Ben Lear – General, United States Army

He fought in WWI and then trained soldiers for WWII. He died at Mufreesboro, Tennessee, November 1, 1966.

He was known for disciplining soldiers who were calling to passing women while on maneuvers. After a series of assignments as an instructor and Cavalry commander, he received his first star in 1936 and took command of the 2nd Army in 1940. He reached the statutory retirement age in 1943 but was called back to service.

He succeeded Lieutenant General Lesley J. McNair as commander of the European Ground Forces, McNair, while observing the St Lo breakout by Allied troops in France, was killed in July 1944, when US planes dropped their bombs off target. In closing the phases of the war in Europe, he served as Deputy Commander of the European Theater of Operations, a post in which one of his responsibilities was to speed up training of infantrymen and to move large numbers of soldiers into combat.

When he returned from Europe as a Lieutenant General in July 1945, he was piped ashore from transport in Boston by hundreds of GI's shouting “Yoo-Hoo.” Ramrod straight, he walked down gangplank in stony silence. Despite formidable approach and appearance, he did not hesitate to commend a responsive or helpful subordinate.

Buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 4, Grave 2690.




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