US Presidential Cabinet Secretary. From 1961 until 1969, he served as the United States Secretary of State during the administrations of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Born David Dean Rusk, in Cherokee County, Georgia, into impoverished circumstances, his father was a Presbyterian minster whom struggled with illness for which forced him into the occupation of farmer, his mother was a schoolteacher. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Davidson College in North Carolina and during his collegiate years, he distinguished himself as a standout athlete whom participated on the school' s basketball team. After attending Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship, he attained his Bachelors of Science and Master of Arts degrees from St. John's College. After the United States was thrust into World War II, Rusk enlisted with the Army and was stationed in the China-Burma-India Theater. He attained the rank of colonel and was the recipient of the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Clusters. It was during this period in which Rusk developed a vast knowledge of the region for which served him well during his tenure as US Secretary of State. After his return home, he served as an advisor to General George Marshall and later Secretary of State Dean Acheson. From 1952 until his appointment by President Kennedy for Secretary of State, Rusk served as president of the Rockefeller Foundation for which prioritized efforts in improving environmental conditions for poor nations worldwide. As Secretary of State, Rusk provided key advisement to President Kennedy during the "Cuban Missile Crisis" (1962) and recommended the "quarantine" policy which prevented Soviet vessels from transporting additional missiles. After the Soviets backed down, Rusk made the famous quote "We've been eyeball to eyeball and the other fellow just blinked." Following President Kennedy's assassination, Rusk remained on President Johnson's cabinet and during that period, he was a stalwart supporter of the administration's policy on the Vietnam conflict. After leaving Washington, DC in 1969, he returned to his native Georgia where he taught law at the University of Georgia. Additionally, he was the author of several books. He died at the age of 85 in Athens, Georgia.
Bio by: C.S.
Virginia Foisie Rusk