George Irving Back – Major General, United States Army

George Irving Back was born in Sioux City, Iowa, on 24 February 1894. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Signal Officers’ Reserve Corps on 27  November 1917. A year later Back was appointed as a first lieutenant in the Signal Corps, Regular Army. Back advanced through the ranks to Major General.

Highlights in Back’s military career included: serving as an instructor in World War I, duty in the Training Section, Office of the Chief Signal Officer following the armistice in 1918; appointment in 1922 to Assistant Signal Officer in Headquarters, Hawaiian Department; assignment to the Research and Engineering Division, Office of the Chief Signal Officer; assignment as Technical Observer on the USAT cable ship Dellwood; duty from 1929 to 1933 at the Signal Corps Laboratories at Fort Monmouth; and appointment in 1941 as Assistant Signal Officer to General Headquarters, Army War College and in 1942 as Executive Officer, Signal Supply Services, Office of the Signal Deputy Chief Signal Officer, Allied Forces Headquarters and subsequently as the Chief Signal Officer. From 1951 to 1955 Back was the Chief Signal Officer, United States Army. He died in 1972.

Back was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Commander, Order of the British Empire; Grand Official and Order of the Crown of Italy, and the Brazilian War Medal.

The General died on September 28, 1972 in Florida and was buried with full military honors in Section 30 of Arlington National Cemetery.


Rosalie Henry Rives Back, 93, a WWI US Navy Yeomanette and widow of a retired Army Major General, died of a stroke January 22, 1993 at Commonwealth Care Center in Fairfax City, Virginia.

Mrs. Back was born in Halifax County, Virginia. She settled in Washington, DC area after her discharge from the USN in 1920. She was a charter member of the Women in Military Service Assocaition. She accompanied her husband, George Irving Back, to military posts in the US and in Japan. They moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, after his retirement in 1955. He died in 1972. In 1978, Mrs. Back returned to this area and settled in Alexandria. Survivors include a sister, Frances R. Phelps of Newport News, Va.

Mrs. Back was buried with her husband in Arlington National Cemetery.


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