Famous American Military Leaders

The smooth functioning of any country is as much dependent on its political and economic system as it is on its military. Courageous, valiant and heroic, both on and off the field, military personnel secure the country and its country men and help in safeguarding from enemies and rivals. Today, history is full of leaders and revolutionaries who through their sheer brilliance and daring spirit became most famous military figures of all times. It is due to their dauntless audacity that they helped change not just the future of the country but the world at large. Every country boasts of umpteen military leaders and revolutionaries who helped in securing their land. The United States of America has had numerous military leaders who have left an indelible mark on human civilization with their acts of courage. Some of the illustrious American military leaders include Dwight Eisenhower, General Patton, George Washington, Douglas MacArthur, George Dewey, David D Porter, Winfield Scott, Henry H Arnold and so on. Explore this section and find out in details about the life, conquests, battles and wars of great American military leaders. Their act of bravery and courage is sure to leave you startled!

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee.
Famous As: Confederate General in the American Civil War
Birthdate: January 19, 1807
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Stratford Hall, Stratford, Virginia, United States
Died: October 12, 1870

A commander of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War, Robert E. Lee commanded the Army of Northern Virginia. He was a skilled tactician who served in the US Army for 32 years. Brilliant from a young age, he was a top graduate of the US Military Academy. In his later years, he became president of Washington College.

 2 Douglas MacArthur

Douglas MacArthur.
Birthdate: January 26, 1880
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Little Rock
Died: April 5, 1964
American five-star general Douglas MacArthur was the field marshal of the Philippine Army. He and his father were the first father-son duo to win the Medal of Honor. after World War II, he became the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Japan and contributed to Japan’s reconstruction.

 3 Stonewall Jackson

Stonewall Jackson.
Famous As: General
Birthdate: January 21, 1824
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Clarksburg, West Virginia
Died: May 10, 1863

Stonewall Jackson was a commander of the Confederate States Army. He played a major role as a Confederate general in the American Civil War, winning several significant battles in the Eastern Theater of the war. Considered one of the most tactically sound commanders in the history of the US, Jackson was idolized by George Patton, Chesty Puller, and Alexander Vandegrift.

 4 William Tecumseh Sherman

William Tecumseh Sherman.
Famous As: General in the Union Army During the American Civil War
Birthdate: February 8, 1820
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lancaster
Died: February 14, 1891
William Tecumseh Sherman served as the Union Army general during the American Civil War. He is best remembered for his “scorched earth” military policy and was known as "the first modern general.” His 1875 book Memoir, related his war experiences. He was associated with wildlife conservation in his later years.

 5 Nathan Bedford Forrest

Nathan Bedford Forrest.
Famous As: Military commander
Birthdate: July 13, 1821
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chapel Hill
Died: October 29, 1877
Nathan Bedford Forrest, or the "Wizard of the Saddle", served as a Confederate general during the American Civil War. He was charged with war crimes at the Battle of Fort Pillow, where his forces killed Black prisoners of war. He was the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

 6 John J. Pershing

John J. Pershing.
Famous As: US Army Officer During WW I
Birthdate: September 13, 1860
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Laclede, Missouri, United States
Died: July 15, 1948

John J. Pershing was a senior United States Army officer who served as the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I. In his later years, he mentored generals who led the United States Army during World War II.  He was promoted to General of the Armies rank, the highest possible rank in the United States Army. 

 7 Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: July 9, 1955
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Central, South Carolina, United States
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 8 Chester W. Nimitz

Chester W. Nimitz.
Famous As: Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in World War II
Birthdate: February 24, 1885
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Fredericksburg, Texas, United States
Died: February 20, 1966

Chester W. Nimitz was part of the United States Navy where he served as a fleet admiral. He played a key role during World War II, commanding the US Pacific Fleet and the Allied air, sea, and land forces. He also played a crucial role in acquiring approval to develop USS Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine in the world.

 9 Colin Powell

Colin Powell.
Famous As: 65th United States Secretary of State
Birthdate: April 5, 1937
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City

A veteran politician who served as the 65th United States Secretary of State, Colin Powell was the first African-American Secretary of State. A member of the Republican Party, he was an army man prior to entering politics. He was a  four-star general at the time of his retirement. After leaving politics, he pursued a career as a public speaker.

 10 Joseph R. McCarthy

Joseph R. McCarthy
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 14, 1908
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Grand Chute, Wisconsin, U.S.
Died: May 2, 1957

 11 Chesty Puller

Chesty Puller.
Famous As: United States Marine Corps lieutenant general
Birthdate: June 26, 1898
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Virginia
Died: October 11, 1971
Chesty Puller was a U.S. Marine Corps officer who was part of the Banana Wars in Haiti and Nicaragua, and later served in World War II and the Korean War. He became the most decorated U.S. Marine, winning five Navy Crosses and an Army Distinguished Service Cross.

