A Thank You Note from John J. Pershing

After the park board named a new park and playground in southwest Minneapolis, Pershing Field, December 5, 1922, it received a thank you note from the man it was named for — Gen. John J. Pershing.

A thank-you note from General John J. Pershing to the park board for naming Pershing Field for him. (Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board)

I have a low resolution photocopy of the letter, which is in the display case in the commissioners room at park board headquarters, and I sent a scan of it to the two people who were the first to answer a question I posed in a posting earlier this week. But it’s so cool I thought everyone should see it.

One of the people I sent it to, Don Lehnhoff, provided this additional information on the letter — which makes it even cooler.

Thanks, Dave. That is very cool. I couldn’t help noticing the letterhead and, having once been an Army draftee myself, was trying to remember the significance. I was thinking of “General of the Army” (singular) which is a 5-star general … I believe there’s only one of those at any given time, and usually only during wartime. If Wikipedia is to be trusted, the Pershing rank of “General of the Armies” has only been conferred twice in history:

“Pershing is the only person to be promoted in his own lifetime to the highest rank ever held in the United States Army—General of the Armies  (a retroactive Congressional edict passed in 1976 promoted George Washington to the same rank but with higher seniority.)” Pershing holds the first United States officer service number (O-1).

That’s pretty serious stuff, and puts him in pretty rarefied company … Pershing and G. Washington. Any way … many thanks for sharing that.

Thank you, Don.

David C. Smith   minneapolisparkhistory[at]q.com

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