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Theodore Roosevelt Jr., President's Son and WWII Hero, Thrived in Military Life

By    |   Tuesday, 02 September 2014 03:26 PM

President Theodore Roosevelt’s eldest son, Brig. Gen. Theodore "Ted" Roosevelt Jr., thrived in military life, ending his career as a World War II hero leading the invasion of Utah Beach at age 57.

Roosevelt Jr. began his career in investment banking, but longed to serve as a military officer, according to the Theodore Roosevelt Center at Dickinson University.

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He served in World War I, suffering from a poison gas attack and getting shot in the left kneecap, and refusing to be evacuated until being carried off the field. His brother-in-law, Dr. Richard Derby, transported him to Blake’s Hospital, a move that may have saved his leg.

Roosevelt Jr. later was an officer in the Army Reserves and served as New York state assemblyman, assistant secretary of the Navy, governor of Puerto Rico, and governor general of the Philippines before taking a job as vice president of publishing company Doubleday Doran.

He later enlisted during World War II. His verbal requests to lead the invasion on Utah Beach had been repeatedly denied by Major General Barton, who feared Roosevelt Jr. would not survive the battle. Eventually Barton approved a written request, and Roosevelt Jr. led the U.S. 4th Infantry Division's 8th Infantry Regiment and the 70th Tank Battalion in the invasion. For “gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty,” Roosevelt Jr. earned a Medal of Honor posthumously.

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Roosevelt Jr. inspired troops with his courageous and calm leadership though he walked with the assistance of a cane during the invasion.

Roosevelt Jr. is widely credited with saying, "We'll start the war from right here," after discovering that they had drifted and were about a mile from the planned site of the invasion.

Roosevelt Jr. died of a heart attack on July 12, 1944, shortly after the D-Day invasion and was buried in Sainte-Laurent-sur-Mer, near Normandy. His brother Quentin Roosevelt, who was shot down and killed during World War I, was reinterred there.

During his time in the military, Roosevelt Jr. was awarded the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, Army Distinguished Service Medal, four Silver Star awards and the Legion of Merit, according to Military Times.

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President Theodore Roosevelt's eldest son, Brig. Gen. Theodore Ted Roosevelt Jr., thrived in military life, ending his career as a World War II hero leading the invasion of Utah Beach at age 57.
theodore roosevelt jr, wwii hero, military, life
Tuesday, 02 September 2014 03:26 PM
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