By Chris J. Hartley The United States had not yet entered World War II when Time magazine noted that the Army had created two new armored divisions. The commander of one of the divisions, said the magazine, was worthy of note. Selected to command the 3rd Armored Division “was an alert, progressive officer with an old Army name: Brigadier General Alvan Cullom Gillem, Jr.”The magazine was right to notice. Gillem was destined to help change the U.S. Army forever. Two Foreign Expeditions Born in 1888, Gillem graduated from high school in Pacific Grove, California, where he was a track star. After attending the University of Arizona for a year, he transferred to the University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee, where he became one of the school’s best athletes, excelling at track, baseball, and football. Financial problems ended Gillem’s time at Sewanee prematurely. His father, a cavalry colonel, could not afford to keep two sons in college on his Army salary, so Gillem left school voluntarily in 1910 to make way for his younger brother, an even better athlete. Gillem then tried to secure an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. When that failed, he enlisted as a private in the 17th Infantry Regiment at Ft. McPherson, Georgia. A year later, Gillem was promoted second lieutenant. After an initial assignment at the Presidio in San Francisco, Gillem went to the Philippines in July 1911 with the 12th Infantry Regiment before joining Maj. Gen. John J. Per


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