Weird History The Most Important Military Leaders In US History  

Mike Rothschild
Originally by
27.5k votes 2.9k voters 51.7k views 75 items

List Rules American military leaders only. Vote based on their military leadership only, not other political achievements.

America's legendary military history is dotted with some of the greatest generals and admirals to ever put on a uniform. While there have been thousands of high-ranking U.S. Army generals and and military leaders in American history, only a few have truly changed the world with their bravery, intelligence, strategic planning ability, and the way they look wearing a uniform full of medals. Some of the best American generals are also the top military leaders in history. 

The army leaders and generals in the US Army on this list all either held the most important positions in the US military or were immortalized in the history books for their actions in war. To be a great US Army officer takes great courage and leadership. Who has had the most impact and led his men and women to historic triumphs? Leading the ranks of the army is no easy feat, but throughout army history, many great men have made a name for themselves.

Vote for who you think are the most important leaders from the United States Army, armed forces, and other military branches on this list, and vote down the ones you think might be a little overrated. And feel free to add generals and admirals who you feel were unfairly forgotten.
list ordered by

1
1,050 252
George Washington is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Dec. at 67 (1732-1799) - George Washington was the first President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He presided over the ...more

2
1,020 364
George S. Patton is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Dec. at 60 (1885-1945) - George Smith Patton, Jr. was a United States Army general, who commanded the Seventh United States Army in the Mediterranean and European Theaters of WWII, but is best known for his leadership ...more

3
861 329
Dwight D. Eisenhower is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Dec. at 79 (1890-1969) - Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army during WWII and served as Supreme ...more

4
828 304
Ulysses S. Grant is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Dec. at 63 (1822-1885) - Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States. As Commanding General, Grant worked closely with President Abraham Lincoln to lead the Union Army to victory over the Confederacy. ...more

5
580 210
Chester W. Nimitz is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Dec. at 81 (1885-1966) - Chester William Nimitz was a fleet admiral of the United States Navy. He played a major role in the naval history of World War II as Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Fleet, for U.S. ...more

6
558 201
George Marshall is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Dec. at 79 (1880-1959) - George Catlett Marshall, Jr. was an American soldier and statesman famous for his leadership roles during WWII and others. He was Chief of Staff of the United States Army, Secretary of State, ...more

7
925 351
Robert E. Lee is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
slaft added Dec. at 63 (1807-1870) - Robert Edward Lee was an American soldier best known for commanding the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War from 1862 until his surrender in 1865. The son of ...more

8
623 231
William Tecumseh Sherman is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Dec. at 71 (1820-1891) - William Tecumseh Sherman was an American soldier, businessman, educator and author. He served as a General in the Union Army during the American Civil War, for which he received recognition for ...more

9
495 209
John J. Pershing is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Dec. at 88 (1860-1948) - John J. Pershing appeared in the 1942 film For Me and My Gal.

10
532 179
Stonewall Jackson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
icoachfb added Dec. at 39 (1824-1863) - Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson was a Confederate general during the American Civil War, and the best-known Confederate commander after General Robert E. Lee. His military career ...more

11
672 376
Douglas MacArthur is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Dec. at 84 (1880-1964) - Douglas MacArthur was an American five-star general and Field Marshal of the Philippine Army. He was Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the ...more

12
502 243
Omar Bradley is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Dec. at 88 (1893-1981) - Omar Nelson "Brad" Bradley was a United States Army field commander in North Africa and Europe during World War II, and a General of the Army. From the Normandy landings through the ...more

13
500 273
Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Dec. at 78 (1934-2012) - H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. was a United States Army general. While serving as Commander-in-Chief, United States Central Command. Born in Trenton, New Jersey, Schwarzkopf grew up in the United ...more

14
346 136
John Paul Jones is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
RobLein added Dec. at 45 (1747-1792) - Best-known naval leader for the U.S. in the Revolutionary War.

15
432 226
Andrew Jackson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
RobLein added Dec. at 78 (1767-1845) - Led U.S. troops to victory over the British in the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812.

16
363 179
William Halsey, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Dec. at 77 (1882-1959) - Fleet Admiral William Frederick Halsey Jr., GBE —known as Bill Halsey or "Bull" Halsey—was an American fleet admiral in the United States Navy. At the start of the War in the Pacific ...more

17
514 293
Theodore Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
RobLein added Dec. at 61 (1858-1919) - Led American troops, the Roughriders, up San Juan Hill for decisive victory. Was eventually awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, in 2001, for his actions.

18
317 174
Winfield Scott is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Dec. at 80 (1786-1866) - Winfield Scott was a United States Army general, and unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852. Known as "Old Fuss and Feathers" and the "Grand Old Man of the ...more

19
340 123
Nathanael Greene is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
grady-edward-loy added Dec. at 44 (1742-1786) - Sent by Washington to replace Gates in the South and drive Cornwallis out of South Carolina.  He was called the Fighting Quaker and had been Washinton's Quartermaster.
 

20
266 115
Henry H. Arnold is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Dec. at 64 (1886-1950) - Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold was an American general officer holding the grades of General of the Army and General of the Air Force. Arnold was an aviation pioneer, Chief of the Air ...more

21
225 65
Chesty Puller is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Nathan Simcox added Dec. at 73 (1898-1971) - Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller was a United States Marine Corps lieutenant general and one of the most decorated members of the Marine Corps. Puller is one of two servicemen to ever be ...more

22
264 134
Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Michael Grylls added Dec. at 64 (1730-1794) - Friedrich Wilhelm August Heinrich Ferdinand Steuben, also referred to as the Baron von Steuben, was a Prussian-born American military officer. He served as inspector general and Major General of ...more

23
254 150
Philip Sheridan is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Dec. at 57 (1831-1888) - Philip Henry Sheridan was a career United States Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War. His career was noted for his rapid rise to major general and his close association ...more

24
212 129
David Farragut is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Dec. at 69 (1801-1870) - David Glasgow Farragut was a flag officer of the United States Navy during the American Civil War. He was the first rear admiral, vice admiral, and admiral in the United States Navy. He is ...more

25
229 89
Jim Mattis is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
TobiasFloydBaker added age 68 - James Norman Mattis (born September 8, 1950) is a retired United States Marine Corps general who is the 26th and current United States Secretary of Defense, serving in the Cabinet of Donald ...more