Brehon B. Somervell was in Little Rock, Arkansas, on 9 May 1892. In 1910, he received an appointment to the U. S. Military academy, he graduated 4 years later sixth in a group of 106 cadets and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers. He served with distinction in various jobs throughout his stellar career. However, it was the onset of World War II that allowed him to demonstrate his logistical prowess.
During the summer of 1941, he became the principal planner for what would eventually become the War Department’s massive home. It took less than 4 days to develop plans for what is now known as the Pentagon. In April 1942, barely 9 months after Somervell dreamed up the building, that first employees moved in at a rate of nearly 1,000 a week.
In 1941, Alaska, which was accessible only by sea and air, began to take on an important role in America’s strategic posture. As the G-4, while a highway was being built, General Somervell was responsible for supplying both Alaska and military units along the route. The full impact of the construction of the Alcan Highway continues to be felt within the economies of the cities established along the highway, as it opened Alaska, Northwest Canda, and the Yukon to tourists and travelers providing better transportation and communication.
General Somervell’s work as the Army’s chief logistician during World War II was marked by a consistent ability to get things done. Drawing upon the managerial skills that he had developed before the war, surrounding himself with skilled subordinates, infusing his organization with his own driving personality, and recognizing that logistics was a major key to victory, he spared no effort to ensure that the American Soldier had everything needed to win the war.
The General Brehon B. Somervell Coin-Medallion of Excellence - The General Brehon B. Somervell medal is a decorative honorary medal. It is awarded to US military or Department of Defense civilian personnel with 25 or more years of sustainment experience in the area of Logistics, emphasizing multifunctional support (or at least two or more functional ares of sustainment). It is not awarded to contractor and foreign national personnel. This honorary medal is not awarded as a PCS award or change of duty position award.