While he may not have the fame that other military leaders such as General Patton or MacArthur, General Fox Conner was among the greatest military minds of all time. By all rights, General Conner should be lifted to the likes of the famed personalities. In this article, you will surely understand why I say that.
General Fox Conner was born in 1874, and he died in 1951. In many ways, I believe the United States military would not be as mighty as it is if General Fox Conner would not have served.
In today’s post, we are going to talk about General Fox Conner and 10 cool facts about him. Scroll down and learn about the General of all Generals.
As I had mentioned earlier, Fox Conner was born in Slate Springs, Mississippi. As many people know, there have been a number of famous people from Mississippi, and the Mississippi Hall of Fame has pictures and mementos of people like:
Confederate President: Jefferson Davis
In 1987, the Hall inducted another person who deserves his place there…. General Fox Conner.
2: The General’s Father.
Fox Conner was raised understanding something about military. Fox’s Father fought for the Confederate Army and at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862, Conner’s Dad lost his eyesight. He never saw the son that would one day be one of the United State’s greatest Generals.
There is no written account as to how Fox’s Father reacted when his son asked for his Father’s blessings when he mentioned joining the Army. We can only imagine, and we are glad his Father allowed the young man to join.
3: Fox the Teacher.
After Fox Conner graduated from the Army Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, he was given an assignment of teaching at the new Army War College from 1907 until 1911. The Army War College was new and was located in what is now called Roosevelt Hall in Washington D.C.
Conner felt much stress from being a teacher, but many of his students went on to become top rated military leaders.
4: Fox Parle Français.
The United States often has exchange students, in 1911 the Army was using an exchange system. Fox Conner was sent to France as an exchange officer. He was assigned to the 22nd Field Artillery of the French Army. In this position, Conner learned a wide range of military tactics and observed the French in drills and maneuvers. He learned the French language and often “picked the brains” of French Officers.
5: Chief of G3.
Upon entering World War I, General Pershing realized that Fox Conner was a true leader who could be instrumental in United State’s victory. He was first made assistant Chief of G3 for the American Expeditionary Force.
Conner’s immense education, knowledge and common sense made him a very valuable asset. Because American manufacturers could not supply enough arms, the Americans had to use many French made weapons. Since Fox had served as a French officer, he was able to train soldiers in the proper methods of using these arms.
Conner also showed skillful tactics in organizing the AEF and he also predicted the German offensive move in the Meuse-Argonne. It is doubtful any other military mind would have predicted that move, and with Conner foreseeing it, the forces were able to prepare.
6: Commander Over Dwight Eisenhower.
When World War I ended, Conner was given command over the 20th Infantry Brigade in the Canal Zone of Panama. In 1922, a young Major by the name of Dwight Eisenhower was sent to Panama under Conner’s command.
Fox Conner saw great things in the Major that was put beneath him. Conner ordered Eisenhower to read books on military history. Some of the books that our future President had to read were:
Napoleon As A General by York Von Wartenburg
On War by Carl Von Clausewitz
American Campaigns by Matthew Forney Steele
7: 3 Rules of War.
General Fox Conner had 3 Principals or Rules of War that he would give each and every one of his students. I believe all 3 of these should always be brandished in the minds of all military leaders. They are:
Never fight unless you have to.
Never fight alone.
Never fight for long.
8: The Mentor.
I mentioned briefly how Fox Conner has helped other military leaders, but to go into a bit more depth, we can claim that Fox Conner was the King of mentorship. He mentored many, but we will just name 3 here:
George Patton: The older Conner met the younger Patton on a train. From then on, Patton often consulted Fox Conner on all things military. Yes, Conner helped build Patton into the great he was. Would we have tanks if Conner would not had pushed Patton into the idea of these tracked fighting vehicles?
George Marshall: It was Conner’s word that brought Marshall to the AEF in France during World War I. Conner guided Marshall through and helped to build another great military leader.
Dwight Eisenhower: I spoke earlier about Conner mentoring a young Eisenhower. I honestly believe that General Fox Conner mentored Eisenhower straight into the White House.
General Fox Conner had an array of military honors and awards. These are some of his awards:
The Distinguished Service Medal
The Purple Heart
The Spanish War Service Medal
The Cuban Occupation Medal
The Victory Medal
Order of the Bath (knighthood)
French Legion of Honor
Belgian Order of the Crown
French Croix de Guerre
10: Conner Predicted World War II.
When an armistice was called for between Germany and the U.S. and allies in World War I, Fox Conner claimed that unless we completely demolish German forces instead of allowing them to carry themselves with pride back to Germany, they will arise again. Both Conner and Pershing stated that German military leaders would claim that they had essentially won, and that is what happened. Several years later, Adolf Hitler used this to create a Nazi chaos.
Fox Conner may not have had the charisma that other military minds have had, and that is probably why we do not hear as much about him, but I would venture to say that if the United State’s military would not have had Fox Conner, our military would be very different, and our country would be too.
I would like to hear your thoughts on the great General Fox Conner. Please provide them below. If he is not someone you are familiar with, I suggest you read more about this great leader. It is by his mentoring that we ended up with other great military minds.
Now here is a video of Major Edward Cox who wrote Grey Eminence: Fox Conner and the Art of Mentorship.