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PERSHING, John "Black Jack": Memorial in Pershing Park in Washington, D.C.
by Robert Winthrop White
located in James M. Goode's Pennsylvania Avenue area (click link for more in that area)

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John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing GCB (September 13, 1860 – July 15, 1948) was an officer in the United States Army. Pershing is the only person, while still alive, to rise to the highest rank ever held in the United States Army—General of the Armies—equivalent only to the posthumous rank of George Washington. Pershing led the American Expeditionary Force in World War I and was regarded as a mentor by the generation of American generals who led the United States Army in Europe during World War II, including George C. Marshall, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Omar Bradley and George S. Patton. Source: Wikipedia




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0000500/00642_0000009510 (added ca. 2006)



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0000500/00642_0000009520 (added ca. 2006)



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0000500/00642_0000009540 (added ca. 2006)



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0000500/00642_0000009550 (added ca. 2006)



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0000500/00642_0010001779 (added ca. 2006)


IN THEIR DEVOTION, THEIR VALOR, AND IN THE LOYAL FULFILLMENT OF THEIR
OBBLIGATIONS, THE OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES
HAVE LEFT A HERITAGE OF WHICH THOSE WHO FOLLOW MAY EVER BE PROUD
JOHN J PERSHING

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0000500/00642_0000009560 (added ca. 2006)


ON 6 APRIL 1917, THE UNITED STATES ENTERED WORLD WAR I. WITH FEW REGULAR FORCES THE TASK OF TRAINING AND TRANSPORTINGAN EFFECTIVE ARMY TO FIGHT IN FRANCE WAS FORMIDABLE. THE U.S. NAVY, ACTING SWIFTLY TO COMBAT THE GERMAN SUBMARINE MENACE, DISPATCHED FIGHTING SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT TO EUROPEAN WATERS. SIMULTANEOUSLY IT BEGAN THE ORGANIZATION OF CONVOYS FORHUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF TROOPS TO UNDERTAKE THE TREMENDOUS WORK OF ORGANIZING THE AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES.GENERAL PERSHING LANDED IN FRANCE ON 13 JUNE 1917.

BEGINNING ON 21 MARCH 1918, THE GERMAN ARMIES LAUNCHED A SERIES OF POWERFUL ATTACKS ON THE WESTERN FRONT. ON THATDATE THERE WERE ONLY 300,000 AMERICAN SOLDIERS IN FRANCE MOST OF THEM BUT PARTIALLY TRAINED. THE FIRST OFFENSIVE ACTION BY A U.S. DIVISION CAME ON 28 MAY WHEN CANTIGNY WAS ATTACKED AND HELD DESPITE VIOLENT ENEMY REACTION.

SIMULTANEOUSLY THE GERMANS SURGED ACROSS THE AISNE RIVER AND ADVANCED RAPIDLY TOWARD THE MARNE. U.S. REINFORCEMENTSHURRIEDLY BROUGHT INTO POSITIONS DIRECTLY ACROSS THE GERMAN PATH OF ADVANCE TOWARD PARIS, STOPPED THE ATTACK THEN ON 6 JUNE, U.S. TROOPS, INCLUDING A BRIGADE OF MARINES, STRUCK BACK AND IN FIERCE COMBAT LASTING A MONTH RECAPTUREDBELLEAU WOOD AND THE TOWN OF VAUX. THE LAST GREAT ERMAN OFFENSIVE OF THE WAR CAME ON 15 JULY ALONG THE MARNE EAST OFCHATEAU THIERRY. IT WAS PROMPTLY REPULSED IN A SEVERE STRUGGLE IN WHICH AMERICAN TROOPS PLAYED A LEADING PART.THE IMMEDIATE U.S. FRENCH COUNTERATTACK ON 18 JULY AT SOISSONS MARKED THE TURNING POINT OF THE WAR.

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0000500/00642_0000009570 (added ca. 2006)


THEREUPON, THE U.S. FIRST ARMY WAS ORGANIZED AS A SEPARATE AND DISTINCT AMERICAN ARMY WITH ITS OWN ASSIGNEDSECTOR. AS GENERAL PERSHING HAD INSISTED FROM THE BEGINNING. UNDER HIS COMMAND ON 12 SEPTEMBER, IT ASSAULTEDTHE ST. MIHIEL SALIENT WHICH HAD WITHSTOOD ALL ATTACKS FOR 4 YEARS. BY 16 SEPTEMBER THE SALIENT WAS ELIMINATED.TEN DAYS LATER, THE FIRST ARMY LAUNCHED THE MEUSE-ARGONNE OFFENSIVE SUDDENLY CONCEIVED, HURRIED IN PLAN ANDPREPARATION AND BRILLIANTLY EXECUTED, THIS BATTLE, IN WHICH OVER 1,000,000 AMERICAN SOLDIERS FOUGHTSTANDS OUT AS ONE OF THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS IN THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN ARMS.

