• Weird History

The Most Important Military Leaders In US History

List RulesAmerican 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.
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  • 1
    2,207
    524

    George Washington

    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 convention  ...more
  • 2
    2,150
    726

    George S. Patton

    Dec. at 60 (1885-1945)
    George Smith Patton Jr. (November 11, 1885 – December 21, 1945) was a General of the United States Army who commanded the U.S. Seventh Army in the Mediterranean theater of World War II, and the U.S.  ...more
  • 3
    1,920
    645

    Ulysses S. Grant

    Dec. at 63 (1822-1885)
    Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant; April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) was an American soldier, politician, and international statesman who served as the 18th president of the United States from  ...more
  • 4
    1,826
    644
    Dec. at 78 (1890-1969)
    Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower ( EYE-zən-how-ər; October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American army general and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961.  ...more
  • 5
    1,403
    458

    Chester W. Nimitz

    Dec. at 80 (1885-1966)
    Chester William Nimitz, Sr. (; February 24, 1885 – February 20, 1966) 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,  ...more
  • 6
    1,337
    497

    George Marshall

    Dec. at 78 (1880-1959)
    George Catlett Marshall Jr. (December 31, 1880 – October 16, 1959) was an American soldier and statesman. He rose through the United States Army to become Chief of Staff under presidents Franklin D.  ...more
  • 7
    1,419
    567

    William Tecumseh Sherman

    Dec. at 71 (1820-1891)
    William Tecumseh Sherman (February 8, 1820 – February 14, 1891) was an American soldier, businessman, educator, and author. He served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War  ...more
  • 8
    1,106
    463

    John J. Pershing

    Dec. at 87 (1860-1948)
    General of the Armies John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing (September 13, 1860 – July 15, 1948) was a senior United States Army officer. His most famous post was when he served as the commander of the  ...more
  • 9
    1,129
    548

    Omar Bradley

    Dec. at 88 (1893-1981)
    General of the Army Omar Nelson Bradley (February 12, 1893 – April 8, 1981) was a senior officer of the United States Army during and after World War II. Bradley was the first Chairman of the Joint  ...more
  • 10
    1,933
    961
    slaft added

    Robert E. Lee

    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 Revolutionary  ...more
  • 11
    865
    411

    William Halsey, Jr.

    Dec. at 76 (1882-1959)
    Fleet Admiral William Frederick Halsey Jr., KBE (October 30, 1882 – August 16, 1959), known as Bill Halsey or "Bull" Halsey, was an American admiral in the United States Navy during World War II. He  ...more
  • 12
    1,418
    831
    Dec. at 84 (1880-1964)
    General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (January 26, 1880 – April 5, 1964) was an American five-star general and Field Marshal of the Philippine Army. He was Chief of Staff of the United States Army  ...more
  • 13
    883
    281
    grady-edward-loy added

    Nathanael Greene

    Dec. at 43 (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.
     
  • 14
    626
    291

    Henry H. Arnold

    Dec. at 63 (1886-1950)
    Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold (June 25, 1886 – January 15, 1950) was an American general officer holding the ranks of General of the Army and General of the Air Force. Arnold was an aviation pioneer,  ...more
  • 15
    582
    174
    Elliot S. Goldman added

    Raymond A. Spruance

    Dec. at 83 (1886-1969)
    Raymond Ames Spruance (July 3, 1886 – December 13, 1969) was a United States Navy admiral in World War II. He commanded U.S. naval forces during two of the most significant naval battles that took  ...more
  • 16
    538
    298
    Dec. at 69 (1801-1870)
    David Glasgow Farragut (also spelled Glascoe; July 5, 1801 – August 14, 1870) was a flag officer of the United States Navy during the American Civil War. He was the first rear admiral, vice admiral,  ...more
  • 17
    1,013
    594

    Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr.

    Dec. at 78 (1934-2012)
    Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. (; August 22, 1934 – December 27, 2012) was a United States Army General. While serving as the commander of United States Central Command, he led all coalition forces  ...more
  • 18
    856
    295
    RobLein added

    John Paul Jones

    Dec. at 45 (1747-1792)
    Best-known naval leader for the U.S. in the Revolutionary War.
  • 19
    984
    563
    RobLein addedDec. at 78 (1767-1845)
    Led U.S. troops to victory over the British in the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812.
  • 20
    654
    414

    Winfield Scott

    Dec. at 79 (1786-1866)
    Winfield Scott (June 13, 1786 – May 29, 1866) was an American military commander and political candidate. He served as a general in the United States Army from 1814 to 1861, taking part in the War of  ...more
  • 21
    764
    261
    Nathan Simcox addedDec. at 73 (1898-1971)
    Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller (June 26, 1898 – October 11, 1971) was a United States Marine Corps officer. Beginning his career fighting guerillas in Haiti and Nicaragua as part of the Banana Wars,  ...more
  • 22
    571
    337

    Philip Sheridan

    Dec. at 57 (1831-1888)
    Philip Henry Sheridan (March 6, 1831 – August 5, 1888) 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  ...more
  • 23
    1,362
    549
    icoachfb added

    Stonewall Jackson

    Dec. at 39 (1824-1863)
    Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson (January 21, 1824 – May 10, 1863) served as a Confederate general (1861–1863) during the American Civil War, and became one of the best-known Confederate  ...more
  • 24
    513
    293

    Matthew Ridgway

    Dec. at 98 (1895-1993)
    General Matthew Bunker Ridgway (March 3, 1895 – July 26, 1993) was a senior officer in the United States Army, who served as Supreme Allied Commander Europe (1952–1953) and the 19th Chief of Staff of  ...more
  • 25
    507
    176
    null98Jeff added

    Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette

    Dec. at 76 (1757-1834)
    Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette (French: [maʁki də la fajɛt]; 6 September 1757 – 20 May 1834), known in the United States simply as Lafayette, was a French  ...more