Theodore Roosevelt Jnr

I visited the Normandy beaches in April and took this photo:


I was reminded of it by They Don’t Make ’em Like This Anymore… comment in the 70 years on thread.

Theodore Roosevelt Jnr………”Roosevelt was instrumental in the forming of the American Legion in 1919. He later served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Governor of Puerto Rico (1929–32), Governor-General of the Philippines (1932–33), Chairman of the Board of American Express Company, and Vice-President at Doubleday Books, and as a Brigadier General in the United States Army……To land on D-Day on he wrote to his division’s commanding General….

“You should have when you get to shore an overall picture in which you can place confidence. I believe I can contribute materially on all of the above by going in with the assault companies. Furthermore I personally know both officers and men of these advance units and believe that it will steady them to know that I am with them.[13]“……(General) Barton approved this letter with much misgiving, stating that he did not expect Roosevelt to return alive.

Roosevelt was the only general on D-Day to land by sea with the first wave of troops. At 56, he would be the oldest man in the invasion, and the only man to serve with his son on D-Day at Normandy (Captain Quentin Roosevelt II was among the first wave of soldiers to land at Omaha beach while his father commanded at Utah beach). He rode aboard on one of twenty Higgins boats in the first wave. His boat was the first to land. Roosevelt was one of the first soldiers, along with Captain Leonard T. Schroeder Jr. (the very first soldier ashore on D-Day), off his landing craft as he led the U.S. 4th Infantry Division’s 8th Infantry Regiment and 70th Tank Battalion landing at Utah Beach……When General Barton, the commander of the 4th Infantry Division, came ashore later that day, he met Roosevelt not far from the beach. He later wrote that “Ted Roosevelt came up. He had landed with the first wave, had put my troops across the beach, and had a perfect picture (just as Roosevelt had earlier promised if allowed to go ashore with the first wave) of the entire situation. I loved Ted.”…..One GI later reported that seeing the general walking around, apparently unaffected by the enemy fire, even when clods of earth fell down on him, gave him the courage to get on with the job, saying if the general is like that it can’t be that bad…..These impromptu plans worked with complete success and little confusion. With artillery landing close by, each follow-on regiment was personally welcomed on the beach by a cool, calm, and collected Roosevelt, who inspired all with humor and confidence, reciting poetry and telling anecdotes of his father to steady the nerves of his men…….

The MoH citation (awarded posthumously)…..”For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 6 June 1944, in France. After 2 verbal requests to accompany the leading assault elements in the Normandy invasion had been denied, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt’s written request for this mission was approved and he landed with the first wave of the forces assaulting the enemy-held beaches. He repeatedly led groups from the beach, over the seawall and established them inland. His valor, courage, and presence in the very front of the attack and his complete unconcern at being under heavy fire inspired the troops to heights of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice. Although the enemy had the beach under constant direct fire, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt moved from one locality to another, rallying men around him, directed and personally led them against the enemy. Under his seasoned, precise, calm, and unfaltering leadership, assault troops reduced beach strong points and rapidly moved inland with minimum casualties. He thus contributed substantially to the successful establishment of the beachhead in France.[19]“……

Throughout World War II, Roosevelt suffered from health problems. He had arthritis, mostly from old World War I injuries, and walked with a cane. He also had heart trouble. On July 12, 1944, a little over one month after the landing at Utah Beach, he died suddenly of a heart attack near Sainte-Mère-Église in Normandy, France. He had spent part of the day in a long conversation with his son, Captain Quentin Roosevelt II, who had participated with him in the Normandy landing. He was stricken at about 10 pm and died, attended by medical help, at about midnight. He was fifty-six years old. On the day of his death he had been selected by General Omar Bradley for promotion to major general and orders had been cut placing him in command of the 90th Infantry Division. These recommendations were sent to General Dwight D. Eisenhower for approval, but when Eisenhower called the next morning to approve them, he was told that Roosevelt had died during the night.

