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Minnesota Military Museum honors one of state's most distinguished soldiers

CAMP RIPLEY -- The Minnesota Military Museum at Camp Ripley reports it is proud to honor one of Minnesota's most distinguished soldiers and a former mayor of Minneapolis in the Featured Veteran exhibit.

Maj. Gen. George E. Leach, one of Minnesota's most distinguished soldiers, is featured in the Minnesota Military Museum at Camp Ripley.
Maj. Gen. George E. Leach, one of Minnesota's most distinguished soldiers, is featured in the Minnesota Military Museum at Camp Ripley.

CAMP RIPLEY - The Minnesota Military Museum at Camp Ripley reports it is proud to honor one of Minnesota's most distinguished soldiers and a former mayor of Minneapolis in the Featured Veteran exhibit.

Maj. Gen. George E. Leach was born in 1876. He was raised in Minneapolis and attended public schools, eventually graduating from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1897. He enlisted as a private in "B" Battery of the 1st Minnesota Field Artillery and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1905.

In 1916, the Minnesota National Guard was ordered to active federal service to deal with problems on the border with Mexico. Maj. George Leach commanded the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Minnesota Field Artillery Regiment.

During World War I, Leach commanded the 151st Field Artillery Regiment, which was assigned to the 42nd Rainbow Division under Gen. Douglas McArthur, who regarded Leach as the finest artillery officer in the army.

Leach was elected mayor of Minneapolis in 1921, 1923, 1927, 1937 and 1939. He ran for governor in 1926 and 1938. As mayor, Leach fought hard against the spreading influence of the Ku Klux Klan in Minnesota.

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In 1931, Leach was appointed chief of the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C. and in 1937 he was elected president of the National Guard Association.

He commanded the 34th Infantry Division from 1940-41 while it underwent vigorous training and preparations for its eventual participation in World War II. He retired from the Army in 1941.

Leach married Anita M. Churcher in 1924 and they had two children.

He passed away July 17, 1955, and is buried at the Fort Snelling National Veteran's Cemetery.

The public is invited to view the entire exhibit on MG Leach at the Minnesota Military Museum, which is the only museum in the state representing Minnesotans in all branches of service from frontier days to the present. Winter hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, with group tours by appointment.

For more information, call 320-616-6050 or email www.mnmilitarymuseum.org .

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