Weird History The Most Important Military Leaders In US History  

Mike Rothschild
Originally by
39.4k votes 3.8k voters 61.9k views 66 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
1,450 324
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
1,197 421
Dwight D. Eisenhower is listed (or ranked) 2 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
3
1,373 476
George S. Patton is listed (or ranked) 3 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
4
862 278
Chester W. Nimitz is listed (or ranked) 4 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
5
1,143 384
Ulysses S. Grant is listed (or ranked) 5 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
6
826 283
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
716 280
John J. Pershing is listed (or ranked) 7 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.
8
1,243 502
Robert E. Lee is listed (or ranked) 8 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
9
875 323
William Tecumseh Sherman is listed (or ranked) 9 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
10
730 320
Omar Bradley is listed (or ranked) 10 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
11
771 299
Stonewall Jackson is listed (or ranked) 11 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
12
709 367
Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 12 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
13
524 195
John Paul Jones is listed (or ranked) 13 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.
14
909 513
Douglas MacArthur is listed (or ranked) 14 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
15
543 250
William Halsey, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 15 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
16
612 320
Andrew Jackson is listed (or ranked) 16 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.
17
518 178
Nathanael Greene is listed (or ranked) 17 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.
 
18
405 165
Henry H. Arnold is listed (or ranked) 18 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
19
408 117
Chesty Puller is listed (or ranked) 19 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
20
690 386
Theodore Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 20 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.
21
383 179
Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben is listed (or ranked) 21 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
22
422 268
Winfield Scott is listed (or ranked) 22 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
23
244 53
Raymond A. Spruance is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Elliot S. Goldman added Dec. at 83 (1886-1969)
Raymond Ames Spruance was a United States Navy admiral in World War II. Spruance commanded US naval forces during two of the most significant naval battles that took place in the Pacific ...more
24
318 168
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
341 166
Matthew Ridgway is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Important Military Leaders In US History
Dec. at 98 (1895-1993)
Matthew Bunker Ridgway was a United States Army general. He held several major commands and was most famous for resurrecting the United Nations war effort during the Korean War. Several ...more