DURING OCTOBER ALSO U.S. TROOPS HAD SEIZED BLANC MONT RIDGE AND GENERAL PERSHING HAD ORGANIZED THE U.S.SECOND ARMY, WHICH ENTERED THE LINE ON THE RIGHT OF THE FIRST. ON OTHER BATTLEFIELDS, AMERICANS SERVING WITHTHE BRITISH ARMIES HAD ATTACKED IN AUGUST NEAR YPRES, BELGIUM AND HAD TAKEN PART IN THE SOMME OFFENSIVE. IN SEPTEMBER,NEAR ST. QUENTIN, THEY HAD BROKEN THROUGH THE HINDENBURG LINE. DURING OCTOBER, THEIR ADVANCE CONTINUED, AND NOVEMBER SAW U.S. UNITS ADVANCING FURTHER INTO BELGIUM ELSEWHERE. AMERICANS SERVED WITH DISTINCTIONIN ITALY, NORTHERN RUSSIA, AND SIBERIA.

DURING THE WAR THE AIR SERVICE WAS EXPANDED INTO A STRIKING FORCE WHICH SUPPORTED THE GROUND TROOPSAND GAVE PROMISE OF THE VITAL ROLE THAT OUR AIR FORCES WOULD PLAY IN THE FUTURE. AT THE SIGNING OF THEARMISTICE ON 11 NOVEMBER 1918, MORE THAN 2,000,000 AMERICANS WERE SERVING IN EUROPE, EITHER WITH THE COMBATFORCES OR IN THE SERVICES OF SUPPLY SHOSE UNHERALDED WORK MADE POSSIBLE THE BRILLIANTACHIEVEMENTS OF THE ARMIES IN THE FIELD.

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0000500/00642_0000009580 (added ca. 2006)


DURING SEPTEMBER 1918 THE ALLIED FORCES LAUNCHED A GENERAL OFFENSIVE ON THE WESTERN FRONT. IN THIS OPERATION THEU.S. FIRST ARMY WAS ASSIGNED THE TASK OF BREAKING THROUGH THE EXTREMELY STRONG AND VITAL DEFENSIVE SYSTEMBETWEEN THE MEUSE RIVER AND THE ARGONNE FOREST. THE ATTACK STARTED ON 26 SEPTEMBER AND AFTER TWO DAYS OF INTENSE FIGHTINGTHE DOMINATING HILL OF MONTEAUGON WAS CAPTURED. THE GERMAN TROOPS STUBBORNLY DEFENDED EACH POSITION BUT BY 30SEPTEMBER HAD BEEN DRIVEN BACK SIX MILES.

ON 4 OCTOBER, THE ASSAULT WAS RENEWED. THE RESISTANCE ENCOUNTERED WAS DESPERATE WITH THE ENEMY RAPIDLY POURINGIN MORE DIVISIONS FROM OTHER BATTLE FRONTS. THOUGH SUBJECTED TO FURIOUS COUNTERATTACKS, THE ADVANCECONTINUED RELENTLESSLY. ON THE LEFT FLANK A BRILLIANT ATTACK IN THE AIRE VALLEY MADE POSSIBLE THE CAPTURE OF THEARGONNE FOREST. ON THE RIGHT U.S. AND FRENCH TROOPS CROSSED THE MEUSE WHERE SEVERE FIGHTING ENSURED FOR POSSESSIONOF THE HEIGHTS BEYOND. ANOTHER ASSAULT ON 14 OCTOBER DEVELOPED INTO A PROLONGED STRUGGLE AGAINST VIOLENTRESISTANCE BUT THESE ATTACKS, NEAR CUNEL AND ROMAGNE, BROKE THROUGH THE GERMAN MAIN LINE OF DEFENSE AND PENETRATEDTHAT LINE BYOND THE VILLAGES OF ST. JUVIN AND GRANDPRE.

THE LAST GREAT OFFENSIVE BEGAN ON 1 NOVEMBER WITH THE CAPTURE OF THE FORMIDABLE POSITION OF BARRICOURT HEIGHTS.THREE DAYS LATER THE ENEMY WAS IN FULL RETREAT WEST OF THE MEUSE, CONTINUOUSLY PURSUED ON BOTH SIDES OF THE RIVER. THESESUCCESSES AND THOSE OF OUR ALLIES COMPELLED THE GERMANS TO ASK FOR AN IMMEDIATE ARMISTICE WHICH BECAME EFFECTIVE11 NOVEMBER 1918.

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0000500/00642_0000009590 (added ca. 2006)

More Info
See
James M. Goode's
'Washington Sculpture' (hardcover p 459 Item #10.11; Pennsylvania Avenue area)

Medium: Bronze
Artist: Robert Winthrop White
Related subjects: World War I; John Pershing Black Jack
Location: E & 14th Sts NW (N of E, W of 14th - SE corner Pershing Park) Washington, D.C.
See Pennsylvania Avenue area in James Goode's Washington Sculpture
Nearest Metro: Federal Triangle (Orange - Blue - Silver) (click station name for all sculptures nearby)
Smithsonian American Art Museum's Art Inventories Catalog: Control number DC000211 (dcMem ID #642 )

Links & other sources
ADC Greater Washington, DC Street Map Book (28)
'Who is That Man Anyway?' on Pershing (90)
Wikipedia article on Pershing

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