George Catlett Marshall Jr. was an American statesman and soldier. He rose through the U.S. Army to become Chief of Staff under presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, then served as Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense under Truman. Winston Churchill lauded Marshall as the "organizer of victory" for his leadership of the Allied victory in World War II, although Marshall declined a final field leadership position that went to his protege, later U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. After the war, as Secretary of State, Marshall advocated a significant U.S. economic and political commitment to post-war European recovery, including the Marshall Plan that bore his name. In recognition of this work, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.
Born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, Marshall graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1901. After serving briefly as commandant of students at the Danville Military Academy in Danville, Virginia, Marshall received his commission as a second lieutenant of Infantry in February, 1902.