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Alfred Maximilian Gruenther
File:GenGruenther NATO.jpg
Gen Alfred Gruenther, SACEUR   (NATO Photo 1251)
Born (1899-03-03)March 3, 1899
Died May 30, 1983(1983-05-30) (aged 84)
Place of birth Platte Center, Nebraska
Place of death Washington, D.C.
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Years of service 1919 - 1956
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General
Commands held Supreme Allied Commander Europe (1953-1956)
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Distinguished Service Medal (4)
Other work American Red Cross president (1957-1964)

Alfred Maximilian Gruenther (March 3, 1899 – May 30, 1983) as a four-star General after World War II, served as the Supreme Allied Commander (SACEUR) in Europe from 1953 to 1956.

Life and Military career

Gruenther was born in Platte Center, Nebraska. He attended St. Thomas Academy in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He graduated fourth in his class at the United States Military Academy in 1918. He was the youngest four-star general in U.S. history, advisor and planner to top generals in World War II. He served as chief of staff of the Third Army, Fifth Army, 15th Army Group, and was the principal American planner of the allied invasions of North Africa in 1942 and Italy in 1943. He is sometimes credited to be the youngest major general in the U.S. Army in World War II, but that distinction goes to James M. Gavin, who, as commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, was promoted to major general at the age of 37. Gruenther was promoted to the temporary rank of major general at the age of 43 or 44.

After World War II, he became deputy commander of U.S. forces in Austria in 1945, and was appointed supreme allied commander in Europe/commander-in-chief of the U.S. European Command in 1953, serving in that capacity until his retirement in 1956. He appeared on the cover of Time, February 6, 1956. General Gruenther retired from military service in 1956. After retiring from the Army, he served as president of American Red Cross from 1957 to 1964 and was a member of the Draper Committee, even appearing as a guest on February 10, 1957's successful TV quiz show What's My Line. Gruenther received a Litt.D. from Bates College in 1958. Gruenther was the recipient of many nations' medals, including the Distinguished Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters[1] and honorary degrees from American universities.

His great-grandson, captain Lucas Gruenther, also became a distinguished member of the military before passing away on January 28, 2013, during a training mission over the Adriatic Sea in an F-16 jet fighter at the age of 32.[1]


Further reading

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Gen. Matthew Ridgway
Supreme Allied Commander Europe (NATO)
Succeeded by
Gen. Lauris Norstad

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