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General Isaac D. White's U.S./Colt M1908 Semi-Automatic General Officer's Pistol
This pistol (SN 135627) was presented to General Isaac D. White, U. S. Army. General White was commander of the Army's 2nd Armored ("Hell on Wheels") Division during the Second World War, and was the commanding general of X Corps in Korea.
General Isaac Davis White was the son of Major General Daniel M. White, a career soldier and veteran of both the Civil War and Spanish-American War. I.D. White was born in Peterborough, New Hampshire on March 6, 1901. He graduated with honors from Norwich University in 1922 and entered the Army as a Second Lieutenant of Cavalry during the following year. While posted to Fort Des Moines, Iowa as an officer with the 14th Cavalry, he met and later married Julia Cotton. Mrs. White later served as a volunteer with the American Red Cross Motor Corps during the Second World War.
Lieutenant White joined the Army's Armored Force at Fort Knox, Kentucky in 1932 as a member of the 7th Cavalry Brigade. Spending much of his professional career as a tanker, he was one of several officers and future generals who helped to develop the potent U.S. Armored Divisions that swept across France and Germany during the Second World War.
After serving as an instructor at the Army's Cavalry School at Fort Riley, Kansas and attending the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Major White was assigned to the newly-organized 2nd Armored ("Hell on Wheels") Division at Fort Benning, Georgia in 1940, where he organized and trained the Division's Reconnaissance Battalion. He served with 2nd Armored in North Africa, Sicily, France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany, eventually reaching the rank of Major General and rising to command of the Division during the Battle of the Bulge.
His earlier promotion to Brigadier General on May 28, 1944 came as a result of a personal recommendation by General George S. Patton, Commander of the U.S. Third Army. General White's wartime service included three amphibious landings, including the Normandy Invasion in June 1944. In April 1945, his troops smashed through Germany's Ruhr Valley, covering 190 miles in 13 days and capturing more than 45,000 Nazi troops. The 2nd Armored Division was the first Allied unit to cross the Elbe River and was only 57 miles from Berlin when the war ended.
During this period, he received his first Distinguished Service Medal for his leadership and determination, which was credited for much of the success achieved by his troops. Between Germany's surrender and the outbreak of war in Korea, General White served as Commandant of the Cavalry School and Ground General School at Fort Riley. During this tour, he revised school curricula to reflect the experience gained during the Second World War. In May 1948, he became Commanding General of the U.S. Constabulary in Germany, where he established a non-commissioned officer's school, and he created the tank training center at Vilseck, Germany.
Both of these served as models for similar schools throughout the armed services. He returned to the United States as Commanding General of the Armored Center and Commandant of the Armored School at Fort Knox, Kentucky. His extensive experience in armor qualified him to serve as a senior advisor to the Army's Chief of Staff, during which time he was able to speed design, manufacture, and procurement of new armored weapons for use in Korea. In addition to these professional duties, General White, an outstanding horseman and polo player from his college days, served as manager of the Army's Equestrian Team that competed in the 1948 Olympic Games in London, England.
In 1952, Lieutenant General White took command of the X Corps in Korea. In addition to his duties as a combat commander, he also trained four divisions of the Republic of Korea Army and organized a Korean corps headquarters. These accomplishments resulted in the award of an Oak Leaf Cluster to his Distinguished Service Medal and the Korean Order of Military Merit Taeguk. After the truce, he returned to Fort Sam Houston as Commanding General, Fourth Army.
In 1955, he received his fourth star and was again assigned to Korea and command of Army Forces Far East, the U.S. Eighth Army, and United Nations troops on the Korean peninsula. His final duty assignment was as commander of all U.S. Army forces in the Pacific. General White retired from the Army in 1961.
During his 38-year career, he served extensively as a troop commander, from his earliest days as a platoon leader to his tour as Theater Army Commander. Among his many U.S. and foreign decorations and awards are the Distinguished Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Distinguished Unit Citation, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one Silver and three Bronze Stars and Arrowhead, Korean Service Ribbon with three Bronze Service Stars, the French Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre with Palm, Belgian Croix de Guerre with Palm, Soviet Order of the Red Banner, Korean Taeguk Distinguished Service Medal with Silver Star, Presidential Unit Citation, Order of Military Merit Taeguk with Gold Star, and Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Netherlands, and United Nations decorations.
He was awarded Honorary Degrees of Master of Military Science and Doctor of Laws from Norwich University and Doctor of Military Science from the University of Maryland. He also published extensively, both during his career and in his retirement in a number of military journals and periodicals, and he co-authored the book, Alternative to Armageddon: The Peace Potential of Lightning War. General White continued to serve as a consultant on defense issues, in addition to his civic and business activities.