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Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., was the first American general to wade ashore at Normandy, cane in one hand, pistol in the other. The eldest son of President Teddy Roosevelt, he was 56 in 1944. He had crippling arthritis and heart disease. But, he used all his political pull to get back in uniform, after Pearl Harbor, and back to the front lines. So it was that he landed on the beaches of Normandy.
He was in the first wave, saw they were a mile off course, and started marching up and down the beach barking useful orders. Men got moving inland off the beach and the Navy and Army brass were informed of the glitch, so they could adjust execution of the plan. For this action, Brigadier General Roosevelt was awarded the Medal of Honor—posthumously. He died of heart disease a few weeks and a number of miles after the beaches. Consider that he had already “done his duty” in World War I, and that his son was also on the beach, a son named after another Roosevelt brother who had died as an aviator over France in the Great War. With all that in mind, consider this:
For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 6 June 1944, in France. After 2 verbal requests to accompany the leading assault elements in the Normandy invasion had been denied, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt’s written request for this mission was approved and he landed with the first wave of the forces assaulting the enemy-held beaches. He repeatedly led groups from the beach, over the seawall and established them inland. His valor, courage, and presence in the very front of the attack and his complete unconcern at being under heavy fire inspired the troops to heights of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice. Although the enemy had the beach under constant direct fire, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt moved from one locality to another, rallying men around him, directed and personally led them against the enemy. Under his seasoned, precise, calm, and unfaltering leadership, assault troops reduced beach strong points and rapidly moved inland with minimum casualties. He thus contributed substantially to the successful establishment of the beachhead in France.