Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
The Fort Leavenworth Hall of Fame now includes 118 members following the official induction of four new members, including the first three women, in a ceremony May 20 in the Lewis and Clark Center’s Eisenhower Auditorium.
Inductees included Gen. Leonard Gerow, retired Brig. Gen. Elizabeth Hoisington, retired Brig. Gen. Sherian Cadoria and Elizabeth Schenck-Smith.
“I’d like to thank all those involved in making today’s event a truly professional ceremony that honors four remarkable leaders who have positively contributed to the history, heritage and traditions of Fort Leavenworth and the United States Army,” said Maj. Gen. Donn Hill, Combined Arms Center deputy commanding general for education and Command and General Staff College deputy commandant. “All of these great Americans have led change during some difficult times in our nation’s history. Today’s hallmark ceremony will continue to preserve their untiring efforts and contributions to make the Army and Fort Leavenworth a better place to work and live.”
The Fort Leavenworth HOF was established in 1969 by the Henry Leavenworth Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army and Fort Leavenworth leaders to honor “outstanding members of the Army, who after being stationed at Fort Leavenworth, significantly contributed to the history, heritage and traditions of the Army,” according to the CAC website.
Shadowboxes with each inductee’s portrait and citation of his or her contributions to the Army are displayed in the Lewis and Clark Center atrium. The HOF is organized by eras, including the pre-Civil War era; the Civil War to World War I era; the World War I and II era; the Korea, Vietnam and Cold War era; and the post-Cold War era.
Gerow commissioned into the Army as an infantry officer from Virginia Military Institute in 1911. He closely served alongside Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Gen. George Patton and is most known for his role in planning the invasion of Normandy during World War II.
Gerow graduated from CGSC in 1926 and served as its commandant from 1946 to 1948.
Retired Lt. Col. Jade Hinman offered some of Gerow’s biography in a pre-recorded video message. Hinman, while attending the School of Advanced Military Studies, wrote his Master of Military Arts and Sciences monograph on Gerow. The monograph was titled: “When the Japanese Bombed the Huertgen Forest: How the Army’s Investigation of Pearl Harbor Influenced the Outcome of the Huertgen Forest, Major General Leonard T. Gerow and His Command of V Corps.”
“I’m honored to be here today helping to induct into the Fort Leavenworth Hall of Fame one of the most unsung and deserving inductees,” Hinman said. “His legacy deserves this honor.”
Hoisington joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in 1940, graduating from the WAAC Officer Candidate School in 1943. Following several leadership assignments with the WAAC, she became one of the first two women promoted to general officer rank on June 11, 1970.
Hoisington graduated from the CGSC in 1957.
Mary Beth Brown, Hoisington’s niece, accepted the award on her behalf.
“I remember very well reading the headline in The Washington Post: ‘The general is a lady,’ and how extraordinary that news was at the time. … Aunt Elizabeth entered the Army when women were auxiliaries rather than soldiers and left it when women were present at every rank and almost every specialty. She went in as a private and came out as a general,” Brown said. “The progress women have made since her time and the progress which remains to be made in no way diminishes the scope of her generation’s contributions. She was at the forefront of these changes throughout her career.
“Elizabeth could seem rather brusque, but she was a most generous spirit and had a deep faith and love of family,” she said. “Elizabeth’s loyalty to family and friends echoed in her loyalty to the Women’s Army Corps. … Aunt Elizabeth was totally committed to duty, family, and those with whom she served. This made her an accomplished and outstanding innovator and leader, but for me she was a wonderful, loving aunt.”
Cadoria commissioned into the WAC in 1961 and deployed to Vietnam in 1967. In 1971, she became the first African-American woman to attend and graduate from CGSC, and in 1979, she became the first female graduate of the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. She was also the first woman in the Army to command a male battalion and, in 1985, became the first woman in the Military Police Corps to become a general officer.
Cadoria told stories of difficulties she faced serving as a Black female soldier including being the only one left standing during the officer training course after the other three Black women quit and being called a “straggler” when arriving in Vietnam because they didn’t know what to do with a female soldier. But, she said, classmates, fellow soldiers and senior officers, including Hoisington, became her allies.
“This is what the Army is all about. People sticking together, and when we fight, we fight the enemy who has really done something to us,” Cadoria said. “Your senior people are always there for you in times when you need them.
“Today, my heart is full, but I want all of you in here to know that no matter what you do, do it well. No matter what anybody says to you, you stand up to them even if you end up being the only person standing up in the end,” she said. “Don’t ever let anybody cause you to go astray when you want to do something really good and improve yourself. … Work together, be strong.”
Smith founded the Fort Leavenworth Women’s Club, now the Fort Leavenworth Spouses’ Club, in October 1920 in response to the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. She served as the club’s president until 1921. She also founded the Fort Leavenworth Parent-Teacher Association, the first of its kind established in Kansas.
Heather Alvarado, FLSC president, accepted the award on Smith’s behalf.
“Here we are, 100 years later. The message (of the FLSC) has changed over the years, but the overall principle remains: Improve the quality of life for those around you,” Alvarado said. “Mrs. Schenck-Smith improved the lives of many. … Today, the members of the … FLSC are dedicated to improving the quality of life to our members, Fort Leavenworth, the surrounding communities and the greater military.”