When asked what the bravest act he had ever seen was, Omar Bradley responded with, “Ted Roosevelt on UTAH Beach.” –

If you’ve ever seen The Longest Day, TR Jnr’s played by Henry Fonda.

He is buried next to his brother who had died in WWI and is the only WWI casualty in the American cemetery at Normandy.

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35 Responses to Theodore Roosevelt Jnr

  1. Aristogeiton

    Hey thanks for the liberty Teddy, but we don’t want it any more.

  2. Infidel Tiger

    Makes you feel rather small reading about these men.

  3. Cassie of Sydney

    A beautiful and touching story of a generation of real men who had courage, nobility, honour and valour, all attributes missing in the current US President who might be a male but is most definitely not a man. Obama the Appeaser couldn’t fight a one-legged mouse.

  4. Rabz

    That is what you call leading from the front.

    Another inspiring tale of those who have stood up to tyranny and stared it down.

  5. lotocoti

    Such men.
    They must appear alien to those who have come to believe quick, telegenic, casualty free wars conflicts are the only acceptable way of pursuing politics by other means.
    On the subject of gravestones, Lee Marvin’s tells you all he needed you to know.

  6. As anyone who has visited some war cemeteries will know, there are considerable differences between US war cemeteries and Commonwealth War Cemeteries.
    One is illustrated in the subject photo of this thread.

  7. stackja

    The Normandy Invasion: Medal of Honor Recipients
    Private Barret, U.S. Army, 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Place and date: Near St. Laurent-sur-Mer, France, 6 June 1944.
    On the morning of D-day Private Barrett, landing in the face of extremely heavy enemy fire, was forced to wade ashore through neck-deep water. Disregarding the personal danger, he returned to the surf again and again to assist his floundering comrades and save them from drowning. Refusing to remain pinned down by the intense barrage of small-arms and mortar fire poured at the landing points, Private Barrett, working with fierce determination, saved many lives by carrying casualties to an evacuation boat lying offshore. In addition to his assigned mission as guide, he carried dispatches the length of the fire-swept beach; he assisted the wounded; he calmed the shocked; he arose as a leader in the stress of the occasion. His coolness and his dauntless daring courage while constantly risking his life during a period of many hours had an inestimable effect on his comrades and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.

  8. Robert Blair

    Sacrifice indeed.

    Meanwhile across the West we seem to have adopted the nationalist socialist polcy kit holus-bolus, even adopting the weird nature religion bits, and now starting in on adopting the jew-hatred.

    If we had just rolled over we might have been more or less in the same spot now anyway.

  9. Viva

    The nearest one can get to how it sounded and looked on the beach on D Day is watching the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan. You can never know how it felt.

  10. Alfonso

    It’s important for the left to minimise the fight, the honour, the courage and even the existence of such men.
    The comrades would not want too many teenagers to be so inspired in the fight for Western values.

  11. Alfonso

    It’s important for the left to minimise the fight, the honour, the courage and even the existence of such men.
    The comrades would not want too many teenagers to be so inspired in the fight for Western values.

  12. sabrina

    It is indeed a story of selfless sacrifice for him and his brother. And he sent his own son to war as well.

    It is not matched in modern days any more. The political masteers send others’ kids to war while they themselves either dodge or send their able-bodied kids to work on election campaigns overseas.

    Is there any lessons learnt? Germany has certainly turned out to be a great democracy, but in other parts of Europe, civil war drags on.

  13. The nearest one can get to how it sounded and looked on the beach on D Day is watching the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan. You can never know how it felt.

    When “Saving Private Ryan” came out I watched it in a cinema that was (me excepted) full of uni students.

    The opening sequence is full of people being shot, losing limbs, etc. Each and every time one of those bad events came on the screen, the mirth of the students knew no bounds, they barely stopped laughing. It was almost as if I was seeing “Saving Private Ryan” while they were seeing “Herbie does Monte Carlo” or something.

    I left that cinema a firm believer in a conscription for uni-students policy – with brutal route marches and hopefully a nasty war thrown in.

