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World War I discussion series has link to Middletown native

MIDDLETOWN – “World War One: America Answered the Call,” a four-session series of programs and exhibits on the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War One will be presented by the Russell Library in Middletown. The four-session series will be held Wednesdays, Oct. 4-25 at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The series, facilitated by Army veteran, historian and librarian Arthur Meyers, will explore the American experience of war and its role in shaping the contemporary. It will have a special tie-in to Middletown native Major Gen. Maurice Rose, commander of the 3rd Armored Division, of whom World War II war correspondent Andy Rooney, wrote, “[He] may have been the best tank commander of the war. He led from the front of his division.”

Born in Middletown in 1899, Rose was the son of a rabbi who immigrated to America in 1893. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1917 and, after graduating from Officer Candidate School in 1917, served in the 89th Infantry in France as a second lieutenant. He was wounded at St. Mihiel and saw combat in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. During World War II, Rose was with the 1st Armored Division serving in North Africa. In August 1944, he was assigned command of the 3rd Armored Division, the “Spearhead Division.”

The highest-ranking Jew to serve in the U.S. military, Rose was shot by a German tank gunner on March 30, 1945, which made him the highest-ranking American killed by enemy fire. A much-decorated hero, he eventually received the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest military decoration for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force.

In 2002, Middletown erected a plaque at Rose’s birthplace. Two years later, Jewish War Veterans Post 51 was formed and named in his honor. In 2011, he was honored with the naming of the new Major General Maurice Rose Armed Forces Reserve Center in Middletown.

The Russell Library is located at 123 Broad St. For information, call (860) 347-2520.

CAP: Maurice Rose

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