Anthony Clement McAuliffe was born in Washington
, D.C. on July 2, 1898
. He entered West Virginia University
, joined the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon
, and graduated from West Point
as a Second Lieutenant
By the time the United States invaded Europe in 1944, he was a Brigadier General in charge of the Division Artillery of the 101st Airborne Division. He jumped out of a perfectly good airplane on D-Day with his troops landing in Normandy. Later, he crash landed in a perfectly good glider in Holland.
In December, 1944, he was made Acting Commander of the 101st Airborne Division and attached units while General Maxwell Taylor was called away to other duties. During this time the division was camped out in and around Bastogne, Belgium.
Nazis being nazis, and Hitler being Hitler, the German military made one last, massive counter-attack to push the allied forces back to the coast at this exact moment. The Battle of the Bulge, as it came to be known, left the green divisions in front of Bastogne in tatters and soon the Wehrmacht had the strategic town surrounded.
The city was too vital to be bypassed, and so a siege descended upon the hapless defenders. When the German Army sent a messenger with a demand for surrender, General McAuliffe sent back the now famous reply: "NUTS."
This led to a lot of American soldiers getting frostbite or dying in their foxholes instead of starving to death in German concentration camps. War is Hell.
Eventually, just like in the movies, everything turned out fine. Towards the end of World War II, in 1945, General McAuliffe was given command of his own Infantry Division, the 103rd.
Immediately after the war he held positions as Head of the Army Chemical Corps. and Head of Army Personnel until 1953 when he was given command of the 7th Army.
He did so well at that job that in 1955, he was named Commander in Chief of U.S. Army Forces in Europe. This must be a rough position because he retired in 1956.
He worked in the private sector for awhile, and also served as the chairman of the New York State Civil Defense Commission from 1960 to 1963.
In 1965, his old fraternity from WVU granted him the SigEp Citation, their highest honor.
In 1975, he died, and was planted in Section 3 of Arlington National Cemetery where he resides to this day.
Thanks to Mouthpiece for additional information about the fraternity.