  14. Bruce of Newcastle

    For Sinc, since I know he’s read it. I just re-read David Weber’s By Heresies Distressed on the way to the series’ latest, which is just out – there’s a very similar scene in that book. Reality can seem like fiction sometimes, but men really can be heroes.

    Vale Brig Gen Roosevelt.

  15. jupes

    As anyone who has visited some war cemeteries will know, there are considerable differences between US war cemeteries and Commonwealth War Cemeteries.
    One is illustrated in the subject photo of this thread.

    Serious question Steve, apart from the shape of the gravestones, what is the difference?

  16. Serious question Steve, apart from the shape of the gravestones, what is the difference?

    They are meticulously maintained, every memorial day flags are placed on individual graves and flowers are also placed annually.


  17. C.L.

    When asked what the bravest act he had ever seen was, Omar Bradley responded with, “Ted Roosevelt on UTAH Beach.” –

    Praise doesn’t come more golden than this.

    Incredibly, Ted Roosevelt Jr’s son – Ted Roosevelt III – also served in WWII. He was a naval aviator – one of the most dangerous jobs available. He was awarded the Air Medal.

    As if that wasn’t impressive enough, his son – Ted Roosevelt V – did two years in Vietnam as a Navy SEAL.

    And his son – Ted Roosevelt VI – well, all good things come to an end.

  18. queensland observer

    I was a high school student when Saving Private Ryan came out, when I saw it at the movies my group wasn’t laughing. The opening scene was confronting

  19. jupes

    They are meticulously maintained …

    So are Commonwealth War Graves.

    … every memorial day flags are placed on individual graves …

    True that doesn’t happen, however Australia has never been a nation of flag wavers.

    … and flowers are also placed annually.

    Flowers are grown between the headstones of Commonwealth War Graves, here’s some photos of the Bomana War Cemetry in Port Moresby. There are more Australian service men* buried there than any other cemetry on earth.

    * And one service woman.

  20. Mater

    A great man.
    It inspired me to transcribe an extract from one of my Grandfathers old books, a passage that has stuck with me since I was a small child.
    Is it possible to laugh and cry at the same time?

    Truely the greatest generation.

