Maj. Gen. Maurice Rose:
A Hero in WW I and WW II
by Seymour "Sy" Brody
General Maurice Rose proved was a hero in World War I and World War II. In World War I, he was a second lieutenant in the American Expeditionary Force that fought the Germans on French soil. When the war was over, he decided to make the Army his profession. In World War II, he served as chief of staff of the 2nd Armored Division and was promoted to brigadier general in 1943.
The Second Armored Division was shipped to North Africa, where Rose was involved in many tank battles with the Germans. When the German Army surrendered, General Rose negotiated the unconditional surrender of the Germans in Tunisia. He received the nickname of "Old Gravel Face" because he was very brusque in his dealings with the Germans. He was then assigned to command the 3rd Armored Division in Europe.
In 1944, he was promoted to major general. He led his tanks in combat against the Germans through France, Belgium and into Germany. It was in a fierce battle in Germany that General Rose was killed.
Rose was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star Medal and the Purple Heart. The French Army bestowed upon him the Legion of Honor and the Croix de Guerre.
The American press mourned his death as they extolled his bravery and feats in combat. The New York Times wrote: "The American Army was deprived of one of its most skilled and gallant officers and a man of rare personal charm besides..." The Chicago Daily News said: "H had the reputation of a remarkable leader of men. German prisoners talked of him as the only successor of the status of Rommel..."
The North American Newspaper Alliance wrote: "I think in Maurice Rose's death this Army has suffered its greatest single loss - great as the loss of Stonewall Jackson in the Civil War. He was a perfect example of the American soldier at his best..."
General Rose's 3rd Armored Division had many singular feats: it was the first division to cross the German border; the first to breach the Siegfried line; the first to shoot down an enemy plane on German soil; and the first to fire an artillery shell into German soil.
Major General Rose was the son of Rabbi and Mrs. Samuel Rose and was born in Middletown, Connecticut, in 1899. He was buried with full military honors in 1945.
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