Creighton Abrams

Creighton Williams Abrams Jr. (September 15, 1914 – September 4, 1974) was a United States Army general who commanded military operations in the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1972,[1][2] which saw United States troop strength in South Vietnam reduced from a peak of 543,000 to 49,000. He was then Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1972 until his death.[1][2]

In 1980, the United States Army named its then new main battle tank, the M1 Abrams, after him. The IG Farben building in Germany was also named after Abrams from 1975 to 1995.

Creighton Abrams Jr.
GEN Creighton W Abrams
General Creighton W. Abrams
BornSeptember 15, 1914
Springfield, Massachusetts
DiedSeptember 4, 1974 (aged 59)
Walter Reed General Hospital, Washington, D.C.
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1936–1974
Commands heldChief of Staff of the United States Army
Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
V Corps
3rd Armored Division
2d Armored Cavalry Regiment
63rd Armor Regiment
Combat Command B, 4th Armored Division
37th Tank Battalion
Battles/warsWorld War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
AwardsDistinguished Service Cross (2)
Defense Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Army Distinguished Service Medal (5)
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star (2)
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal
RelationsBrigadier General Creighton W. Abrams III (son)
General John N. Abrams (son)
General Robert B. Abrams (son)

Military career

Early career

Abrams graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1936 (ranked 185th of 276 in the class),[3][4] and served with the 1st Cavalry Division from 1936 to 1940, being promoted to first lieutenant in 1939 and temporary captain in 1940.

Abrams became an armor officer early in the development of that branch and served as a tank company commander in the 1st Armored Division in 1940.

World War II

4th US Armored Division SSI
4th U.S. Armored Division

During World War II, Abrams served in the 4th Armored Division, initially as regimental adjutant (June 1941 – June 1942), battalion commander (July 1942 – March 1943), and regiment executive officer (March 1943 – September 1943) with the 37th Armor Regiment. In September 1943, a reorganization of the division redesignated the 37th Armor Regiment to the 37th Tank Battalion, which Abrams commanded; he also commanded Combat Command B of the division during the Battle of the Bulge.

During this time Abrams was promoted to the temporary ranks of major (February 1942), lieutenant colonel (September 1942), and colonel (April 1945). Abrams was promoted to lieutenant colonel eleven days before his 28th birthday.

During much of this time, the 4th Armored Division (led by the 37th Tank Battalion) was the spearhead for General George S. Patton's Third Army, and he was consequently well known as an aggressive armor commander. By using his qualities as a leader and by consistently exploiting the relatively small advantages of speed and reliability of his vehicles, he managed to defeat German forces that had the advantage of superior armor and superior guns. He was twice decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism on September 20 and December 26, 1944. General George Patton said of him: "I'm supposed to be the best tank commander in the Army, but I have one peer — Abe Abrams. He's the world champion."[5] Frequently the spearhead of the Third Army during World War II, Abrams was one of the leaders in the relief effort that broke up the German entrenchments surrounding Bastogne and the 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge. In April 1945, he was promoted to (temporary (brevet)) colonel but reverted to lieutenant colonel during the post-war demobilization. On April 23, 1945, Will Lang Jr. wrote a biography of Abrams called "Colonel Abe" for Life.

Interbellum and Korean War

Following the war, Abrams served on the Army General Staff (1945–46), as head of the department of tactics at the Armored School, Fort Knox (1946–48), and graduated from the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth (1949).

Abrams commanded the 63rd Tank Battalion, part of the 1st Infantry Division, in Europe (1949–51). He was again promoted to colonel and commanded the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (1951–52). These units were important assignments due to the Cold War concern for potential invasion of western Europe by the Soviet Union. He then attended and graduated from the Army War College in 1953.

Due to Abrams' service in Europe and his War College tour, he joined the Korean War late in the conflict. He successively served as chief of staff of the I, X, and IX Corps in Korea (1953–1954).

Staff assignments and division command

Upon Abrams' return from Korea, he served as Chief of Staff of the Armor Center, Fort Knox (1954–56). He was promoted to brigadier general and appointed deputy chief of staff for reserve components at the Pentagon (1956–59). He was assistant division commander of 3rd Armored Division (1959–60) and then commanded the division (1960–62) upon his promotion to major general. He was transferred to the Pentagon as deputy Chief of Staff for Operations (1962–63), then was promoted to lieutenant general and commanded V Corps in Europe (1963–1964).

