John Joseph Pershing was born in Linn County, Missouri in 1860. After a period as a schoolteacher he went to West Point Military Academy where he eventually became one of its military instructors. Later he held a similar post at Nebraska University.
Pershing served on frontier duty against the Sioux and Apache (1886-1898) and in the Cuban War (1898). Pershing gained further military experience in the Philippines (1903) and with the Japanese Army during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05). This was followed by the military campaign against Pancho Villa in Mexico in 1917.
In 1917 Pershing was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the American Expeditionary Force in Europe. His belief that his fit, fresh troops could break the deadlock on the Western Front had to be revised in the first-half of 1918. However, he won praise for his excellent victory at St Mihiel in September, 1918.
Pershing argued for a complete military victory and punitive cease-fire terms. After the war Pershing was highly critical of the Treaty of Versailles. In 1921 Pershing became Chief of Staff of the US Army and later wrote My Experience of War (1931). John Joseph Pershing died in 1948.