President Ike and the Interstate Highway System

Presidential History Blog

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Ike – the WWI tank officer

POTUS Ike: The Early Advocate

Dwight D. Eisenhower was a Lt. Colonel in the US Army in 1917, when US participation in The Great War began. He was deeply disappointed that he was not assigned to active military service abroad; instead he was posted to the transportation sector, particularly its newest technology: tanks.

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A typical road circa 1920.

Realizing that military needs and public safety were intricately tied to our increasingly mobile society, the Army undertook a cross-country transportation maneuver from Washington DC to California.

It took 62 days involving 81vehicles of various description, a task-force of 24 officers and 258 enlisted men, and an average speed of 6 miles per hour, or just under 60 miles a day. It was a huge and grueling undertaking. Ike went along, and was charged with writing one of the reports. He indicated that while the infrastructure…

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