Truscott, Lucian King Jr., born 09-01-1895 in Chatfield, Texas, to an English father and Irish mother, and joined the Army in 1917. After officer training, he was commissioned a second lieutenant of cavalry and served in various cavalry and staff assignments between World War I and World War II. In 1942, then-Colonel Truscott was instrumental in developing an American commando unit patterned after the British Commando units. The American unit was activated by newly promoted Brigadier General Truscott on 19-06-1942 as the 1st Ranger Battalion and placed under the command of William Orlando Darby
. On 08-11-1942, as a Major General, he led the 9,000 men of the 60th Infantry Regiment and 66th Armored Regiment in the landings at Mehdia and Port Lyautey in Morocco, part of Operation Torch under General George Smith Patton. Truscott took command of the 3rd Infantry Division, nickname “The Rock of Marne” in April 1943 and oversaw preparations for the invasion of Sicily, Operation Husky. Elements of the 3th Infantry Regiment serving under the 3rd Infantry Division had the honor of capturing Hitler’s retreat at Berchtesgaden.
The 3rd Infantry Division suffered the highest casualty rate of any American Division in World War II. Its exploits are aptly illustrated by its Medal of Honor recipient Audie Murphy
During their European campaign they had the next causalities, 4.922 were killed in action, and 18.766 wounded with a further 636 who died of wounds. Truscott was known as a very tough trainer, bringing the 3rd Infantry Division up to a very high standard. He led the division in the assault on Sicily in July 1943. Here his training paid off when the Division covered great distances in the mountainous terrain at high speed. The famous “Truscott trot” was a marching pace of five miles per hour over the first mile, thence four miles per hour, much faster than the usual standard of 2.5 miles per hour. The 3rd Infantry Division was considered by many the best-trained, best-led division in the Seventh Army. In mid-September 1943, nine days after the initial Allied landings, he led the division ashore at Salerno on the Italian mainland, where it fought its way up the peninsula. Truscott’s next command came in December 1944. He was promoted to command of the U.S. Fifth Army in Italy when its commander Lieutenant General Mark Clark was made commander of 15th Army Group . Truscott led the Army through the hard winter of 1944–1945, where many of its formations were in exposed positions in the mountains of Italy. He then led US forces through the final destruction of the German Army in Italy. He succeeded General George Patton as 3rd Army commander and military governor of Bavaria in September 1945. Truscott had a very gravelly voice, said to be the result of an accidental ingestion of acid in childhood. He was superstitious about his clothing, and usually wore a leather jacket, “pink” (light khaki) pants and lucky boots in combat. Truscott here pins the Bronze Star on Captain Richard Wolfer, France, 25-10-1944. He also wore a white scarf as a trademark, first during the Sicilian campaign. Truscott once said to his son, “Let me tell you something, and don’t ever forget it. You play games to win, not lose. And you fight wars to win. That’s spelled W-I-N ! And every good player in a game and every good commander in a war…has to have some son of a bitch in him. If he doesn’t, he isn’t a good player or commander. It’s as simple as that. No son of a bitch, no commander.”
He led battalions, regiments, divisions, corps and armies in combat, interspersed with staff duties where he mixed with the Allies highest commanders (a useful addition that few other generals came close to), and observed his seniors mistakes. Virtually no other major American commander had half the practice and experience he did. In fact, as an all round performer, Lucian Truscott (Jr) was certainly one of the top ten generals on the Allied side, and possibly the best American General of the war.
Death and burial ground of Truscott, Lucian King Jr..
General Truscott died 12-09-1965, age 70, in Alexandria, Virginia and is buried with his wife Sarah, born Randolph, who died age 74, on 17-08-1971, on Arlington National Cemetery, Section 1.