Gruenther, Alfred M.


Eisenhower protege, military planner of North Africa and Italy invasions, led NATO 1953-56


Autograph ID: 5613
Condition: Very good, very slight bends at left and bottom sides
Description: “("The Brain", 1899-1983) Army General, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe/ Commander-in-Chief, US European Command 1953-56. He was Chief of Staff of the Third Army, Fifth Army, Fifteenth Army Group, principal US planner of the Allied invasions of North Africa (1942) & Italy (1943). Promoted to temporary rank of Major General, became Deputy Commander of US Forces in Austria 1945. Eisenhower called him "one of the ablest all-around officers, civilian or military, I have encountered." American Red Cross President 1957-64. USMA 1918, commissioned 2nd lieutenant of field artillery before WW I ended; it took him 17 years to advance to captain. In 1920, at Fort Knox, Ky., he took up bridge and in the 30's, was an internationally known bridge tournament director, later a bridge-playing companion of General Eisenhower. When teaching mathematics at West Point, he began refereeing some of the great bridge matches of the era, incl. the 1931 Lenz-Culbertson contest. He also wrote a book, "Duplicate Contract Bridge." While Major, he caught the eye of senior officers in large-scale war games in Louisiana 2 months before Pearl Harbor. Promoted to Deputy Chief of Staff (Brigadier General Eisenhower was Chief of Staff) of the Third Army, after the US entered WW II, General Gruenther went to London as chief US planner of the Allied invasion of French North Africa. He was Deputy Chief of Staff under Eisenhower, later Supreme Allied Commander, and Fifth Army Chief of Staff under Mark Clark, planning the invasion of Italy and later campaigns in the Apennines. When Clark took over 15th Army Group, he remained Clark's Chief of Staff before becoming Deputy Commanding General of US forces in Austria. At War's end, he became National War College Deputy Commandant, Staff Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations. He got his 4th star in 1951, youngest in history, as NATO HQ Chief of Staff, serving under Generals Eisenhower & Ridgway before taking over as Commander, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers, Europe (SHAPE)-he never directly commanded a military unit larger than a battalion. NATO military chiefs Ridgway, Gruenther & Norstad, "the Eisenhower dynasty," Shared Ike's views on NATO and had direct access to him after he became President in 1953, making them particularly influential within the Alliance.

Likely War-dated 10 x 8 ISP, US Signal Corps b&w matte finish portrait in uniform as Major General, while 5th Army Chief of Staff (under Mark Clark), inscribed with sentiment and signed as Major General, US Army. Undated but likely 1943-45.”
Type: Photograph

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