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Joseph Stilwell
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Military Personnel
    (March 19, 1883-October 12, 1946)
    Born in Palatka, Florida
    Four-star US general
    Commander of the China-Burma-India Theater in World War II (1942-44)
    He missed the deadline for appointment to West Point, but gained entry thanks to family connections who knew President William McKinley.
    He was nicknamed 'Vinegar Joe' for his caustic personality.
    He clashed repeatedly with Chiang Kai-Shek, who he called 'Peanut,' and the British, who he referred to as Limeys.
    As large numbers of his forces became ill during the siege of Myitkyina, he reportedly sent back into combat any soldier with a temperature less than 103 degree Fahrenheit.
    When he was relieved of his command in China, he did not meet his replacement, General Albert Wedemeyer, or even leave him any briefing papers.
    He organized and coached West Point's first varsity basketball team.
    He won the Distinguished Service Medal for his actions in France during World War I.
    He arrived in Burma just as Allied defenses were collapsing and led his staff of 117 on a 140 mile march through the jungle to safety in India.
    Afterwards he said, 'We got run out of Burma and it is humiliating as hell. I think we ought to find out what caused it, go back and retake it.'
    He was known for his disdain of pomp and ceremony, usually wearing a plain service uniform with no rank insignia.
    He said of his conflicts with Chiang Kai-Shek, 'The trouble was largely one of posture. I tried to stand on my feet instead of my knees. I did not think the knee position was a suitable one for Americans.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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