According to Gen. George C. Marshall, Ray McLain "gave great distinction to the term 'citizen soldier'".
He was the first Guardsman to become an Army brigadier general (later a major general and then a lieutenant general). Starting as a buck private with the National Guard on the Mexican border in 1916, he later commanded a machine gun company in World War I and division artillery in World War II. He was injured in the Normandy invasion but helped free St. Lo and led the 90th Division across France.
Promoted to XIX Corps Commander, he was about to capture Berlin, but was ordered south by his good friend General Eisenhower to meet the Russians there instead. Afterwards he reorganized the 45th Division in Oklahoma, and in the Pentagon served as Chief of Information and first Comptroller of the Army. He was a key member of President Eisenhower's National Security Training Commission when he died in 1954.
A founder and president of the Association of the U.S. Army, he continues to be honored by its Raymond Stallings McLain medal, which is presented to the best National Guardsman each year.
He is also the first Guardsman represented in the Army's Hall of Fame.
This is his story, from his rough childhood in the woods of Kentucky, where he struggled to help feed his mother and sisters as a youngster, to his rise through the ranks, both of life and the military, to become a hero and inspiration to many, eventually becoming a lieutenant general. The story is told by his 2nd eldest daughter, Betty McLain Belvin, who spent much of her life putting this book together, using varied reliable sources, from recollections of her aunts (McLain's sisters who he grew up with in Kentucky) , to letters her father sent her during the war, as well as letters, documentation, and recollections from people who served close to him in the military, including General Patton, Eisenhower, and many other national heroes of the time, both well-known and little known. I
If you've enjoyed the stories of Daniel Boone (one of Ray McLain's childhood idols), Sergeant York, and General George Patton, then you'll surely enjoy reading this true life story of Raymond S McLain.