Courtney Hicks Hodges
Engagements: • World War I (1914 - 1918)• World War II (1941 - 1945)
Courtney Hicks Hodges
General Hodges was an American military officer, most prominent for his role in World War II, in which he commanded the First United States Army in Northwest Europe.
Courtney Hicks Hodges was born on 5 January 1887 in Perry, GA, where his father published a small-town newspaper.
Hodges attended the U.S. Military Academy but dropped out after a year because of poor test scores. (He was found "deficient" in mathematics. Had he finished at West Point, he would have graduated with the Class of 1909.) Hodges enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1906 as a Private and, three years later, he became a commissioned officer. He served with George C. Marshall in the Philippines and with George S. Patton in Mexico.
World War I
He earned the Distinguished Service Cross (second only in precedence to the Medal of Honor), during the closing days of World War I while leading an attack across the Marne River. After the war, he was sufficiently well thought of that he became an instructor at West Point, although he had not graduated from that institution.
In 1938, he became Assistant Commandant of the U.S. Army Infantry School and, in 1941, he became Commandant.
World War II
In May 1941, Hodges was promoted to Major General and given various assignments, including Chief of Infantry, until 1942 when he finally received a frontline command, X Corps. In 1943, while commanding both X Corps and then Third Army, he was sent to Britain, where he served under General Omar N. Bradley. During Operation Overlord, he was subordinate to Bradley as Deputy Commander of the First Army, but in August 1944, he succeeded Bradley as Commander of First Army when Bradley left to command 12th Army Group.
Hodges's First Army troops were the first to reach Paris, France, and he led them through Germany. His troops fought the Battle of Hurtgen Forest and had a major role in the Ardennes Offensive; otherwise known as the Battle of the Bulge. The First Army was the first unit to cross the Rhine River by using the still standing Ludendorff bridge at Remagen. There it met up with the Soviet Red Army near Torgau, on the river Elbe.
Hodges was promoted to General on 15 April 1945, making him only the second man (after Walter Krueger) to rise from an enlisted private to four-star General.
In May 1945, after the German surrender, Hodges and his troops were ordered to prepare for the invasion of Japan. However, that became unnecessary when the use of the atomic bomb led to Japan's surrender later that year. Hodges was present at the surrenders of both Germany and Japan.
Post-World War II
After the war, Hodges continued commanding First Army at Fort Jay on Governors Island, NY. He retired from active duty with the Army in March 1949.
Medals and Awards
Distinguished Service Cross with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters *
* It is worthwhile to note that Courtney Hicks Hodges was three times awarded the U.S. Army's second highest award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross. The DSC is second only to the Medal of Honor.
Death and Burial
General Courtney Hicks Hodges died in San Antonio, TX, on 16 January 1966. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 2.
Final Remarks from the Author
Hopefully, nobody will read that Courtney Hicks Hodges 'deficiency' in mathematics led to his leaving West Point after his first year and then conclude that he was not as intelligent, or talented, as the others in his class, which would have been the Class of 1909. To dispel any such conclusion, consider the following facts:
The Class of 1909 had 103 graduates. Four of those graduates attained 4-star rank:
Jacob L. Devers (class rank 39) Date of rank: 8 March 1945
* Eichelberger and Simpson were given their fourth star upon retirement; neither ever served on active duty as a 4-star general.
Although Hodges had to rise from an enlisted private to 4-star general (and didn't have the USMA 'ring-knocker' thing going for him), Devers made general only 38 days earlier; Patton made general 1 day before Hodges.
Consider also that, after WWI, he was sufficiently well thought of that he became an instructor at West Point, although he had not graduated from that institution and, as far as the records show, he had not graduated from any college or university.
Courtney Hicks Hodges was a very modest man, although his record gave him no reason to be. He is just another one of the great men who served in the U.S. military with great skill and dedication. America has been extremely fortunate in having such men (and now women) from the time of George Washington forward.
General, we thank you for your great service in preserving our country's freedoms. May you rest in peace knowing that you truly embodied the ideals of "Duty, Honor, Country."
|Honoree ID: 43||Created by: MHOH|