who was america's only six star general?

19 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    In 1976, Congress posthumously promoted George Washington to the rank of six-star General of the Armies, assuring that he would continue to outrank all other members of the military, now and in the future. But I guess they forgot about General John J. Pershing who Congress also promoted to the six star General of the Armies rank in 1919.

    My sources include the U.S. National Archives web site, the U.S. State Department web site, the U.S. Army Center of Military History web site and the U.S. Library of Congress web site. See the links below.


    Pershing was authorized to create his insignia for the new rank but chose to wear four gold stars for the rest of his career. Four star generals normally wear four silver stars. And since Washington was dead, he did not need any rank insignia.

  • 1 decade ago

    No such thing as a 6 star General.

    Since the British promotion of Montgomery to outrank Eisenhower was the trigger to resurrecting the five star plan, Congress had to expand the five star rank beyond the Chiefs of Staff to include the three major theater commanders, MacArthur, Nimitz, and Eisenhower. The promotion list and dates of elevation, as passed by congress, read as follows:

    Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy: December 15, 1944

    General of the Army George C. Marshall: December 16, 1944

    Fleet Admiral Earnest J. King: December 17, 1944

    General of the Army Douglas MacArthur: December 18, 1944

    Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz: December 19, 1944

    General of the Army: Dwight D. Eisenhower: December 20, 1944

    General of the Army Henry H. Arnold: December 21, 1944

    So it was that Ike received the fifth star. It placed him among the nation’s most distinguished military officers, along with George Washington, the highest ranking officer in American history, whose title is forever General of the Armies.

    Source(s): The temporary grade of "General of the Army" (five-star) was provided for by Public Law 482, 78th Congress, approved December 14, 1944, and became permanent on March 23, 1946, under provisions of Public Law 333, 79th Congress.
  • 1 decade ago

    A six star General is known as General of the Armies of the United States. The rank has been awarded only twice in the History of the United States.

    1919 - General John(Black Jack) Pershing was awarded the rank due to his great leadership of all

    allied ground forces in Europe during WWI.

    In 1976, Congress and President Ford posthumously awarded General George Washington the rank of General of the Armies of the United States.

  • 1 decade ago

    It never existed. Arguments can be made for George Washington, MacArthur or Pershing due to special circumstances and proposals.. But the fact is that none ever wore six stars or had a the rank of a "six star general."

    If I had to pick someone I would say George Washington, because by law no one could ever outrank him. But that doesn't necessarily mean a six star general rank.

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  • 1 decade ago

    No such animal!!! George Washington and John J. Pershing were appointed positions that would make them the most senior ranking American General Officers, however no rank device has ever existed for those positions. There is no such thing as a six star device!

  • 1 decade ago

    Caution is absolutely correct. The highest obtainable rank in the US Military is 5 star General, General Of The Armies. 6 Star was awarded one time in US history, and only after he died. General George Washington, and the promotion was in 1976.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    There has never been a 6-star General. The idea of a 6-star General was brought up during the World Wars, and was almost given to Nimitz and MacArthur, but it was never implemented. An equivalent rank for the Navy was awarded to Adm. Dewey, but it wasn't a 6-star rank technically. Also, the equivalent rank was bestowed on Gen. Washington upon his death, but again, there weren't 6-stars, and it was posthumous.

    Source(s): Substantial knowledge of military history.
  • 1 decade ago

    George Washington

    He was given the rank posthumously in order to ensure that no one will ever be of greater rank than him since we have five-star generals for special circumstances.

    A five-star general is known as a General of the Army.

    A six-star general is called General of the Armies.

    Source(s): 3 yrs and counting - US Army We had to know that when I was in RSP Public Law 94-479 January 19, 1976
  • 1 decade ago

    Technically, no one. Pershing was promoted to the rank of "General of the Armies" in 1919, but actually wore 4 stars in gold (as opposed to the standard silver). Washington was appointed to this same rank during the 1976 bicentennial celebration. A 6-star insignia was designed (the 5-star insignia with another star in the middle), but it was never actually implemented.

  • 1 decade ago

    This almost occurred with Douglas MacArthur

    When the five-star General of the Army rank was created, Secretary of War Stimson was asked whether Pershing was a six-star general. Stimson stated that as Pershing was no longer active in the military and had never worn more than four General's stars, he should not be seen as holding six-star rank.

    However, it has been speculated that if the United States ever created a six-star rank, it might be called General of the Armies. This almost occurred with Douglas MacArthur.

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