 12 Rob Riggle

Rob Riggle
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 21, 1970
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, USA

 13 Jim Mattis

Jim Mattis.
Famous As: Former United States Secretary of Defense
Birthdate: September 8, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pullman, Washington, United States

Jim Mattis is a retired American Marine Corps general and served as the Defense Secretary from January 2017 to January 2019. He avowed the commitment of US to defending South Korea and was a known opponent of China and Russia. He was also known to disagree with certain policies of the Trump administration which finally led to his departure.

 14 George Washington

George Washington.
Famous As: First U.S. President
Birthdate: February 22, 1732
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Westmoreland County, Virginia, United States
Died: December 14, 1799

America’s first president, George Washington led the country with integrity, firmness and prudence that made him one of the greatest presidents in American history. He became a national hero before assuming presidency, when he led the Continental Army to victory against the British during the American Revolution.

 15 George Armstrong Custer

George Armstrong Custer.
Famous As: Military Officer
Birthdate: December 5, 1839
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Rumley, Ohio
Died: June 25, 1876

George Armstrong Custer was a US Army officer. He played an important role as a cavalry commander in the American Indian Wars and the American Civil War. His death at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, commonly referred to as Custer's Last Stand, went on to become a well-known episode of the American Indian Wars.

 16 Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Famous As: 34th U.S. President
Birthdate: October 14, 1890
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Denison, Texas, United States
Died: March 28, 1969

The 34th president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower held office from 1953 to 1961. An army officer During World War II, he was part of many successful operations. He signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957, and his two terms as president saw widespread economic prosperity in USA. He is ranked high among American presidents.

 17 Richard Winters

Richard Winters.
Famous As: Army officer
Birthdate: January 21, 1918
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New Holland, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: January 2, 2011
Richard Winters is best remembered for his act of parachuting into Normandy on D-Day. He was recalled to the army from the inactive list during the Korean War. Following his retirement, he started selling Hershey Company by-products to animal-feed manufacturers and also taught at the U.S. Military Academy.

 18 Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn.
Famous As: Former United States National Security Advisor
Birthdate: November 30, 1958
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Fort Meade, Maryland

Michael Flynn is a retired US Army lieutenant general who played a key role in dismantling insurgent networks in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He also helped shape the US counterterrorism strategy in the wars. He also played a major role in the 2016 US presidential election, serving as Donald Trump's senior advisor throughout the latter's presidential campaign.

 19 John F. Kelly

John F. Kelly.
Famous As: Former White House Chief of Staff
Birthdate: May 11, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
John F. Kelly served as the White House Chief of Staff from 2017 to 2019, and as the Secretary of Homeland Security in 2017. He is part of the board of Caliburn International. The former U.S. Marine Corps general has also won awards such as the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.

 20 David Petraeus

David Petraeus.
Famous As: Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Birthdate: November 7, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, United States
David Petraeus was the director of the CIA from 2011 till his resignation in 2012 due to his extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell. He was also charged with mishandling classified information. He had previously been the commander of U.S. Central Command and of the International Security Assistance Force

 21 Sitting Bull

Sitting Bull.
Famous As: Warrior
Birthdate: 1831 AD
Birthplace: Grand River
Died: December 15, 1890
Hunkpapa Lakota leader Sitting Bull is symbolic of the Native American resistance against the U.S. government. After the Battle of the Little Bighorn, he surrendered and performed at Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. The U.S. government, fearing he might join the Ghost Dance Movement, killed him during an attempted arrest.

 22 Mark Esper

Mark Esper
Famous As: Politicians
Birthdate: April 26, 1964
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Uniontown, Pennsylvania, U.S.

 23 Curtis Lemay

Curtis Lemay.
Famous As: U. S. Air Force General During World War II
Birthdate: November 15, 1906
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio,, United States
Died: October 1, 1990

 24 Stanley A McChrystal

Stanley A McChrystal.
Famous As: Retired Armed Force Officer
Birthdate: August 14, 1954
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, United States

Retired United States Army general, Stanley A McChrysta,l is best known for his command of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) during the 2000s. He was described as "perhaps the finest warrior and leader of men in combat I ever met" by Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Following his retirement, he began teaching courses in international relations at Yale University.

 25 Jackie Coogan

Jackie Coogan
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 26, 1914
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: March 1, 1984

 26 James R. Jordan, Sr.

James R. Jordan, Sr.
Birthdate: July 31, 1936
Sun Sign: Leo
Died: July 23, 1993

 27 Tom Cotton

Tom Cotton
Famous As: Lawyer
Birthdate: May 13, 1977
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dardanelle, Arkansas, U.S.

