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Dwight David Eisenhower

Known as "IKE", he became the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe (SHAEF) in World War II and was responsible for planning and leading the Allies from 1942 through the Normandy Invasion in 1944 and until the Allies completed the war in Europe on V-E day, 1945.

The Early Years

Dwight David Eisenhower the third of seven boys was born to David Jacob Eisenhower and Ida Elizabeth Stover on October 14, 1890 in Denison, Texas. By 1892 the family had moved to Abilene, Kansas, the place that David would always call his hometown. All the boys went by the nickname of IKE a slang abbreviation for their last name. Dwight Eisenhower graduated from Abilene High School with the class of 1909 and accepted an appointment to West Point in 1911.

Graduating from West Point in the middle of the class of 1915, Lieutenant Dwight Eisenhower was one of a star-studded group of graduates where fifty nine members of the class would become general officers at one point in their careers. Notable members of the class and would play a role in General Eisenhower's command included Leland Hobbs, Stafford Leroy Irvin, James Van Fleet, Joseph McNarney and Omar Bradley, some of which will appear in various CombatReels DVD films.

He would marry Mamie Geneva Doud on July 1, 1916. The Eisenhowers had two sons. Doud Dwight "Icky" Eisenhower was born September 24, 1917, and died of scarlet fever on January 2, 1921, at the age of three. Their second son, John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower, was born on August 3, 1922.

Military Beginnings

His first assignment was with the 19th Infantry Regiment. He remained with this unit, except for short periods of detached service, until 1917. In September of that year he was assigned to duty in the 57th Infantry Regiment. During World War I he served as instructor at the Officer Training Camp at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia from September to December 1917, taught in the Army Service Schools at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas from December 1917 to February 1918, had a tour of duty with the 65th Battalion Engineers, which he organized at Fort Meade, Maryland, and commanded Camp Colt, Pennsylvania where tank crews were trained. After WWI he commanded tank corps troops at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and at Fort Benning, Georgia. In 1919 he returned to Fort Meade where he served in various tank battalions until January 1922. Meanwhile he graduated from the Infantry Tank School. During this time he forged a friendship with George Patton that would bear fruit in the next war.

In 1922 he went to the Panama Canal Zone where he served as executive officer at Camp Gaillard. From September to December 1924 he was recreation officer at the headquarters of Third Corps Area. This assignment was followed by a tour as recruiting officer at Fort Logan, Colorado, until August 1925. Ike then attended Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, graduating as an honor student in June 1926. A brief tour with the 24th Division followed. From January to August 1927 he was on duty with the American Battle Monuments Commission in Washington. He graduated from the Army War College in June 1928 and then went back for a year with the Battle Monuments Commission with duty in Washington and France. From November 1929 to February 1933 he was Assistant Executive, Office of the Assistant Secretary of War. During this period he graduated from the Army Industrial College. From 1933 to September 1935 he was in the Office of the Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur. He served as assistant to the military adviser of the Philippine Islands from September 1935 to 1940.

World War II

In 1940, Eisenhower was assigned to duty with the 15th Infantry Regiment. In November of that year he became chief of staff of the 3rd division and in March 1941 Chief of Staff of the IX Corps, and in June 1941 chief of staff of the Third Army. He was promoted to brigadier general on October 3, 1941. He joined the War Plans Division of the War Department in December 1941 and became chief of that division in the following February with responsibility for developing the major war plans for the defeat of Germany and Japan.

On 25 June 1942 he was named commanding general of the European Theater of Operations (ETO). In November 1942, he commanded the Allied landings in North Arica, Operation Torch, and in the same month became Commander in Chief, Allied Forces in North Africa. As commander of Allied Forces in the Mediterranean he directed operations in Tunisia, Sicily, and Italy until December 1943 when he was named Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force. In this post he directed the invasion of northwest Europe at Normandy, Operation Overlord (D Day), and the remaining campaigns against Germany until their capitulation in May of 1945.

He adopted a British battle dress jacket as his class-a tunic and it became popular with the troops and other commanders becoming known as the "Ike Jacket".

Eisenhower wearing his Ike Jacket with Gen. Lucius Clay, Gen. Bradley in background

CombatReels, World War II Film

Watch General Dwight Eisenhower on the following combat film dvds presented by Combat Reels:

2nd Division Normandy
2nd Division in Europe
82nd Airborne in Normandy
82nd Airborne in Europe
35th Division in Normandy
2nd Armored in Europe
5th Armored in Europe
9th Division in Europe
35th Division in Europe
79th Division in Europe
90th Division in Europe
101st Airborne in Normandy

Ike liked to visit the men in the field, watch him dispensing awards, interacting with members of his command and even sharing moments with airborne soldiers before the d day invasion on the 6th of June.

Post World War II

Following the German surrender, Eisenhower was appointed Military Governor of the U.S. Occupation Zone. Upon discovery of the Nazi concentration camps, he ordered camera crews to document evidence of the atrocities in them for use in the Nuremberg Trials. CombatReels plans to show a number of identified clips of camp liberations in future unit histories.

In November 1945, Eisenhower returned to Washington replacing General George Marshall as Chief of Staff of the Army with the main task of rapid demobilization of millions of US soldiers.

In late 1950 he became Supreme Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and was given operational command of NATO forces in Europe. Eisenhower retired from active service on May 31, 1952.

Convinced to run for office, in the election of 1952 with a campaign slogan of "I Like Ike", he was elected President of the United States. Eisenhower was the last president born in the 19th century, and at age 62, at the time was the oldest man to be elected President since James Buchanan in 1856. He served two terms from 1953-1961 and one of his presidencies' enduring achievements was championing and signing the bill that authorized the Interstate Highway System in 1956. He died March 28, 1969.

DVD Recent Releases of World War II Movies, Films
104th Infantry Division Winter War Bulge and Beyond DVD $29.99

104th Infantry Division
Winter War: The Bulge and Beyond Series
December 1944 - March 1945

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36th Infantry Division Winter War: The Bulge and Beyond DVD $24.99

36th Infantry Division
Winter War: The Bulge and Beyond
November 1944- March 1945

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36th Infantry Division in Western Europe DVD $24.99

36th Infantry Division
Liberation of Western Europe Series
August 1944 - October 1944

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29th Infantry Division Winter War: The Bulge and Beyond DVD $24.99

29th Infantry Division
Winter War: The Bulge and Beyond
December 1944 - February 1945

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