Last Known Activity|
This is to Certify that
The President of the United States of America
Takes Pride in Presenting
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS
March, Peyton C.
First Lieutenant , U.S. Army, Astor Battery, Date of Action: August 13, 1898
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Peyton C. March, First Lieutenant , U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action before Manila, Philippine Islands , August 13, 1898 . Lieutenant March gallantly led a charge on the enemy's breastworks, volunteers having been called for by the brigadier general commanding. General Orders No. No. 39, W.D., 1920
March was the son of Francis Andrew March, considered the principal founder of modern comparative linguistics in Anglo-Saxon and one of the first professors to advocate and teach English in colleges and universities. Peyton March attended Lafayette College, where his father occupied the first chair of English language and comparative philology in the United States. In 1884, he was appointed to West Point and graduated in 1888. He was assigned to the 3rd Artillery.
He married Josephine Smith Cunningham (d. 1904) in 1891. They had a son, Peyton, Jr. (b. 1896), who was killed in a plane crash during WWI.
In 1894, March was assigned to the 5th Artillery and promoted to 1st lieutenant. He was sent to the Artillery School in 1896. He organized the Astor Battery and was sent to the Philippines in the Spanish-American War. In 1899, March was the aide to Gen. Arthur MacArthur, Jr.. Later that year he was promoted to major. He continued to serve in the Philippines, and was a provincial governor and commissary of prisoners.
In 1903 he was sent to Fort Riley and commanded the 19th Battery of the field artillery. Later that year he was sent to Washington, D.C. and served on the newly created General Staff.
In 1904-1905, March was one of several American military attachés serving with the Japanese army in the Russo-Japanese War. He would become one of eight observers who were later promoted to the rank of General in the U.S. Army.
In 1907, March commanded the 1st Artillery Battalion, 6th Field Artillery. March then served as adjutant of Fort Riley, then served as adjutant at several other commands, including at the War Department.
In 1916, he was promoted to colonel and commanded the 8th Field Artillery on the Mexican border.
During World War I, March was promoted to brigadier general and commanded the 1st Field Artillery Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, American Expeditionary Forces. Later that year, he was promoted to major general and commanded the artillery units of the U.S. First Army and all non-divisional artillery units.
In March 1918, he was recalled to Washington, took over as acting Army Chief of Staff on March 4 and was Army Chief of Staff on May 20, 1918. He was promoted to temporary general.
March was highly critical of President Wilson's decision to send an American Expedition to North Russia and Siberia in 1918 The so-called Siberian Intervention ) ostensibly to prop-up the Russian war effort, secure the railroads, support the Czech Legion trapped there, and stop the Japanese from exploiting the chaos in order to colonize Siberia. March wrote after the pull-out of American forces in 1920:
||The sending of this expedition was the last occasion in which the president reversed the recommendation of the War Department during my service as Chief of Staff of the Army... almost immediately after the Siberian and North Russian forces had reached their theaters of operations, events moved rapidly and uniformly in the direction of complete failure of these expeditions to accomplish anything that their sponsors had claimed for them.
He served as Chief of Staff until June 30, 1921. As Chief of Staff he reorganized the Army structure, and abolished the distinctions between the Regular Army, the Army Reserves, and the National Guard during war time. He created new technical branches in the service including the Air Corps, Chemical Warfare Corps, Transportation Corps, and Tank Corps. He also centralized control over supply. After the war ended, he supervised the demobilization of the Army. As Chief of Staff he often came into disagreement with Gen. John J. Pershing, who wanted to conduct the AEF as an independent command.
March retired as a major general in 1921. In 1923, he married Cora V. McEntee.
In June 1930, March was advanced to general on the retired list.
March died on April 13, 1955 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
March was a highly efficient and capable administrator who did much to modernize the American Army and prepare it for combat in the First World War.
Awards and decorations
- Distinguished Service Cross
- Distinguished Service Medal
- Silver Star with four Oak Leaf Clusters
- Mexican Border Service Medal
- Philippine Campaign Medal
- World War I Victory Medal
- Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (UK)
- Grand Officier Légion d'honneur (France)
- Grand Cross Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (Italy)
- Grand Cordon Order of the Rising Sun (Japan)
- Grand Cross Order of George I (Greece)
- Grand Cordon Order of the Crown (Belgium)
- Polonia Restituta 1st Class (Poland)
- War Cross (Czechoslovakia)
Peyton Conway March (born December 27, 1864 in Easton, Pennsylvania - April 13, 1955) was an American soldier and Army Chief of Staff.