Frederick’s leadership of the joint U.S.-Canadian force has become legendary. A colonel when he was tasked with commanding the unit, he was promoted to brigadier general in January 1944 after the success of the FSSF in the mountains of Italy. The promotion did not lessen his desire to lead from the front. The citation for his second Distinguished Service Cross, earned during the liberation of Rome in June 1944, says General Frederick, “wounded three times during the day… moved from place to place, constantly under fire, to control his units.”

    After Rome, Frederick was given six weeks to create an airborne unit for the invasion of southern France. Promoted to Major General, he led the First Airborne Task Force in a night time jump behind German coastal installations on August 15. Frederick was wounded during the assault, receiving his eighth Purple Heart — more than anyone in WWII. Winston Churchill called him “the greatest fighting general of all time.”

    Four months later, he was given command of the 45th Division at age 37, becoming the youngest division commander in the war. He led the division through difficult battles in northeastern France, before crossing into Germany and taking Aschaffenburg, Nuremberg, Dachau, and Munich.

    Major General Robert Tryon Frederick retired from the Army in 1952 at age 45. He died in 1970 and is buried in the Presidio at the San Francisco National Cemetery. Frederick during Nordic ski training at Helena, Montana