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Gen. Charles P. Summerall

Summerall received the Legion's Distinguished Service Medal at the 1951 national convention, where the soldier, educator, civic leader and humanitarian was praised for his service as commander of the 67th Field Artillery Brigade of the First Division and of the Fifth Corps in France during World War I.

"He was a front-line general, and for his gallantry in action he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross," Past National Commander Ray Murphy said. "He wears many other decorations, including the Distinguished Service Medal of the United States."

Summerall served as Army chief of staff from 1926 to 1930, and as president of The Citadel for 22 years.

"There can be no finer tribute than the plaudit of the great American Legion, whose members have twice saved our country in war and who stand today as the strongest bulwark of our liberties," he told delegates.

A native of Florida, Summerall spent most of his youth in South Carolina, where he taught for three years. He later attended West Point and embarked on a military career that lasted 38 years until mandatory retirement.

But retirement did not suit him well. In 1931, Summerall became president of The Citadel, the military college of South Carolina. He retired in 1953, at 86. He is credited with expanding the school's enrollment and academic prestige.

A longtime Legionnaire, Summerall died in Washington, D.C., in 1955, at 88. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. In his honor, The Citadel's silent drill team is named the Summerall Guards.

For more on Summerall, click here. (


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