Name of Veteran: Alvan C. Gillem
AAC Tracking Number #5490
Item Location: Currently on loan to The National Leadership Foundation
Provenance and Tracking History:
Items in the Group Specifics: General Gillem's medal grouping missing his full sized Mexican border service medal but including all his foreign awards
Why is the group Special: Medal grouping belonging to ta field army commander
Information About the Veteran:
Gillem enlisted in the Army in 1910 and served both as a Private and a Corporal with the 17th Infantry at Fort McPherson. On February 11, 1911, while still at Fort McPherson, he was appointed a Second Lieutenant of Infantry. He served in the Philippines and later served under General John J. Pershing on the Mexican Border in 1916.During World War I, Alvan C. Gillem served with the American Expeditionary Forces in Siberia for eight months from 1918 to 1919.
In 1923, Captain Gillem attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff School. Following this, he was promoted to Major.
Gillem was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and commanded an infantry battalion for 2 years. Then he commanded the 66th Infantry Regiment (Light Tanks) for 10 months, the only armored regiment in the US Army at the time. He was promoted to Brigadier General in January, 1941 and then given command of the 2nd Armored Brigade. He became the first commanding general of the 3rd Armored Division from April 1941 to January 1942, dubbing it the "Spearhead" division. He received promotion to Major General in December, 1941.
Early during the Second World War, General Gillem was mostly stationed stateside. He was given command of the II Armored Corps (later redesignated XVIII Corps) and later the Armored Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Major-General Gillem commanded the XIII Corps, 9th US Army in the European Theater of Operations from September 1944 to September 1945. In June 1945 he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General. His corps came within 50 miles of Berlin, the closest of all US troops. He was selected to command the Armored Task Force that was scheduled to invade Japan, but Japan surrendered before the invasion plan was carried out.