Theodore Roosevelt III (September 13, 1887 – July 12, 1944), known as Theodore Roosevelt Jr., was an American government, business, and military leader. He was the eldest son of President Theodore Roosevelt and First Lady Edith Roosevelt. Roosevelt is known for his World War II service, including the directing of troops at Utah Beach during the Normandy landings, for which he received the Medal of Honor.
Roosevelt was educated at private academies and Harvard University; after his 1909 graduation from college, he began a successful career in business and investment banking. Having gained pre-World War I army experience during his attendance at a Citizens’ Military Training Camp, at the start of the war he received a reserve commission as a major. He served primarily with the 1st Division, took part in several engagements including the Battle of Cantigny, and commanded the 26th Infantry Regiment as a lieutenant colonel. After the war, Roosevelt was instrumental in the forming of the American Legion.
In addition to his military and business careers, Roosevelt was active in politics and government. He served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy (1921–1924), Governor of Puerto Rico (1929–1932), and Governor-General of the Philippines (1932–1933). He resumed his business endeavors in the 1930s, and was Chairman of the Board of American Express Company, and Vice-President of Doubleday Books. Roosevelt also remained active as an Army reservist, attending annual training periods at Pine Camp, and completing the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Command and General Staff College, and refresher training for senior officers. He returned to active duty for World War II with the rank of colonel, and commanded the 26th Infantry Regiment. He soon received promotion to brigadier general as assistant division commander of the 1st Infantry Division.
After serving in the Operation Torch landings in North Africa and the Tunisia Campaign, followed by participation in the Allied invasion of Sicily, Roosevelt was assigned as assistant division commander of the 4th Infantry Division. In this role, he led the first wave of troops ashore at Utah Beach during the Normandy landings in June 1944. He died in France of a heart attack the following month; at the time of his death, he had been recommended for the Distinguished Service Cross to recognize his heroism at Normandy. The recommendation was subsequently upgraded, and Roosevelt was a posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor.
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