Recently, I was wondering why the United States armed forces didn't have the rank of field marshal, despite a bunch of other countries using the title for their highest-ranking officers. We actually had a functionally very similar role several times throughout history, but it was called General of the Army, first established for Ulysses S. Grant in 1866. The most recent time it was instated, the title was bestowed upon future-Secretary of State George C. Marshall, and part of the reason that they didn't use the title marshal was to avoid having to call him Field Marshal Marshall, which was considered "undignified". Another reason that the military ultimately chose to not go with the term was that marshal was already in use for local law enforcement, and they wanted to prevent confusion between U.S. Marshals and potential Field Marshals.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.