John Joseph Pershing began his career as a schoolteacher in Missouri when a notice in the paper inspired him to give the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York a try. By his last year, he had earned the honor of being chosen first captain of the Corps of Cadets. His later military postings and combat experiences in places such as Cuba and Mexico provided him with valuable knowledge. During the First World War General John Pershing was the commander of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) in Europe. After the war he was promoted to general of the armies, a position previously held only by George Washington. Toward the end of his life he spent a great deal of time writing his memoirs, My Experiences in the World War, which won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1932.