sharing a tackle of Jim Thorpe, Eisenhower's sports career ended with a severe knee injury, and he graduated in 1915. Ike served as an infantry officer in Texas and Georgia.
Command of Camp Colt, Pennsylvania, of the Tank Corps, National Army, transferred to Captain Eisenhower on March 24, 1918 (he received a 1924 Distinguished Service Medal for the command). After Brevet Major Eisenhower's unit was honored by the Tank Corps Welfare League at New York City's Century Theatre on September 15, Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Eisenhower in October was ordered to embark on November 18 with Camp Colt tankers for World War I. With the deployment overcome by the November 11 armistice, Eisenhower instead transferred to Camp Dix until December 22. Ike served at Camp Benning from December 24 until March 15, 1919, where a portion of the Camp Polk tank school was transferred on December 26 "to work in conjunction with the Infantry school". Eisenhower joined the 1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy at Frederick, Maryland, after the 1st days travel, and while returning from San Francisco with his convoy medal, wrote his report at the Rock Island Arsenal on November 3.
Reverting to captain on June 30, 1920, Ike was promoted to major on July 1, 1920, before assuming duties at Camp Meade until 1922. His interest in tank warfare was strengthened by many conversations with George S. Patton and other senior tank leaders; however their ideas on tank warfare were strongly discouraged by superiors. Eisenhower became executive officer to General Fox Conner in the Panama Canal Zone, where he served until 1924. Under Conner's tutelage, he studied military history and theory (including Karl von Clausewitz's On War), and later cited Conner's enormous influence on his military thinking. In 1925–26, he attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, graduating first in his class, and then served as a battalion commander at Fort Benning, Georgia until 1927.
During the late 1920s and early 1930s Eisenhower's career in the peacetime Army stagnated; many of his friends resigned for high paying business jobs. He was assigned to the American Battle Monuments Commission, directed by General John J. Pershing, then to the Army War College, and then served as executive officer to General George V. Mosely, Assistant Secretary of War, from 1929 to 1933. He then served as chief military aide to General Douglas MacArthur, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, until 1935, when he accompanied MacArthur to the Philippines, where he served as assistant military adviser to the Philippine government. It is sometimes said that this assignment provided valuable preparation for handling the challenging personalities of Winston Churchill, George S. Patton and Bernard Law Montgomery during World War II. Eisenhower was promoted to the permanent rank of lieutenant colonel in 1936 after sixteen years as a major. He also learned to fly, although he was never rated as a military pilot. He made a solo flight over the Philippines in 1937.
Eisenhower returned to the United States in 1939 and held a series of staff positions in Washington, D.C., California and Texas. He briefly commanded a battalion and then served as regimental executive officer of the 15th Infantry. Late in 1940 he became chief of staff of the 3d Infantry Division at Fort Lewis. March 1941 saw yet another reassignment, as Eisenhower progressed to become chief of staff of the newly activated IX Corps under Major General Kenyon Joyce. In June 1941, he was appointed Chief of Staff to General Walter Krueger, Commander of the 3rd Army, at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. He was promoted to brigadier general in September 1941. Although his administrative abilities had been noticed, on the eve of the U.S. entry into World War II he had never held an active command and was far from being considered as a potential commander of major operations.
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