The Minnesota Military Museum is honoring one of Minnesota’s most distinguished soldiers and a former mayor of Minneapolis, in the Featured Veteran exhibit.
Major General 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. Leach commanded the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Minnesota Field Artillery Regiment.
In World War l, Leach commanded the 151st Field Artillery Regiment which was assigned to the 42nd Rainbow Division under General 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 in1926 and 1938. As mayor, Leach fought hard against the spreading influence of the Ku Klux Klan in Minnesota.
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 Ft Snelling National Veterans Cemetery.
The public is invited to view the entire exhibit on MG Leach at the Minnesota Military Museum located at Camp Ripley. The Museum is the only museum in the state representing Minnesotans in all branches of service from frontier days to the present.
Winter hours are Thursdays and Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., with group tours available by appointment.