Born Dec. 31: George C. Marshall
By Michael Baadke
George Catlett Marshall, who served his country in both World Wars, and as the nation’s Secretary of State, and later as its Secretary of Defense, was born Dec. 31, 1880, in Uniontown, Pa.
Marshall was a 1901 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army the following year.
He was named chief of operations for the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, working with Gen. John J. Pershing.
He continued as aide-de-camp to Pershing after the war, and was later stationed in China, and as commanding officer at Fort Screven in Georgia.
Marshall was promoted to general, and in 1939 was appointed Army chief of staff by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In that role he was responsible for transforming the Army as the country entered World War II. In 1944, Marshall was promoted to five-star general.
After the war, Marshall was named Secretary of State and devised the successful Marshall Plan to provide U.S. financial and military aid to war-torn Europe, to assist with economic recovery and solidify U.S. alliances.
After serving his nation in many roles for more than 50 years, George C. Marshall died on Oct. 16, 1959.
Marshall was honored on a 20¢ definitive stamp issued Oct. 24, 1967, in the Prominent Americans series (Scott 1289).
A 32¢ commemorative stamp that includes a portrait of Marshall was issued June 4, 1997, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Marshall Plan (Scott 3141).
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