Majpr General Maurice Rose, 1899-1945, was a soldier's soldier. Immaculate, ruthless in his calculated destruction of the enemy, he was qualified by his experience achievement and character to lead the spearhead of the first Americans. General Rose came up from the ranks. He joined the United States Army in 1916 as a buck private and served on the Mexican border. Upon graduating from the first officer's training course at Fort Riley, Kansas, in 1917, he was commissioned in the infantry and sent overseas with the 89th Division. In France, he was wounded at St. Mihiel, but went back to fight through the entire Meuse-Argonne offensive.
During World War II, General Rose served with the three greatest of American armored divisions; in Africa and Italy with the 1st, "Old Ironsides," and the 2nd, "Hell on Wheels;" finally throughout the climactic western European campaigns at the head of his own 3rd Armored Division, the organization he claimed to be the greatest tank force in the world and one worthy of the sobriquet: "Spearhead."
He was over six feet tall, erect, dark haired, and had finely chiseled features. He was firm and prompt of decision, brooking no interference by man, events or conditions in order to destroy the enemy. No armchair strategist, General Rose directed operations from a peep at the point of the cutting edge. He travelled with the forward elements of his command, up with the tankers and the blitz doughs. General Rose went up front, and that's where he was on a dark evening in late March, 1945. He was killed in action at the head of his men. He was mourned as a GI tanker mourns a dead crew-mate, and he was buried at Ittenbach, Gemany, beside the men he led. War correspondent Hal Boyle wrote, at the time: "Rose lived and died as a professional, as a career he loved, and followed since he was a boy of 17. He would be the last to regret that he had a soldier's ending."
Fit epitaph for a great fighting man. General Maurice Rose, who tempered the spearhead of the first Americans, and gave his life in the culmination of its greatest achievement. He was a soldier's soldier.
REQUIESCAT IN PACE
(From "Spearhead in the West - The 3rd Armored Division 1941-45")
The caption accompanying this photo reads: "(WX6-April 5) LAST RITES FOR GEN. ROSE -- An Army chaplain reads the services and six soldiers hold the American flag over the casket containing the body of Maj. Gen. Maurice Rose during last rites at an American Military Cemetary near Ittenbach, German, April 2. The commander of the Third Armored Division of the First Army was killed in Germany March 30. (AP Wirephoto from Signal Corps Radiophoto) (MD51342)1945"
Major General Maurice Rose decorates an unidentifiued Staff Sergeant. The red scribbles around Maj. Gen. Rose's helmet are censor's instructions to delete the background to prevent the enemy from identifying the location.
Major General Maurice Rose is buried alongside many of his soldiers in the American Military Cemetery, Margraten, The Netherlands. Photo was taken in 2005 by Jim MacClay and used with his permission.