The following biography appears in WW II Journal No.
8, Merriam Press, p.75.
On 4 August 1941, Maj. Gen. Jacob L. Devers, then the
youngest major general in the Army's land forces, assumed command of
the Armored Force at Ft. Knox. He succeeded Maj. Gen. Adna R.
Chaffee, whom he named "The Father of the American Armored Force."
General Jacob Devers.
Continuing the ground work of Gen. Chaffee, Gen. Devers
brought with him a fresh concept of organization and operations, and
his assignment was not based simply on his availability at the time.
He had been selected personally by Gen. George C. Marshall, Army
Chief of Staff, who wanted to place an expert in firepower in
control of the emerging, highly mechanized, and mobile tank force.
General Devers' boundless energy coupled with a keen mind
and outstanding organizational ability proved equal to the task of
developing and expanding the Armored Force far beyond he concepts of
the initial planners. During his command, Ft. Knox and Armor grew
from a struggling force of two armored divisions, fashioned from
extant Organizations throughout the Army, to a formidable force of
16 divisions and 63 separate tank battalions.
One of Gen. Devers' organizational innovations at Ft. Knox was
the addition of light aircraft to armored field artillery battalions
to increase the mobility of firepower of the armored division
artillery. In later years, as Commander, Army Ground Forces, he
continued his pioneering in force development when he directed the
development and organization of helicopter-borne units in the
post-World War II Army.
When expansion of the force made it impractical to continue
control from Ft. Knox, Gen. Devers was reassigned and command and
control passed to the respective army and corps in which the units
General Devers had done his task well, his guidance and
leadership had met the challenge. His next assignment was to prepare
the United States Forces for the invasion of the European continent
and he departed for England to establish the Supreme Headquarters,
Allied Powers Europe.
The 6th Army Group Patch
General Devers' earlier service following his graduation from the
U .S. Military Academy in 1909 and
commissioning as a second lieutenant of field artillery, included
assignments in Hawaii, France, and Germany during the early 1900s.
He subsequently was graduated from the Command and General Staff
College and the Army War College and continued his service with
artillery units in the United States until 1939, when he became
Chief of Staff of the Panama Canal Department. Following that
assignment and his service at Ft. Knox, Gen. Devers served
successively as Commander of U.S. Forces in the European Theater of
Operations and North African Theater of Operations. He was later
Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Allied Force Headquarters, and Deputy
Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean Theater of Operations. He
also commanded the 6th and 12th Army Groups, and following World War
II, he was named Commander of the Army Ground Forces.
General Devers retired in September 1949 and made his home in the
Washington, D.C., area until his death on 15 October 1979. Interment
was in Arlington National Cemetery on 19 October 1979.