Melvin Robert Laird

Melvin Robert Laird

Birth
Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, USA
Death 16 Nov 2016 (aged 94)
Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Section 34 Grave 75
Memorial ID 172831191 · View Source
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US Presidential Cabinet Secretary, US Congressman. He served as the tenth United States Secretary of Defense during the Administration of President Richard M. Nixon from 1969 until 1973. A member of the Republican Party, he served the 7th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives from 1953 until 1969. Raised in Wisconsin, his father served as a state senator. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree from Carleton College, he was stationed in the Pacific Theater with the United States Navy during World War II. While on-board an aircraft carrier, he was struck by shrapnel after a Japanese kamikaze plane crashed into the ship's deck and exploded. From this experience, he was awarded a Purple Heart. Upon his return home, Laird entered the political arena, when he succeeded his father in the Wisconsin State Senate after the elder Laird's death. He was elected to the US Congress in 1952 and during his tenure, he earned the reputation as a conservative who spearheaded efforts to reduce taxes, as well as eliminate useless spending within the military. Laird was also known for his anti-Vietmam stance. While serving as Secretary of Defense, he oversaw the Vietnamization program and was instrumental in shifting the military towards becoming all-volunteer. Laird (unlike his predecessor, Robert S. McNamara) placed budgeting in the hands of the military. He was a proponent of the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT). He left his cabinet position in January 1973, however he returned to serve as a counsellor for Domestic Affairs to President Nixon in June of that year. After leaving Washington, he served as a senior counselor for the Reader's Digest Association. During the 1980s, Laird served as an adviser to the Reagan Administration in matters regarding the arms race with the Soviet Union. In 1962, he authored the book "A House Divided" with defense and foreign policy as the subject matter.

Bio by: C.S.


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: C.S.
  • Added: 16 Nov 2016
  • Find A Grave Memorial 172831191
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Melvin Robert Laird (1 Sep 1922–16 Nov 2016), Find A Grave Memorial no. 172831191, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .