Born on March 11, 1892, at Spring City, Tennessee, he graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1914, and two years later was commissioned a Second Lieutenant, Field Artillery.
After training at various posts ordered to France with 5th Field Artillery in August 1917 in the temporary rank of Captain. He became a permanent Captain in February 1918 and served during that year with 42nd (Rainbow) Div until joining 151st Field Artillery in August. In October he was promoted temporary Major. After occupation duty in Germany he was assigned to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he completed Artillery School in 1921.
From 1921 to 1925 he was an instructor at VMI. He graduated from the Command & General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 1927, and, in 1928, became Executive Officer of the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade, advancing to permanent Major in August. He was on staff duty in the Panama Canal Zone from 1929 to 1931, and served as an instructor at Fort Sill until 1934, and after graduating from Army War College in 1935 was a student and instructor at the Naval War College until 1936.
From 1936 to 1940 he was attached to the General Staff, Washington, DC, becoming a Lieutenant Colonel, September 1938, and returned there after a year as Commander of 78th Field Artillery Battalion at Fort Benning, Georgia.
He was promoted to temporary Colonel in 1941, temporary Brigadier General, in December. In June 1942 he succeeded Dwight Eisenhower as Assistant Chief-of-Staff in charge of Operations Division (formerly War Plans Division). He was advanced to temporary Major General in that month and temporary Lieutenant General in September 1944.
His permanent rank was Brigadier General in September 1943 and Major General in October 1944. In the latter month he was named Deputy Chief-of-Staff of the Army, and in March 1945 promoted to temporary General. In August 1945, as acting Chief-of-Staff in absence of George C. Marshall, he transmitted the order for use of the atomic bomb against Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In September 1947 he took command of 4th Army, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. In September 1949 he succeeded Lucius D. Clay as Commander-in-Chief of European Command, commanding all US forces in Europe except those in Austria and Trieste. On the appointment of Matthew B. Ridgeway as Supreme Allied Commander, Allied Powers, Europe, in August 1952, he became Deputy Supreme Commander. He held that office until 1953.
His medals included the Distinguished Service Cross, Croix de Guerre with gilt star, Commander of the Legion of Honor (France), Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Legion of Merit, Abdon Calderon Star.
He retired in February 1954 and lived in Washington, DC and later in San Antonio, Texas. He died on April 12, 1982, and was buried in Section 30 of Arlington National Cemetery. His wife, Alma Hudson Handy, who died April 20, 1970, is buried with him.
HANDY, ALMA H W/O THOMAS T
DATE OF BIRTH: 09/01/1890
DATE OF DEATH: 04/02/1970
BURIED AT: SECTION 30 SITE 394 RH
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
WIFE OF TT HANDY, GEN USA
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard