The eldest son of President Teddy Roosevelt, MOH recipient.
In this wartime photo that has been “blacked out” for publicity purposes, a red marker is used to disguise the important officers that were photographed at this event at the American Cemetery in Saint-Mere-Eglise, Normandy, France. The flag draped coffin carries the remains of Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr; the eldest son of President Teddy Roosevelt and Assistant Division Commander of the 4th Infantry Division, who has recently died of a heart attack just a month after the land on Utah Beach, June 6, 1944.
Present at the funeral are high ranking commanders, Omar Bradley, George Patton, Courtney Hodges, among others I can’t Identify in this photo, although there are other general officers seen here. Interesting that not blacking out Omar Bradley was either by omission or design, I don’t know which.
The funeral was on July 15, 1944, three days after his death and the recommendation to promotion to major general and command of the 90th Infantry Division, made by Omar Bradley after the heroic action by Roosevelt on D-Day and after. One that morning of the 13th, when the supreme commander, Dwight Eisenhower brought his name up for discussion, he was then informed that Theodore Roosevelt had died the night before.
When Roosevelt was Asst. Div. Comdr. of the 1st Infantry Division in North Africa, he was scrutinized (along with Terry Allen, Div. Comdr.) by then II Corps commander, George Patton, for their slovenly appearance. The hard-fighting and hard-drinking Allen was later relieved of command, and unfortunately Roosevelt, more guilty by association, was relieve of command as well.
In February 1944, Gen. Roosevelt was sent to England to help prepare for the Normandy invasion thus being assigned to the 4th Infantry Division under the command of Raymond “Tubby” Barton. Roosevelt requested that he be permitted to go ashore with the first wave, which was vehemently denied by Barton. Roosevelt wrote out this petition hoping to gain the permission he had requested:
“The force and skill with which the first elements hit the beach and proceed may determine the ultimate success of the operation…. With troops engaged for the first time, the behavior pattern of all is apt to be set by those first engagements. [It is] considered that accurate information of the existing situation should be available for each succeeding element as it lands. You should have when you get to shore an overall picture in which you can place confidence. I believe I can contribute materially on all of the above by going in with the assault companies. Furthermore I personally know both officers and men of these advance units and believe that it will steady them to know that I am with them.“
Gen. Barton approved the letter but stated he did not expect Roosevelt to return alive.
The 4th Division landed on June 6, but found they were placed a mile south of the appointed location. Roosevelt utter his famous words, “We’ll start the war from right here.” Immediately he deployed the first landing elements of the 4th Div.; the 8th Infantry Regiment and the 70th Tank Battalion, and with the division artillery shortly after coming ashore, directed the attack upon the enemy. By rapidly reorganizing the plan, Roosevelt was able to quickly regain control of the mishap in landing and proceeded to work the new plan to great success, achieving the original objective.
Some time later, General Roosevelt was recommend for the Distinguished Service Cross for his valiant action at Utah Beach by Gen. Barton, but the recommendation was upgraded to the Medal of Honor. The Citation reads:
” For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 6 June 1944, in France. After 2 verbal requests to accompany the leading assault elements in the Normandy invasion had been denied, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt’s written request for this mission was approved and he landed with the first wave of the forces assaulting the enemy-held beaches. He repeatedly led groups from the beach, over the seawall and established them inland. His valor, courage, and presence in the very front of the attack and his complete unconcern at being under heavy fire inspired the troops to heights of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice. Although the enemy had the beach under constant direct fire, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt moved from one locality to another, rallying men around him, directed and personally led them against the enemy. Under his seasoned, precise, calm, and unfaltering leadership, assault troops reduced beach strong points and rapidly moved inland with minimum casualties. He thus contributed substantially to the successful establishment of the beachhead in France.”
This might seem excessive to make $40.00 for an 8×10 glossy, but by design, sharing the historic contributions by General Theodore Roosevelt, like countless other Americans through their heroic actions, might assist in educating our fellow Americans of any age, the history that has made America the greatest nation on earth. If only a hand full absorb any of the information contained herein, I will be most elated.
A great historical WWII image!
USPS First Class Mail $4.00