Dogface General: Lucian A. Truscott, Jr. (1895-1965)
One of the most famous soldiers of World War II, former OU student Lucian K. Truscott commanded the U.S. Third Division in the Allies’ amphibious assaults on southern Italy at Sicily, Salerno, and Anzio; Sixth Corps’ invasion of southern France; the Fifth Army in the mountains of Italy and final destruction of German forces in that country; and the Third Army, replacing the deceased George Patton. He also founded the elite modern U.S. Army Rangers.
His modest but roughhewn mien epitomized the Dogface Soldier of the fabled Third Division anthem and formed the title of one of the many biographies about him. “I had long felt our standards for marching and fighting in the infantry were too low,” he wrote later. “Not up to those of the Roman legions nor countless examples from our own frontier history, nor those of Stonewall Jackson’s ‘Foot Cavalry’ of Civil War fame.” So he pushed his men through trust and grueling training to double the normal infantry march pace.
It paid off, as no American commander excelled him against the tough German forces in Italy. Afterwards, Pope Pius XII granted him an audience.
“It was not a bad rise for a poor boy from frontier Oklahoma,” he proudly wrote to his wife.”