John J Pershing Facts

John J Pershing Facts
John J. Pershing was the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I. Pershing was known for being a rough and tough commander who led many frontal assaults during World War I and for building the American army from scratch, mentoring many World War II generals along the way, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, George MacArthur, and George S. Patton. When the United States entered World War I on the Allies side on April 6, 1917, the British and French wanted the American soldiers to fight under their command, but Pershing strongly resisted. Pershing led the AEF in the 100 Days Offensive beginning in August 1918, which proved to be the final blow to the Germans on the Western Front. Pershing was born John Joseph Pershing to John and Ann Pershing in rural Laclede, Missouri on September 13, 1860. Pershing was quite precocious as a child, which earned him a coveted spot at the United States Military Academy at West Point. After West Point, Pershing fought in the last of the Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War (1898), and the Philippine-American War (1899-1913).
Interesting John J Pershing Facts:
Pershing was married to Helen Frances Warren until she died in a 1915 fire along with the couple's three daughters. Only Pershing's son Francis Warren survived.
He later secretly married Micheline Resco just before his death in 1946.
The origin of Pershing's nickname, "Blackjack," has been a source of controversy. One story is that while he was an instructor at West Point in the late 1890s he was so tough on the cadets that they began calling him "nigger Jack," which later evolved into the less offensive "blackjack." Another story is that it came from when he commanded the 10th Cavalry Regiment, one of the "Buffalo Soldiers" regiments, in 1895.
Pershing was promoted to brigadier general by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905.
As an example of how much things have changed in 100 years, Pershing was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for leading his men at the Battle of Bagsak in the Philippines in 1913. The Americans killed all 500 of the Moro fighters defending the hill. Today, some believe that Pershing's actions amount to war crimes, while others state that the Moros were never going to surrender peacefully.
Pershing led the military expedition to capture Pancho Villa in 1916. Although the he was not able to capture Villa, Pershing's expedition effectively destroyed Villa's network and prevented him from entering American soil again.
Pershing met Resco in France when she was commissioned by the French government to paint a portrait of him.
Although Pershing had commanded black soldiers before World War I, due to pressure from President Woodrow Wilson, he detached the black combat units from the AEF and put them under command of the French.
After World War I, Pershing was promoted to the rank of General of the Armies of the United States, which was created just for him. It is essentially the rank of Six Star General.
Pershing died of heart disease on July 15, 1948 at the age of eighty-seven in Washington. D.C. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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