United States Army General. He was the commander of United States Forces during the war in Vietnam, commanding American military operations there from 1964 to 1968 and serving as United States Army Chief of Staff from 1968 to 1972. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1932 after attending one year at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, and following graduation and commissioning in 1936 he became an artillery officer. He served in several commands and achieved the rank of Colonel during combat operations in the European theater during World War II. His experience with the 82nd Airborne led to his assignment by General James M. Gavin as a regimental commander in the 82nd Airborne Division after the war, which was the beginning of his professional association with airborne and airmobile troops. He served with the 82nd Airborne for four years, and during the Korean War, he commanded the 187th Regimental Combat Team. Promoted to Brigadier General in 1953, he spent five years assigned to the Pentagon, then assumed command of the 101st Airborne Division in 1958 and in 1960 became Superintendent of West Point. In 1963 he was assigned as commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps, and later that year he became deputy commander of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, assuming command of MACV from General Paul Harkins in 1964. He oversaw the escalation of United States involvement in the war and served as overall commander until he was replaced by General Creighton Abrams after the 1968 Tet Offensive. He spent many years after his retirement defending both his role and the United States role in the Viet Nam conflict, often stating his belief that the war was not lost, rather, the objectives went unfinished. He died of natural causes in Charleston.
Bio by: Fred Beisser