Following an assignment as liaison officer with Fifth Army, he became the assistant division commander of the 4th Infantry, the unit he led ashore at Utah Beach on D-Day. Credited with leading several units across the beach and maintaining the momentum of the landing, Roosevelt was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
On July 12, 1944, Roosevelt was given command of the 90th Division. He died later that night of a heart attack, at the age of 57. The 90th Division had already witnessed three commanders being relieved, and this incident reinforced the unit’s image as a hard luck division.
Roosevelt was buried at Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy. The body of his brother Quinten, who had been killed in World War I, was exhumed from the cemetery at Chateau-Thierry and reinterred next to Roosevelt.
General George S. Patton Jr., died quietly in his sleep on December 21, 1945, from complications from an automobile accident near Mannheim, Germany, on December 9. It is ironic that a man who led such a stormy, albeit glorious, career, constantly in combat when given the opportunity, should so quietly leave the stage. It seems as if Patton spent nearly as much time in hot water as he did in battle. Few have ever argued with his military genius, but his brashness and outspoken attitudes and opinions were constant thorns in the side of Generals Eisenhower and Bradley.
Patton had been commissioned into the horse cavalry and served under General John J. Pershing in World War I. He remained committed to armor throughout his career. His last command was Third Army, which he led into Germany and also into Czechoslovakia.
This article is from WWII History Magazine.
This article first appeared at the Warfare History Network.