Raymond S. McLain – Citizen General (1890-1954)
One of the greatest American soldiers of the war, this successful young Oklahoma City businessmen and World War I machine gun corps combat officer helped build the OKC-based 45th Infantry Division from its formation in 1923. “Through his efforts the 45th became the best-trained National Guard division in the nation,” according to historian David L. Frazier.
He commanded World War II artillery divisions at Sicily, Anzio, and Normandy, and transformed the troubled 90th Infantry Division into the “Tough Hombres” that helped spearhead George Patton’s 3rd Army juggernaut across France and Germany. His exalted accomplishments won him command of the U.S. XIX Corps, which under his leadership was the first American corps across the Elbe River in eastern Germany near Berlin. The XIX would have reached Berlin first among all Allied forces if not told to halt for the Russians by Dwight Eisenhower.
McLain, for whom McLain High School in Tulsa is named, won two Distinguished Service Crosses, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and many other decorations. Wartime U.S. Army Chief of Staff George Marshall declared that McLain “gave great distinction to the term ‘citizen soldier.’” He retired as a lieutenant general and the first statutory comptroller general of the U.S. Army.
Our OKLAHOMA GOLD! podcast on this website, here, tells more of the story of Oklahoman Raymond S. McLain, “America’s Greatest Citizen Soldier."