Reflections on Colonel Mickey Marcus

Dr. Joseph Frager,

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Dr. Joseph Frager
The writer is a leading American pro-Israel activist who sponsors and coordinates many Zionist events. He is clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine (Gastroenterology & Liver Diseases) at the Einstein School of Medicine as well as a practicing physician.

At the beginning of the historic Pete Hegseth mission to Israel this summer on the way from Ben Gurion Airport to Jerusalem the subject of Colonel Mickey Marcus came up. Colonel Marcus has always been an inspiration to me and to so many others.

Kirk Douglas played his role well in the 1966 movie "Cast a Giant Shadow". He was a United States West Point Graduate who was offered the rank of Brigadier General in the U.S. Army after his service in World War II. He chose to return to civilian life and his law practice instead. As fate would have it he became Israel's first Brigadier General ever. In 1947 David ben Gurion asked Colonel Mickey Marcus to recruit an American officer to serve as a military advisor to the Haganah. Marcus volunteered himself.

The U.S. War Dept. agreed provided he disguised his name and rank to avoid problems with the British in Palestine. He used the name "Michael Stone". He designed a command and control structure for the Haganah. He helped Israel break the siege of Jerusalem by building the "Burma Road to Jerusalem". The road through difficult hill terrain was the topic of conversation with Major Pete Hegseth as we approached Jerusalem on August 15th. Pete and his wife Samantha were fascinated by the life of Colonel "Mickey" (David Daniel) Marcus but were stunned when they heard that he was killed by an 18 year old Israeli soldier on sentry duty because Col. Marcus had a limited knowledge of Hebrew.

Col. Marcus' grave is the only one in the West Point cemetery at the United States Military Academy for an American killed fighting under the flag of another country. His gravestone at West Point reads: "Colonel David Marcus-a Soldier for All Humanity". In January 2015 Israel's President Reuven Rivlin visited the United States Military Academy at West Point and spoke at Marcus' grave: "For me he was the first General of the IDF in every sense of the word.

He had a sense of purpose and mission in the establishment of the Israel Defense Forces, he taught us how to act as an army in our early days, and was one of Ben-Gurion's greatest military advisors. There is no one who better illustrates the bond between Israel and the United States." Col. Mickey Marcus' memory should serve as a Blessing to us all.