Charles H. Gerhardt

Major GeneralCharles Hunter Gerhardt (June 6, 1895 – October 9, 1976) was a senior United States Armyofficer who fought in both World War I and World War II. During the latter, he commanded the 29th Infantry Division from 1943 until the end of the war and during part of the occupation of Germany. The division’s most famous combat operations were the Omaha Beach landings of June 6, 1944 (his 49th birthday), otherwise known as D-Day, and the taking of the French crossroads town of Saint-Lô in July 1944. He reached the rank of major general.

United States Army general
Charles Hunter Gerhardt
Nickname(s) “Uncle Charlie”
Born June 6, 1895
Lebanon, Tennessee, United States
Died October 9, 1976 (aged 81)
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1917–1948
Rank Major General
Service number 0-5259
Unit Cavalry Branch
Commands held 56th Cavalry Brigade
91st Infantry Division
29th Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Awards Army Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star (2)
Relations Charles Gerhardt (father)

. . . Charles H. Gerhardt . . .

From left to right: Major General William M. Wright, commanding the 89th Division, Major General Frank L. Winn, to succeed Wright in command of the 89th, and Brigadier General Henry D. Todd Jr., commanding the 58th Field Artillery Brigade, Stenay, Meuse, France, November 12, 1918. Standing behind Wright is his aide-de-camp, Captain Charles H. Gerhardt.

Gerhardt grew up in the army as the son of Charles Gerhardt, a career officer who retired as a brigadier general. The younger Gerhardt attended the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York in 1913 where he earned a reputation as a skilled football, baseball and polo player. In 1916, Gerhardt quarterbacked for West Point to a 30-10 upset win over Notre Dame, which was led by the famed freshman George Gipp. It was Notre Dame’s only loss that year.[1]

Gerhardt’s West Point class graduated on April 6, 1917, exactly two weeks after the American entry into World War I. Graduation was six weeks earlier than intended because of the U.S. entry into the war. Subsequently, Gerhardt was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Cavalry Branch of the United States Army. Among those he graduated alongside were men such as Matthew Ridgway, Mark W. Clark, J. Lawton Collins, Ernest N. Harmon, Norman Cota, William W. Eagles, Laurence B. Keiser, Frederick Augustus Irving, John T. Cole, Augustus M. Gurney, Elbert L. Ford, John M. Devine, Charles S. Kilburn, Harold R. Jackson, Basil H. Perry, Albert C. Smith, Clare Hibbs Armstrong, Daniel Noce, Aaron Bradshaw Jr.Harris M. Melasky, William C. McMahon and William Kelly Harrison, Jr., all of whom would, like Gerhardt, later become general officers, with Ridgway and Collins in particular becoming U.S. Army Chief of Staff.[1]

His first posting upon his graduation was with a cavalry unit in Texas. However, he later served as a staff officer with the headquarters of the 89th Division on the Western Front as part of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF). He ended the war as aide-de-camp to Major GeneralWilliam M. Wright, commander of the 89th Division.[1]

. . . Charles H. Gerhardt . . .

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. . . Charles H. Gerhardt . . .

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