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Military Leaders Born in September

Guest Author - Ray Hanisco

Cornelius “Neily” Vanderbilt III – Born September 5th, 1873, American Military Officer, Inventor, Engineer, and Yachtsman (died 1942)

“Neily” was educated at Yale University. He served in the New York National Guard and remained in the military for 33 years. Vanderbilt rose to the rank of Brigadier General of the 25th Infantry Brigade. He served in the Border Wars with Mexico and World War I. Awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (U.S.), the Croix de Guerre (Belgium), and the Commander of the Legion of Honor (France).

Schalk Willem Burger – Born September 6th, 1852, South African Military leader, Lawyer, Politician, and 6th President of the South African Republic (died 1918)

Burger served in a number of conflicts, such as the Sekhukhune Wars and the First Boer Wars. He was raised to Commandant-General during the Second Boer Wars. Commandant-General Burger served as Vice President to President Paul Kruger, and later served as President while Paul Kruger was in exile.

Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette – Born September 6th, 1757, French Military Officer, and American Military Officer (died 1834)

He was orphaned at the age of 12, enlisted in the French Royal Army at 14, and married into one of France’s wealthiest families at 16. Gilbert du Motier was fascinated by the American Revolution and came to America to offer his assistants in 1777. He became known simply as Lafayette. He received a commission from Congress as Major General at the age of 20. He was one of George Washington’s staunchest allies. Lafayette was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine, and wintered with the troops at Valley Forge.

Joseph Wheeler – Born September 10th, 1836, American Military Commander, and Politician (died 1906)

Wheeler was trained at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and at the U.S. Cavalry School in Carlisle before resigning his commission to serve as a Cavalry General in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. After the war, he served several terms as the U.S. Representative from Alabama. At the start of the Spanish-American War, he was commissioned as a General and served in that war as well as the Philippine-American War.

Field Marshal Sir Gerald Walter Robert Templer – Born September 11th, 1898, English Military Leader, and Administrator (died 1979)

Field Marshal Templer was educated and trained at Wellington College, and the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. During World War I, he was assigned to his father’s command with the Royal Irish Fusiliers. He also fought during the Arab Revolt, World War II, and the Malayan Emergency. He held commands with the 47th Infantry, II Corps, XI Corps, the 1st Infantry Division, the 56th Infantry Division, and the 6th Armoured Division.

John Olof Dahlgren – Born September 14th, 1872, American Marine Corporal, and Medal of Honor Winner (died 1963)

Little is known about Dahlgren. He was born in Sweden, and served with the United States Marine Corps. He fought in the Chinese Boxer Rebellion as a Corporal. For his Meritorious Conduct during the Battle of Peking, China, from June 20 to July 16, 1900, Dahlgren was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Pamela Anne Melroy – Born September 17th, 1961, Retired Air Force Colonel, and Former NASA Astronaut

Colonel Melroy received her pilot training at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, Texas. She is a Veteran of Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Shield, and Desert Storm with more than 200 Combat or Combat Support hours. In total, Melroy has logged over 5,000 hours of flight time in more than 50 different aircraft. She has three Space Shuttle Missions to her credit: two as a pilot, and one as the Mission Commander.

William Howard Taft – Born September 15th, 1857, U.S. Secretary of War, and 27th President of the United States (died 1930)

Taft was a well-respected Jurist of the Cincinnati Superior Court. President Teddy Roosevelt appointed Taft as Secretary of War from 1904 to 1908 in order to groom him to be the next President of the United States thus keeping the Office under Republican control. Mr. Taft ran for President in 1908 and won, serving as President from 1909 to 1913. He was a one term President.

Anders Frederik Emil Schau Lassen – Born September 22nd, 1920, Danish Military Officer, and British Commando (died 1945)

Lassen served in the Danish Merchant Navy. Shortly after the start of World War II, he traveled to England to join the British Commandos. Lassen received a field commission as a temporary Major, and was awarded the British Military Cross for the role he played in ‘Operation Postmaster.’ In the two following years he was honored with a total of two bars to add to his Military Cross. Major Lassen was additionally awarded the British Victoria Cross posthumously for his heroism in the ‘Lake Comacchio Operation.’

Alfred Wintle – Born September 30th, 1897, A Russian born English Military Officer, and Author (died 1966)

Lt. Col. Wintle was born in Mariopol, Russia, and his family moved to Dunkirk. He was just 16 years old at the outbreak of World War I. With his father’s permission Wintle enrolled in the Royal Military Academy at Woolrich. He was commissioned after only four months. He served in both world wars. He was considered by some to be a renegade and by others as a brilliant intelligence officer.
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