    An eye witness account by War Correspondent, George Henry Johnston, OBE

    I was just behind the front line at Gona, crouched down in the Kunai grass with a party of 21 infantrymen from South Australia. They had been in action almost constantly for two months. They were thin, haggard, under-nourished, insect-bitten, grimy and physically near the end of their tether. They were fighting on fighting spirit alone. And because that spirit was good, they were still superlative troops. They were talking among themselves about a Japanese weapon pit concealed in the butt of a huge jungle tree at the end of a clearing beyond the Kunai patch. The pit had held them up for two hours. Two of their number had been killed and five wounded when they first pushed through the kunai and ran into a scythe-like sweep of fire from the Japanese. Twenty-six-year-old Lieutenant G. T. Hicks was talking quietly to the men. “No use sitting around, I guess. We might as well get stuck into it!” The men grinned. The Lieutenant – who wore no badges of rank and was clad in the same green jungle uniform as the troops – turned to his Sergeant. “How much of that grass do you reckon they’ve cleared away between the post and the edge of the kunai?” “Seventy or 80 yards, I’d say,” replied the Sergeant. A couple of Privates nodded and a Lance-Corporal estimated it as nearer 100. “Well, there are 21 of us now,” said a stocky little Private from Renmark. “Once we get up to the bloody pit it would only take about six of us to dig the little blighters out.” He tossed a hand grenade a few inches into the air and caught it nonchalanty. “You ought to be one of the six, sport,” interjected another Private, lolling on his back with his net covered steel helmet over his eyes and a piece of yellow grass moving up and down rhythmically with the champing of his jaws. “You’re so bloody short, Tojo’ll never be able to get a sight on yer!” A soft ripple of laughter ran around the little group. But even that little burst of laughter was heard. From the Japanese post came the pap-pap-pap of a short machine-gun burst. The bullets zipped harmlessly high overhead. The man who was chewing the grass tipped his helmet back and looked in the direction of the enemy post. “Use ‘em up, Tojo,” he muttered. “You ain’t got much longer to go.” The Lieutenant buckled his belt and looked around his men. They grinned and reached for their rifles and Brens and tommy-guns. “According to Shorty here, this job’s going to mean fifteen of us won’t get through,” he said as if it were a grand joke. “Wouldn’t count on that,” said a lanky man, spitting out the well-chewed piece of grass. “He always was an optimist!” Another ripple of laughter. “Well, some come back, they say,”grinned the Lieutenant. He motioned to the men. They took a final look at their weapons, saw the grenades were ready and began to squirm slowly towards the edge of the long grass. As he moved past, the lanky man winked at me. “Give us a good write up,” he said. The advance of the 21 men made little movement in the grass, and the occasional shaking of the thick blades might have been only the wind blowing in from the beach. They reached the edge of the kunai. A few yards out in the cleared area were the twisted bodies of their comrades killed a couple of hours before. There was a sudden flash of steel as the Australians sprang to their feet and started running. They were yelling like madmen. For a split second there was no sound from the enemy position. Then it started. The wild brrrppp-brrpp of machine-guns firing with fingers tight on the triggers, the crack of Grenades, once, the scream of a man. The Australians were running in a straight line. It’s no use swerving or dodging when you’re charging into machine-gun fire. Their bayonets were at high port. Men were falling. One threw up his hands, stopped dead and stumbled to one side. Another fell as he was running, rolling over and over like a rabbit hit on the run. Another was spun around like a top before he crumpled up and slid to the ground. The little man who had predicted that six would get through had almost reached the Japanese pit when he fell. He went over backwards as if somebody had delivered a terrific uppercut. He didn’t live to find out, but his estimate was wrong. Nine of the Australians got through. They wiped out the post, killing every one of the 19 Japanese inside. That is the meaning of morale. I saw that happen.

  21. tomix

    The story of TR’s daughter Alice Roosevelt Longworth isn’t a bad read either- though for different reasons.

  22. Aussieute

    Found this the other day … similar to yours Sinc

    Who is watching you?
    Watch out for the twist

  23. Geriatric Mayfly

    Rick Atkinson’s Guns At Last Light is a splendid read on the events in Normandy, the push towards Paris and eventually the allied move to Berlin. Well written, highly informative, sometimes entertaining; but inevitably grim.

  24. Serious question Steve, apart from the shape of the gravestones, what is the difference?

    Sorry Jupes, my earlier post was “sent” early, the second half of it was cut off, & for some reason I didn’t get back to finish it.

    The difference (between US war cemeteries & Commonwealth War Cemeteries) is stark.
    The ethos of Commonwealth cemeteries is the egalitarian nature of war dead. As they arrive at the cemetery they are placed in the next plot in line. Privates from nowhere killed on their third day in the line may be in an adjacent plot to a Major-General with a string of victorious campaigns under his belt. All gravestones are the same, all the dead are equal.
    The basis is that all have made an equal sacrifice, and will be treated/remembered equally. The cemeteries have simple gates, and sometimes a fence or wall, they vary little the world over.
    You visit dozens of such.

    Then you happen upon an American war cemetery.
    How to put this…. Americans (collectively) don’t do “subtle” very well.

    Commonwealth War Cemeteries are places of quiet reflection (though for an atmosphere of sheer misery and sombreness, nothing beats a German war cemetery) then you stumble upon an American war cemetery. It can only be described as “garish”. It is an assault upon the senses. They couldn’t be “louder” if they had a brass band playing. There will be coloured PVC raised maps of the battles & campaigns the troops fought in, huge gold eagles adorning the gates. There will be signs everywhere sterninly warning/advising you to “respect”. This is needed, coz there ain’t anything else about the place to hint at “respect”.
    An important General won’t always be buried among the troops, but separately, to emphasize his importance. Something that would never happen in a Commonwealth War Cemetery.

