Devers, Jacob Loucks, GEN

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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
00GC-Commanding General
Last MOS Group
General Officer
Primary Unit
1946-1949, Army Ground Forces
Service Years
1909 - 1949
Official/Unofficial US Army Certificates
Presidential Certificate of Appreciation



Six Overseas Service Bars

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Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Devers, Jacob Loucks, GEN USA(Ret).
Contact Info
Home Town
York, PA
Last Address
York, PA

Date of Passing
Oct 15, 1979
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 1, Lot 149-F, Grid MN-33/34

 Official Badges 

US European Command Allied Forces Central US Army Retired US Army Retired (Pre-2007)

Meritorious Unit Commendation 1944-1961 French Fourragere

 Unofficial Badges 

Artillery Shoulder Cord Honorable Order of Saint Barbara

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

General Jacob "Jake" Loucks Devers (September 8, 1887 - October 15, 1979), commander of the 6th Army Group in Europe during World War II. He was the first United States military officer to reach the Rhine after D-Day.



Devers was born in York, Pennsylvania. He graduated 39th out of 103 graduates from the United States Military Academy in 1909. Some of his classmates were George S. Patton (46), John C. H. Lee (12), Robert L. Eichelberger (68), Edwin F. Harding (74), and William H. Simpson (101). Much of his energy between the world wars was spent in the tactical and technical improvement of his branch, the Field Artillery.

At the outbreak of World War II in Europe, Devers was serving in Panama. He then commanded the 9th Infantry Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina from November 15, 1940 to July 15, 1941. On August 14, 1941 Devers, the youngest major general in the Army's land forces, was posted to Fort Knox, Kentucky to head the Armored Force. During his command, Fort Knox grew from two armored divisions to 16 divisions and 63 separate tank battalions. In May 1943, Devers was appointed overall commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe, where, from his London headquarters, he organized and trained many divisions for the cross-channel attack.

In January 1944 Devers had become Commanding General North African Theater of Operations, U.S. Army and also Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater under General Sir Maitland Wilson.

When the Allied landings in Southern France took place in August 1944 (
Operation Dragoon) Devers formed a special headquarters in Corsica to oversee the Franco-American forces commanded by Lieutenant General Alexander M. Patch.

As the ground forces built up in southern France
French Army B headquarters was activated alongside Patch's 7th Army and Devers' headquarters became that of an army group subordinated to Wilson's theater H.Q.. It was officially designated 6th Army Group once his forces had advanced to link with the Allied advance in northwest Europe and had become subordinate to Dwight Eisenhower's Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF).

With his twelve American and eleven
French divisions, Devers cleared Alsace, reduced the Colmar Pocket, crossed the Rhine River and accepted the surrender of German forces in western Austria on May 6, 1945.

General Devers was a highly competent and consummate professional in an exemplary career that spanned more than thirty-five years. He was promoted to brigadier general in May 1940, major general in October 1940, lieutenant general in September 1942 and general on March 8, 1945. He retired on September 30, 1949. He died in 1979 in Washington, D.C. and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Other Comments:
On 4 August 1941, Major General Jacob L. Devers, then the youngest Major General in the Army's land forces, assumed command of the Armored Force at Fort Knox. He succeeded Major General Adna R. Chaffee, whom he named "The Father of the American Armored Force."

Continuing the ground work of General Chaffee, General Devers brought with him a fresh concept of organization and operations, and his assignment was not based simply on his availability at the time. He had been selected personally by General George C. Marshall, Army Chief of Staff, who wanted to place an expert in firepower in control of the emerging, highly mechanized, and mobile tank force.

General Devers' boundless energy coupled with a keen mind and outstanding organizational ability proved equal to the task of developing and expanding the Armored Force far beyond he concepts of the initial planners. During his command, Fort Knox and Armor grew from a struggling force of two armored divisions, fashioned from extant Organizations throughout the Army, to a formidable force of 16 divisions and 63 separate tank battalions.

One of General Devers' organizational innovations at Fort Knox was the addition of light aircraft to armored field artillery battalions to increase the mobility of firepower of the armored division artillery. In later years, as Commander, Army Ground Forces, he continued his pioneering in force development when he directed the development and organization of helicopter-borne units in the post-World War II Army.

When expansion of the force made it impractical to continue control from Fort Knox, General Devers was reassigned and command and control passed to the respective army and corps in which the units were located.

General Devers had done his task well, his guidance and leadership had met the challenge. His next assignment was to prepare the United States Forces for the invasion of the European continent and he departed for England to establish the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe.

General Devers' earlier service following his graduation from the U .S. Military Academy in 1909 and commissioning as a Second Lieutenant of field artillery, included assignments in Hawaii, France, and Germany during the early 1900s. He subsequently was graduated from the Command and General Staff College and the Army War College and continued his service with artillery units in the United States until 1939, when he became Chief of Staff of the Panama Canal Department. Following that assignment and his service at Fort Knox, General Devers served successively as Commander of U.S. Forces in the European Theater of Operations and North African Theater of Operations. He was later Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Allied Force Headquarters, and Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater of Operations. He also commanded the 6th and 12th Army Groups, and following World War II, he was named Commander of the Army Ground Forces.

General Devers retired in September 1949 and made his home in the Washington, D.C., area until his death on 15 October 1979. Interment was in Arlington National Cemetery on 19 October 1979.


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 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1905, US Military Academy (West Point, NY), A
 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
4th Field Artillery BattalionHawaiian CommandCommand and General Staff College (CGSC) CourseArmy War College (Staff)
United States Military Academy West Point (Staff)Panama Canal Department9th Infantry DivisionUS Army Armor Center and School (Cadre) Fort Knox, KY
HQ European Theater of Operations, United States Army (ETOUSA)Allied Forces Southern Europe (AFSE), Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE)6th Army GroupArmy Ground Forces
  1910-1911, 1193, HHB, 4th Field Artillery Battalion
  1911-1913, Hawaiian Command
  1924-1925, Command and General Staff College (CGSC) Course
  1930-1931, Army War College (Staff)
  1936-1939, 2728, United States Military Academy West Point (Staff)
  1939-1941, Panama Canal Department
  1940-1941, 9th Infantry Division
  1941-1943, US Army Armor Center and School (Cadre) Fort Knox, KY
  1941-1943, HHC, US Army Armor Center and School (Cadre) Fort Knox, KY
  1943-1943, HQ European Theater of Operations, United States Army (ETOUSA)
  1944-1944, 00GD, Allied Forces Southern Europe (AFSE), Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE)
  1944-1945, 6th Army Group
  1946-1949, Army Ground Forces
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1921-1923 Occupation of Germany, 1919 to 1923
  1944-1944 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Northern France Campaign (1944)
  1944-1944 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Southern France Campaign (1944)
  1944-1944 Southern France Campaign (1944)/Operation Dragoon
  1944-1945 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Ardennes Alsace Campaign (1944-45)
  1945-1945 Rhineland Campaign (1944-45)/The Colmar Pocket
  1945-1945 Rhineland Campaign (1944-45)/Advance to the Rhine
  1945-1945 WWII - European-African-Middle Eastern Theater/Central Europe Campaign (1945)
  1945-1945 Central Europe Campaign (1945)/Victory in Europe Day (VE Day - 8May45)
  1945-1946 US Occupation of Germany (WWII)
 Colleges Attended 
United States Military Academy
  1905-1909, United States Military Academy
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