General George C. Marshall is the person portrayed on the $500 I-Bond. Here is a little history about him:
George Catlett Marshall, GCB (December 31, 1880 – October 16, 1959) was an American military leader and statesman best remembered for his leadership in the Allied victory in World War II and for his work establishing the post-war reconstruction effort for Europe, which became known as the Marshall Plan.
George C. Marshall was born into a middle-class family in the Pittsburgh suburb of Uniontown. While attending Virginia Military Institute, he was initiated into the Kappa Alpha Order.
In 1948, he was awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award for his role and contributions during and after World War II.
Marshall was instrumental in getting the U.S. Army and Army Air Corps reorganized and ready for war. Marshall wrote the document that would become the central strategy for all Allied operations in Europe, selected Dwight Eisenhower as Supreme Commander in Europe, and designed Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy. His success in working with Congress and President Franklin D. Roosevelt ultimately resulted in his being passed over as the Supreme Allied Commander in charge of the D-Day invasion. At the time, the President told him: “I couldn’t sleep nights, George, if you were out of Washington.”
Throughout the remainder of the World War II, Marshall coordinated all Allied operations in Europe and the Pacific. He was characterized as the organizer of Allied victory by Winston Churchill. Time Magazine named Marshall Man of the Year in 1944.
After WW II he was sent to China to negotiate a truce and build a coalition government between the Nationalists and Communists fighting the Chinese Civil War. His efforts failed and he was recalled in January 1947.
Marshall ‘retired’ in November 1945 and was named Secretary of State in 1947. As such, on Thursday, June 5, 1947, at a speech at Harvard University, he outlined the U.S. government’s preparedness to contribute to European recovery. The European Recovery Plan, which became known as the Marshall Plan, helped Europe quickly rebuild and earned Marshall the honor of being named TIME’s Man of the Year in 1948 and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953. In 1949 he resigned from the State Department and was named the president of the American National Red Cross. He was named Secretary of Defense in 1950, but retired from politics for good in 1951 after Senator Joseph McCarthy made a speech on the Senate floor stating that “if Marshall was merely stupid, the laws of probability would dictate that part of his decisions would serve America’s interests.” Marshall died on Friday, October 16, 1959.
The British Parliment established the Marshall Scholarship in recognition of Marshall’s contributions to Anglo-American relations.
He married Elizabeth Carter Cole of Lexington, Virginia in 1902. She died in 1927. In 1930 he married Katherine Boyce Tupper.
After graduating from the Virginia Military Institute in 1901, he entered the U.S. Army, where he was to have a long and distinguished career. Until World War I, he was posted to various positions in the US and the Philippines, and was trained in modern warfare. During the War he had roles as a planner of both training and operations. Between WWI and WWII, he was a key planner and writer in the War Department, spent three years in China, and taught at the Army War College.
He went to France in the summer of 1917 as the director of training and planning for the 1st Infantry Division. In mid-1918, he was promoted to American Expeditionary Forces headquarters, where he was a key planner of American operations. He was instrumental in the design and coordination of the Meuse-Argonne offensive, which contributed to the defeat of the German Army on the Western Front.
In 1919 he became an aide-de-camp to General John J. Pershing. Between 1920 and 1924, while Pershing was Army Chief of Staff, Marshall worked in a number of positions in the US Army, focusing on training and teaching modern, mechanized warfare.
He was promoted to Brigadier General in October 1936. In 1939 he was selected by Franklin D. Roosevelt to be Army Chief of Staff, a position he held until 1945.
In 1944, Marshall became the first U.S. General to be awarded 5-star rank, otherwise known as General of the Army.This position is the American equivalent to the rank of Field Marshal.
Marshall once joked that he was glad the U.S. never created a “Field Marshal” rank during World War II, since he would then have to be addressed as “Marshal Marshall.”
Nobel Peace Prize 1953 for the Marshall Plan