A commanding general's Tribute to his men....
General M.W. Clark
|Possibly the best congratulation to serving soldiers I have read. It is on this site because it is not available anywhere on the Internet.|
Headquarters 15th Army Group
To the Soldiers of the 15th Army Group
With a full and grateful heart I hail and congratulate you in this hour of complete victory over the German enemy, and join with you in thanks to Almighty God.
Yours has been a long, hard fight – the longest in this war of any Allied troops fighting on the Continent of Europe. You men of the Fifth and Eighth Armies have brought that fight to a successful conclusion by recent brilliant offensive operations which shattered the German forces opposing you. Their surrender was the inevitable course left to them, they had nothing more to fight with in Italy.
You have demonstrated something new and remark in the annals of organized warfare: You have shown that a huge fighting force composed of units from many countries with diverse languages and customs, inspired, as you have always been, with a devotion to the cause of freedom, can become an effective and harmonious fighting team.
This teamwork which has carried us to victory has included in full measure the supporting arms which have worked with us throughout the campaign. The services that have supplied us have overcome unbelievable obstacles and have kept us constantly armed, equipped, and fed. The magnificent support which we have always had from the Allied air and naval forces in this theatre has written a new page in the history of cooperative combat action.
Our exultation in this moment is blended with sorrow as we pay tribute to the heroic Allied soldiers who have fallen in battle in order that this victory might be achieved. The entire world will forever honor their memory.
The war is not over. The German military machine has been completely crushed by the splendid campaigns waged by you and your colleagues of the Western and Russian fronts. There remains the all important task of inflicting a similar complete defeat on our remaining enemy – Japan. Each one of us in the 15th Army Group must continue without pause to give the full measure of effort to that task wherever we may be called upon to serve.
I am intensely proud of you all and of the honor which I have had of commanding such invincible troops. My thanks go to each of you for your capable, aggressive, and loyal service which has produced this great victory.
Men of the 15th Army Group, I know you will face the task ahead with the same magnificent, generous and indomitable spirit you have shown in this long campaign. Forward, to final Victory. God bless you all.
May 1945 Mark W. Clark: General, USA Commanding
This is possibly the greatest military Tribute I have ever read; although I know that the Allied fight in Burma was equally internationally composed, with very diverse customs indeed, although the chaps in Burma did not have strong air support in the jungle. These words are not available elsewhere on the Internet, which is why I post them here.
Mark W. Clark (1896-1984). Born in NY, raised in Illinois. An heir of War of Independence General George Clark.
He served in the infantry in France in WW1, before serving as the deputy commander of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Omaha, NE.
He became Lieutenant General in 1943 and commanded the US 5th Army at Salerno. In 1944, he became commander of the joint US and British 15th Army Group.
In the Korean War he led the UN forces to the ceasefire.
His decorations include the DSC, DSM and the Grand Croix Légion D’honneur.