November 19, 2008
The second version of General of the Army was created by Pub.L. 78-482 passed on 14 December 1944, first as a temporary rank, then made permanent 23 March 1946 by an act of the 79th Congress. It was created to give the most senior American commanders parity of rank with their British counterparts holding the rank of Field Marshal. The acts also created a comparable rank of Fleet Admiral for the Navy. This second General of the Army rank is not considered comparable to the American Civil War era version.The insignia for General of the Army, as created in 1944, consisted of five stars in a pentagonal pattern, with points touching. The five officers who have held the 1944 version of General of the Army were:
• George Marshall 16 December 1944
• Douglas MacArthur 18 December 1944
• Dwight D. Eisenhower 20 December 1944
• Henry H. Arnold 21 December 1944
• Omar Bradley 20 September 1950
The timing of the first four appointments was coordinated with the appointment of the U.S. Navy's five-star Fleet Admirals (on 15, 17, and 19 December 1944) to establish both a clear order of seniority and a near-equivalence between the services.
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