    In the photo at the top of this thread the gravestone has gold embossing in the inscription, to emphasise the importance of the soldier buried below, hinting that his sacrifice and his loss were more important to his nation than that of other dead in the cemetery. Once again, something that will never be found in a Commonwealth cemetery.

    As I said, the difference is very stark. Not suggesting one is better than the other. Just very starkly different. Nobody will ever mistake an American war cemetery for a Commonwealth one. Ever.

  25. Blogstrop

    Another story, with a decidedly Britsh eccentricity, comes via Belmont Club.
    The relief of Pegasus Bridge.

  26. jupes

    Thanks Steve. I have never been to a US war cemetary.

    I like the egalitarian nature of the Commonwealth cemetaries. It’s amazing actually that the Poms didn’t go for US style of burying their high ranking officers seperately, seeing as though they were very class conscious back in the day.

  27. rickw

    They don’t make them like this anymore?

    Happily, they do, it’s just that:

    – Politicians are bent on the emasculation of the armed forces.
    – Politicians are bent on interfering in the execution of military operations.
    – Politicians do things that escalate the risks and the chances of failure (Bergdhal).

    I went to Afghanistan a couple of times doing contract engineering. I have the highest praise for the Americans and Brits (who I worked with), no observations on the Aussies, I wasn’t working with them (except that they looked like shit in their koala suits!).

    It wasn’t D-Day, but it still took a lot of guts on their part, particularly when the vision of what they were doing was so screwed up.

    (My view is that the Politicians lost the battle on Day 1, they didn’t comprehend that Islam IS the problem, the stated objective should have been to install a secular democratic government, that could have been a goer given the good will of the first couple of years and given that the younger generation of Afghans seem to be more interested in modernity than anything else. As I have said before, the only vision we offered them was pretty much the same as what they were already living, some promotion. eg. Rome advanced on military AND a superior cultural offer.)

  28. PeterCGoing

    WW2 often engenders debate about Poms vs Aussies vs Yanks and I don’t doubt in that the Canadians and Kiwis could add tothe debate but

    Many of the men and women of that period saw Hitler as a person that could not be accomadated. Isolationist in the US and other countries made sound arguments to stay out of another European civil war but enough saw the bigger picture and joined the war.
    One of the most attractive features of US history is that more US servicemen and women have died for other’s freedoms than protecting the US. However, I believe like the countless Australians who have also fought and died for freedom they did see that freedom in another country is not a threat to yours but slavery is a threat to your freedom.

    So allow each nation to mourn its dead as it wants to, be thankful that the Anglosphere exists and has recognised that freedom is contagious but so is tyranny and it is easy to guard freedom than to win it back.

  29. Thanks Steve. I have never been to a US war cemetary.

    When you do Jupes, one thing you’ll notice is the coloured PVC arrows & markers on a big wall, showing movements of various units in various battles, blah blah blah. Just when you’re getting over this and beginning to wonder how the US population could have allowed such disneyland crap in a war cemetery, you’ll look on the other side of this wall and see that the rear side of it is where they’ve carved the names of those with no known grave.

    If you’re really lucky there’ll be some clueless US Marine or MP there who may ever be sufficiently situationally unaware to order/demand you show “respect”.
    Otherwise you’ll just have to settle for giving the forks to one of the countless large signs demanding “respect”.

  30. The greatest per capita loss over both World Wars was by New Zealand.
    The proportion of American war dead who’ve died protecting other’s freedoms compared to protecting their own is nowhere near the proportion of Australians who’ve died doing the same.

    Americans got there by sheer weight of numbers. But just imagine how much more spectacular their military outcome would have been if they’d fought like Australians or New Zealanders!

  31. Liam

    This piece makes me recall the poignant words displayed above Omaha which could apply just as well to other bloody fields:

    ‘Look how many of them there were
    Look how young they were
    They died for your freedom
    Hold back your tears and keep silent.’

  32. Docket62

    I am perpetually humbled by our servicemen and women. So many stories can never be told because the valour died with them. Lest we forget

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