Biographical / Historical
Lieutenant General George W. Read (1900-1974) was an Army officer who commanded armor units during World War II and became the U.S. Army's Chief of Armor. The son of Major General George Windle Read, one of World War I's top commanders in the American Expeditionary Forces, Read was raised on military posts throughout the United States. He enlisted in the Army in May, 1917, first serving with the 15th Cavalry Regiment and then the 30th and the 42nd Infantry Divisions during World War I. In 1919, Read completed officer candidate school and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry. Reed then transferred to Cavalry, and during the interwar period he served throughout the United States and overseas. In 1937, Reed served in the Middle East as an observer in Palestine and a member of the Armored Force Board that was based in Cairo, Egypt. After graduating from the Command and General Staff College in 1941, Read was assigned to the 6th Armored Division, where he served, in various assignments, throughout World War II. After the war, Read served in a number of assignments, including commanding general of the 1st Constabulary Brigade in Occupied Germany, commanding general of the 2nd Armored Division in Europe, chief of staff of Army Field Forces, commanding general of the Armor Center and commandant of the Armor School at Fort Knox, Kentucky. For two years Read served as commander of Allied Forces, Southeastern Europe before becoming the commanding general of the 2nd US Army. He retired in 1960. Read received multiple awards including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the French Legion of Honor, the Croix de Guerre with Palm, the Belgian Croix de Guerre, and the Greek Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Phoenix.