LYONSJ9 Posted September 16, 2022 Share #1 Posted September 16, 2022 Grouping of Major General George David Shea: WWI hero, commander of XIX Corps Artillery during WWII, and Commanding Officer of the 8th Army and the 10th Mountain Division during the early 1950’s. George David Shea was born to a middle class family in Augusta Georgia on January 11, 1894. A few years after his graduation, he enlisted in the US Army as a Private in 1915, with the dream of one day becoming a General. Though it would appear his goal in life was quite lofty, he would eventually prove everyone wrong who doubted his ability to achieve it. After advancing to the rank of Lieutenant in under two years, the United States declared war on Germany, and the young Georgian Lieutenant would find himself at the center of the action in the famed 2nd Division. Being granted the temporary rank of Captain of Artillery, Shea would distinguish himself on numerous occasions during the Great War, earning three Silver Citation Stars for conducting reconnaissance on German machine gun and artillery positions from no man’s land at the battles of Chateau Thierry and Meuse-Argonne. After the conclusion of the Great War, Shea served with the occupation force in Germany, where the fate of his temporary rank of Captain would be decided. Though Shea proved himself to be a more than capable officer, and a great leader to his men, many conservative, older officers felt that he should not be promoted due to his lack of formal education. After heated debate and over the loud objections of these individuals, he would retain his rank of Captain and continue to serve throughout the 1920’s in various artillery roles. After successive promotions to Major, Lieutenant Colonel, and Colonel while serving as Director of Animal Transportation at Ft. Sill, Assistant Chief of Staff of the 8th Division, and Full Chief of Staff of the 8th Division, America’s sudden entry into the Second World War would allow Shea’s career to reach new heights. With his highly impressive leadership and artillery skills noted, now Brigadier General Shea would be placed in command of the Artillery Component of the 90th Division, where his relentless drilling and training exercises would help ready them for the future invasion of France. After impressing his superiors with what he had done with the 90th Division, Shea would be given a much larger and somewhat more prestigious command as the Commanding General of the Artillery component of the newly created XIX Corps. With the same zeal and efficiency shown throughout his career, he readied his men for the massive part they’d play in the European Theater. Landing in Normandy shortly after D- Day, Shea and his men set up positions and began shelling German positions in Cherbourg. In spite of a massive shortage of ammunition, Shea’s men were able to blast away the remaining German strongpoints, and liberate the City. After supporting the allied attacks on St. Lo and Vire, once out of the treacherous Norman hedgerows, Shea’s men supported the US Army’s mad dash through France crossing the Seine mere months later, and pushing into Belgium and the Low Countries. It would be here that Shea would help liberate Holland and Belgium from the Wehrmacht, earn the prestigious Order of Orange-Nassau for his leadership in the campaign, and famously smash through the seemingly unbreakable Siegfried Line, bursting open the door for the western allies to begin their rush into the German homeland. After leading his men through the brutal Ruhr Valley offensive, and pushing through an increasingly more desperate and determined enemy, General Shea’s men finally made their way to Wittenberg on the Elbe in the April of 1945, meeting up with their Soviet Allies, and enjoying some much deserved merrymaking and Vodka. It would be during the festivities that General Shea and his men were bestowed with the prestigious title of “Honorary Guards of the Soviet Union”, with General Shea being among many who were personally awarded Soviet Guards Badges. With the War in Europe over, General Shea would serve on occupation duty in Germany until being transferred to the Pacific in the final months of the war. Serving as Commander of the 86th Division’s Artillery section and serving in Philippine- Ryukus Command. With the extensive lobbying efforts of such famed commanders as Douglas MacArthur, Alfred Wedemeyer, and Mark Clark, Brigadier General Shea was finally promoted to Major General, and placed in command of the 8th Army and later the 10th Mountain Division in the early 1950’s (finally applying for his WWI Purple Heart at the urging of his well known friends around this time as well). After a long and illustrious career spanning both World Wars, and taking him from Private to Two Star General. Shea finally retired in 1953, living out his final two decades in Florida, where he would pass away of Emphysema in 1971. Awards include: Army Distinguished Service Medal, two Silver Stars, two Legions of Merit, the Purple Heart, Mexican Border Service Medal, WWI Victory Medal with three Silver Citation Stars, WWI Occupation Medal, American Defense Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal, WWII Occupation Medal, Commander of the Dutch Order of Orange-Nassau, French Legion of Honor, French Croix d’Guerre, and the Philippine Independence Decoration. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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