Mickey Marcus was born in New York 1901 and at the age of 20, joined the American Army and underwent the Officer's Training Course at West Point. Despite having no paratrooper training, he volunteered and jumped into Normandy on D-Day.
When the war ended, Colonel Marcus helped draft the surrender terms for Italy and Germany and was placed in charge of sustaining the millions of starving people liberated by the Allied invasion of Europe, much of which involved clearing out the Nazi death camps.
After the UN Partition Plan of 1947, Ben-Gurion contacted Marcus and asked him to find him an officer that can train the fledgling Israeli army. Marcus looked, and after no one agreed to go, he volunteered himself. Marcus arrived in Israel and wrote the manuals that designed a command structure for the IDF.
A week after Israel declared its independence, Ben-Gurion appointed Marcus the Commander of the Jerusalem Front, and named him Lieutenant General, making him the first general in a Jewish army in two thousand years. Marcus was in charge of building the Burma Road, the road that was used to break the Arab siege of Jerusalem.
A few hours before the ceasefire on June 11, 1948, Marcus went for a walk outside of his base at Abu Gosh, when a young soldier on guard duty asked for the password. Marcus, not knowing
Hebrew, was unable to answer, and the soldier shot and killed Marcus.
Marcus' body was flown back to West Point to be buried as the only soldier to ever be buried not fighting for the USA.
"Marcus was the best man we had.”
-- David Ben-Gurion
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