 28 Christopher Dorner

Christopher Dorner
Famous As: Police Officer
Birthdate: June 4, 1979
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York, United States
Died: February 12, 2013

 29 Glenn Miller

Glenn Miller
Famous As: Trombonist
Birthdate: March 1, 1904
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Clarinda, Iowa, United States
Died: December 15, 1944

 30 Erik Prince

Erik Prince
Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: June 6, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Holland, Michigan, United States

 31 Prescott Bush

Prescott Bush
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: May 15, 1895
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, USA
Died: October 8, 1972

 32 William Halsey Jr.

William Halsey Jr.
Famous As: Military officer
Birthdate: October 30, 1882
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Elizabeth, New Jersey, United States
Died: August 16, 1959

 33 Ralph Northam

Ralph Northam
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: September 13, 1959
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nassawadox, Virginia, USA

 34 Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg.
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: January 19, 1982
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: South Bend, Indiana, United States
Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of Bend, earned the 2013 GovFresh Mayor of the Year award. A Harvard alumnus, he has worked as a McKinsey consultant and served the Navy. He is the first openly gay candidate to win a U.S. presidential primary. He met his husband through a dating app.

 35 George P. Bush

George P. Bush
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: April 24, 1976
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, U.S.

 36 Herbert Sobel

Herbert Sobel.
Famous As: U.S. Army Officer
Birthdate: January 26, 1912
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: September 30, 1987

Herbert Sobel was an American military man who commanded Easy Company during World War II. Although he played a key role during the war, Sobel was despised by his soldiers due to his arrogance. In the 2001 war drama miniseries Band of Brothers, Herbert Sobel was portrayed by David Schwimmer.

 37 William H. McRaven

William H. McRaven
Famous As: Officer
Birthdate: November 6, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pinehurst

 38 Robert Gould Shaw

Robert Gould Shaw.
Famous As: Military Personnel
Birthdate: October 10, 1837
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died: July 18, 1863
Union Army officer Robert Gould Shaw commanded an all-Black regiment, the 54th Massachusetts, during the American Civil War. A staunch abolitionist, he died in the Second Battle of Fort Wagner in 1863, but became a hero after his death, especially among the Black community. He inspired the 1989 film Glory.

 39 George B. McClellan

George B. McClellan.
Famous As: Soldier
Birthdate: December 3, 1826
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: October 29, 1885

George McClellan was the governor of New Jersey from 1878 to 1881. He had previously been part of the Mexican–American War. He later quit the Army to serve railroads but re-joined during the American Civil War. He eventually became the commanding general and formed the Army of the Potomac.

 40 Jimmy Doolittle

Jimmy Doolittle.
Famous As: Military General
Birthdate: December 14, 1896
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Alameda, California, United States
Died: September 27, 1993

Jimmy Doolittle was an American aviation pioneer and military general. Apart from winning many flying races, Doolittle also helped develop instrument flying. He was the brains behind the Doolittle Raid, the air raid that served as retribution for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. His work during the raid earned him the prestigious Medal of Honor.

 41 Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr.
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: September 13, 1887
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oyster Bay, Long Island, New York, USA
Died: July 12, 1944

 42 Kit Carson

Kit Carson.
Famous As: Explorer & Soldier
Birthdate: December 24, 1809
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Madison County
Died: May 23, 1868

 43 Smedley Butler

Smedley Butler.
Birthdate: July 30, 1881
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: West Chester, Pennsylvania, US
Died: June 21, 1940

 44 Joni Ernst

Joni Ernst
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: July 1, 1970
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Red Oak, Iowa Red Oak, Iowa, U.S.

 45 James Bowie

James Bowie
Famous As: Pioneer
Birthdate: April 10, 1796
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas, United States
Died: March 6, 1836

 46 Adam Kinzinger

Adam Kinzinger
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 27, 1978
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kankakee, Illinois Kankakee, Illinois, U.S.

 47 Jeremiah Denton

Jeremiah Denton
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: July 15, 1924
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mobile, Alabama, USA
Died: March 28, 2014

 48 Joseph Dunford

Joseph Dunford
Famous As: General
Birthdate: December 8, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts

 49 David Farragut

David Farragut.
Famous As: Officer
Birthdate: July 5, 1801
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Farragut, Tennessee, United States
Died: August 14, 1870

 50 William Childs Westmoreland

William Childs Westmoreland.
Famous As: Military Leader
Birthdate: March 26, 1914
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Saxon, South Carolina, United States
Died: July 18, 2005