Samuel Rockenbach

Samuel Dickerson Rockenbach (27 January 1869 – 16 May 1952) was an American Brigadier General and father of the United States Tank Corps.

Samuel Dickerson Rockenbach
Samuel Dickerson Rockenbach circa 1918.jpg
Rockenbach circa 1918
Personal details
Born(1869-01-27)January 27, 1869
Lynchburg, Virginia
DiedMay 16, 1952(1952-05-16) (aged 83)
EducationVirginia Military Institute (1892)
AwardsArmy Distinguished Service Medal
Military service
Years of service1891 - 1933
RankBrigadier General


Samuel Rockenbach was born on January 27, 1869 in Lynchburg, Virginia. He attended the Virginia Military Institute, where he graduated third in the class of 1889.[1]

He married Emma Baldwin, who was the daughter of Theodore Anderson Baldwin.[1]

Rockenbach was the commander of Kemper Military School and also served in the Missouri Militia.[1] He received a commission in the United States Cavalry in 1891.[2] He served repeatedly with John J. Pershing, including serving as quartermaster during the Pancho Villa Expedition.[2]

During World War IEdit

In December 1917, he was appointed by Pershing to command the AEF's Tank Corps.[3] In 1918, Rockenbach organized, trained, equipped, and deployed the first American tank units to the European Western Front during World War I.[4]

After World War IEdit

He remained chief of the Tanks Corps until 1920. He directed the tank school at Fort Meade, Maryland until 1924.[5]

From 1928 to his retirement in 1933, he commanded the Second Artillery Brigade at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.[1]

Rockenbach died on May 16, 1952.[1]


Rockenbach received the Army Distinguished Service Medal.[6]


His papers are held by the Virginia Military Institute.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e Davis Jr., Henry Blaine (1998). Generals in Khaki. Pentland Press, Inc. pp. 313–314. ISBN 1571970886. OCLC 40298151.
  2. ^ a b Hacker, Barton C.; Vining, Margaret (2006). American Military Technology: The Life Story of a Technology. Greenwood Press. p. 66. ISBN 0313333084. OCLC 62342068.
  3. ^ Pershing, John J. (2013). My Life Before the World War, 1860-1917: A Memoir. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. p. 317. ISBN 9780813141978.
  4. ^ Samuel D. Rockenbach, "The Rockenbach Report: Operations of the Tank Corps A.E.F." (Silver Spring, MD: Dale Street Books, 2016), pp. 9-21.
  5. ^ Hacker, Barton C.; Vining, Margaret (2006). American Military Technology: The Life Story of a Technology. Greenwood Press. p. 67. ISBN 0313333084. OCLC 62342068.
  6. ^ "Valor awards for Samuel D. Rockenbach".
  7. ^ "VMI Archives Catalog - Samuel D. Rockenbach Papers".