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Biographical Sketch of George C. Marshall


Photo: George C. MarshallBorn at Uniontown, Pennsylvania, on December 31, 1880, George C. Marshall graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1901. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant the following year. On September 1, 1939, he was promoted to Chief of Staff with the rank of General. He was named General of the Army on December 16, 1944.

He died on October 16, 1959, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
As Chief of Staff of the U. S. Army before and during World War II, Marshall earned a great share of the responsibility for the Allied victory. He helped plan, train and deploy ten million American soldiers and airmen, managing also the scientific development and procurement of the ever-increasingly complex weapons.

After a few days of retirement following World War II, Marshall was called upon by the President to help manage the crucial problems of waging peace. As Secretary of State from 1947 to 1949, he was the personal architect of the American diplomatic and economic program which turned the tide of Communism in war-ravaged Western Europe. This program came everywhere to be known as the "Marshall Plan" and led to the coalition of free nations under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), paving the way for a revitalized Europe. For this, Marshall received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.

Serving a brief tour as President of the American National Red Cross (1949-50), Marshall was recalled to his country's service as Secretary of Defense from September 1950 to September 1951.

Contemporaries described Marshall as a humble man, whose brilliance stemmed from dedication and hard work during his entire lifetime. Many referred to Marshall as a modest and thoughtful man and attributed such characteristics to his decision not to write his memoirs.

Marshall's wartime experience enabled him to appreciate the problems of peace stemming from the impact of scientific and technological developments. Thus Eisenhower decided to designate the new NASA facilities in Huntsville as the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center.

As part of the dedication ceremonies for the new Marshall Center, a bust of General Marshall was unveiled by Mrs. Marshall and President Eisenhower. Today, the bust, created by sculptor, Kalervo Kallio, is still on display at the Center. In 1989 one of the general’s five-star insignias was presented to the Center after it was flown aboard the Space Shuttle.

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