Thursday, July 13, 2017

Teddy Roosevelt Jr.: The Toughest Old Man in WWII: Used cane to storm Utah Beach on D-Day; awarded MOH

Via David
Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.
Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., seen in Ste. Mere-Eglise on July 12, hours before he died of a coronary thrombosis. Arthritis caused him to walk with a stick. The 4th Infantry Division commander described him as “the most gallant soldier and finest gentleman I have ever known.” 

Imagine it is D-Day, June 6, 1944, and you are a young private.

You are hitting Utah Beach in the very first wave, into the teeth of the German army, against a rainfall of enemy gunfire, artillery shrapnel and gore. You are filled with fear.

And there on the beach in front of you, stands an old man.  An American brigadier general—bull frog-voiced, pop-eyed, 5-foot-8 inches tall, and directing traffic with his cane.  Calm as a man can be in combat, he is Ted Roosevelt Jr., the son of the famous president and the only general on the beach.

At age 56, he had volunteered to be on the landing boats in order to give the young troops reassurance and to arm them with his same fortitude and courage.


  1. And ever since, we are suffering the consequences of those mindless goons

  2. What heroism did he accomplish to receive the MOH
    besides walk on the beach with a cane and bark orders?

    1. Good question and this is what the citation states:

  3. My Grandpa whose birthday was July 4th, 1913 was just 28 days away from his 31st birthday when he hit Omaha as a PFC. I can imagine most of the younger soldiers with him thought he was an old man. Now the German Army in 1944, well, that is a different story when the average age was approaching 36!

    1. I went to Vietnam at 23 and I was considered old! :)I'm surprised that the Germans at that time weren't older.

  4. From Senator Pettigrew who met the lying father of the goon in the picture above:---

    When the battleship Maine was blown up in Havana Harbor, just previous to the war with Spain, Col. Melvin Grigsby was at Fort Pierre, S.D. Fort Pierre is on the west side of the Missouri River and in the very heart of the greatest cattle range in America. Here it was that Catlin met the Sioux chiefs and thousands of Indians in 1832. In this country were the greatest buffalo pastures in the world.

    Col. Grigsby was a veteran of the Civil War, having seen four years of service—a man of great courage and superior intelligence. And from Fort Pierre he telegraphed President McKinley that the sinking of the MAINE meant war, and that the best soldiers that could be secured on short notice for the war with Spain were the cowboys of the plains. He offered his service in this connection. Shortly afterward, Col. Grigsby came to Washington and secured an amendment to the bill, which had already passed the House, authorizing the raising of volunteers for the Spanish War, which provided that 3,000 men of special fitness might be recruited independently, the officers to be appointed by the President.

    At this time, Theodore Roosevelt was Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Leonard Wood was a contract surgeon in the army of the United States, located at Washington and detailed to attend to Mrs. McKinley. He applied to be appointed one of the colonels of one of the Rough Rider regiments of cowboys, and Theodore Roosevelt applied to be appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the same regiment. These two doughty soldiers, with no experience except Mr. Roosevelt’s experience as a cowboy one season on the little Missouri River, and Wood’s experience as a contract surgeon, received their respective appointments. They raised a regiment of so-called cowboys in the eastern states and went to Florida.

    From Florida they embarked for Cuba, leaving their horses behind. They landed east of Santiago and started through the jungle for San Juan Hill, General Wood being colonel of the regiment and Mr. Roosevelt acting as lieutenant colonel.

    About ten miles from San Juan Hill, they were ambushed by the Spaniards and some of the Rough Riders were wounded in what was called the El Caney fight. They would have been cut to pieces, but General ______, in command of some regiments of Negro troops, rushed in these colored regulars and rescued Wood and his doughty lieutenant-colonel from the hands of the Spaniards.

    The Rough Riders—all on foot, for they had left their horses back in Florida—then proceeded to a field near the foot of Kettle Hill, which blanketed San Juan Hill, and remained there until General _____ and his colored troops took San Juan Hill from the Spaniards.

    After San Juan Hill had been captured, Col. Wood and Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt charged up Kettle Hill, where there was nothing but an old kettle which had been used for evaporating sugar cane juice. There were no fortifications or trenches or blockhouses, or Spaniards, dead or alive, on Kettle Hill. Yet Roosevelt, in his book “History of the Spanish War,” says that he charged up San Juan Hill and found the trenches full of dead Spaniards with little holes in their foreheads, and that two Spaniards jumped up and ran away, and that he missed one of them but killed the other with a shot in the back from his revolver.

    I refer to the records of the War Department, which show that Roosevelt had nothing to do with the taking of San Juan Hill. I refer also to a pamphlet by Colonel Bacon, of Brooklyn, in which he says that he secured affidavits of one hundred soldiers and officers who were in the campaign to take Santiago, and that all of them testified that Roosevelt was not in the battle of San Juan Hill, or, in fact, in any other battle except the ambush at El Caney.

    1. Thanks.