Abrams was on the cover of Time magazine three times in ten years: 1961 (October 13),[6] 1968 (April 19),[7] and 1971 (February 15).[8]

Vietnam War

Abrams watches Bob Hope at Long Binh in South Vietnam

Abrams was promoted to general in 1964 and appointed Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army, but not before being seriously considered as a candidate for Chief of Staff. Due to concerns about the conduct of the Vietnam War, he was appointed as deputy to his West Point classmate, General William Westmoreland, commander of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, in May 1967.

Abrams succeeded Westmoreland as commander on June 10, 1968, although his tenure of command was not marked by the public optimism of his predecessors, who were prone to press conferences and public statements. While Westmoreland had for years run the war using search-and-destroy tactics, these gave way to the clear-and-hold strategies that Abrams was keen to implement. Under his authority, American forces were broken up into small units that would live with and train the South Vietnamese civilians to defend their villages from guerrilla or conventional Northern incursions with heavy weapons. Abrams also devoted vastly more time than his predecessor had to expanding, training, and equipping the ARVN.

In contrast to Westmoreland, Abrams implemented counterinsurgency tactics that focused on winning the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese rural population. A joint military-civilian organization named Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support under CIA official William Colby carried out the hearts and minds programs. According to a colonel cited in Men's Journal, there was more continuity than change in Vietnam after Abrams succeeded Westmoreland.[a]

This hearts and minds strategy was successful in reducing the influence of the guerrilla forces in South Vietnam, but the Vietnam War increasingly became a conventional war between the military forces of South Vietnam and North Vietnam. Following the election of President Richard Nixon, Abrams began implementing the Nixon Doctrine referred to as Vietnamization. The doctrine aimed to decrease United States involvement in Vietnam. With this new goal, Abrams had decreased American troop strength from a peak of 543,000 in early 1969 to 49,000 in June 1972. The South Vietnamese forces with aerial support from the United States repelled a full-scale NVA Easter Offensive in 1972.

That same year, Abrams stepped down from the Military Assistance Command. However, while Abrams was changing the way the war was fought, the prolonged efforts and expense of the war had by then exhausted much of the American public and political support. Abrams disdained most of the politicians with whom he was forced to deal, in particular Robert McNamara and McGeorge Bundy, and had an even lower opinion of defense contractors whom he accused of war profiteering.

Abrams was also in charge of the Cambodian Incursion in 1970. President Nixon seemed to hold Abrams in high regard, and often relied on his advice. In a tape-recorded conversation between Nixon and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger on December 9, 1970, Nixon told Kissinger about Abrams' thoughts on intervention in Cambodia that: "If Abrams strongly recommends it we will do it."[10] Troop levels in Vietnam eventually reached 25,000 in January 1973, at the time of the four power Paris Peace Accords. Although it occurred before he assumed total command, Abrams bore the brunt of fallout from the My Lai massacre in March 1968.

Chief of Staff

Abrams was appointed Chief of Staff of the United States Army by Nixon in June 1972.[11] However, he was not confirmed by the United States Senate until October, due to political repercussions involving accusations of unauthorized bombings. It has also been reported that Congress had delayed the confirmation to question the administration's war in Cambodia. During this time, Abrams began the transition to the all-volunteer army, also known as Project VOLAR.

In January 1974, Abrams directed the formation of a Ranger battalion. The 1st Battalion (Ranger), 75th Infantry, was activated and parachuted into Fort Stewart, Georgia, on July 1; the 2nd Battalion (Ranger), 75th Infantry followed with activation on October 1. The 3rd Battalion, 75th Infantry (Ranger), and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 75th Infantry (Ranger), received their colors a decade later on October 3, 1984, at Fort Benning, Georgia. The 75th Ranger Regiment was designated in February 1986.[12] The modern Ranger battalions owe their existence to Abrams and his charter:

The battalion is to be an elite, light, and the most proficient infantry in the world. A battalion that can do things with its hands and weapons better than anyone. The battalion will contain no 'hoodlums or brigands' and if the battalion is formed from such persons, it will be disbanded. Wherever the battalion goes, it must be apparent that it is the best.

Abrams served as Chief of Staff until his death on September 4, 1974.

Personal life

Born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, he was the son of Nellie Louise (Randall) and Creighton Abrams, a railroad worker.[13] Abrams married Julia Berthe Harvey (1915–2003) in 1936. She founded the army group of Arlington Ladies and devoted time to humanitarian causes.[14]

The Abramses had three sons and three daughters. All three sons became Army general officers: retired Brigadier General Creighton Williams Abrams III, General John Nelson Abrams, and General Robert Bruce Abrams. Daughters Noel Bradley, Jeanne Daley, and Elizabeth Doyle all married army officers.

Abrams converted to Catholicism during his time in Vietnam; he was raised as Methodist Protestant.[15][16]

A heavy cigar smoker, Abrams died at age 59 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., from complications of surgery to remove a cancerous lung.[2] He is buried with his wife Julia in Section 21 of Arlington National Cemetery. She died at age 87 on January 31, 2003, also at Walter Reed.

Awards and decorations

His awards and decorations include:

Bronze oak leaf cluster
Distinguished Service Cross ribbon
Distinguished Service Cross with bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Distinguished Service Medal ribbon
Defense Distinguished Service Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal ribbon
Army Distinguished Service Medal with four bronze oak leaf clusters
Air Force Distinguished Service ribbon Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Silver Star Medal ribbon
Silver Star with bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit ribbon
Legion of Merit with bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze Star Medal ribbon
Bronze Star Medal with V device
Joint Service Commendation Medal ribbon Joint Service Commendation Medal
American Defense Service Medal ribbon American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal ribbon American Campaign Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon
European–African–Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four bronze campaign stars
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal ribbon Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal ribbon World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation ribbon Army of Occupation Medal
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal ribbon
National Defense Service Medal with one bronze service star
Bronze star
Korean Service Medal ribbon
Korean Service Medal with bronze campaign star
Silver star
Silver star
Vietnam Service Medal ribbon
Vietnam Service Medal with two silver campaign stars
United Nations Service Medal Korea ribbon United Nations Korea Medal
Republic of Korea War Service Medal ribbon Korean War Service Medal

U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Presidential Unit Citation ribbon
  Army Presidential Unit Citation

U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Presidential Unit Citation ribbon

Korean Presidential Unit Citation
  Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation (Army Version)

Korean Presidential Unit Citation

Dates of rank

Insignia Rank Component Date
Cadet United States Military Academy July 1, 1932
US-O1 insignia.svg
Second lieutenant Regular Army June 12, 1936
US-O2 insignia.svg
 First lieutenant Regular Army June 12, 1939
US-O3 insignia.svg
 Captain Army of the United States September 9, 1940
US-O4 insignia.svg
 Major Army of the United States February 1, 1942
US-O5 insignia.svg
 Lieutenant colonel Army of the United States September 3, 1942
US-O6 insignia
 Colonel Army of the United States April 21, 1945
US-O5 insignia.svg
 Lieutenant colonel Army of the United States June 1, 1946
US-O3 insignia.svg
 Captain Regular Army June 12, 1946
US-O4 insignia.svg
 Major Regular Army July 1, 1948[17]
US-O6 insignia
 Colonel Army of the United States June 29, 1951
US-O5 insignia.svg
 Lieutenant colonel Regular Army July 7, 1953
US-O7 insignia.svg
 Brigadier general Army of the United States February 7, 1956
US Army O8 shoulderboard rotated  Major general Army of the United States November 28, 1960
US Army O6 shoulderboard rotated  Colonel Regular Army June 12, 1961
US Army O7 shoulderboard rotated  Brigadier general Regular Army July 19, 1962
US Army O8 shoulderboard rotated  Major general Regular Army May 23, 1963
US Army O9 shoulderboard rotated  Lieutenant general Army of the United States August 1, 1963
US Army O10 shoulderboard rotated  General Army of the United States September 4, 1964


  1. ^ 'That claim touches a nerve when put to Gentile. "We don't know how Iraq is going to turn out", he snaps. With that, the colonel returns to his binders. They hold reams of cable communiqués from Vietnam war commander General William Westmoreland and his successor, General Creighton Abrams. Westmoreland embodied the traditional approach: a hard-charging, hammer-swinging leader who used search-and-destroy tactics that focused on the enemy. Abrams favored counterinsurgency methods, and focused on winning the hearts and minds of the population. History remembers Westmoreland poorly for his role in Vietnam, and Abrams as the general who would have rescued victory if he hadn't run out of time. Gentile feels otherwise. "People think we were losing in Vietnam, and oh, a better general with better tactics came in and saved the day," he says, waving his arms for emphasis. "Nonsense." That's what led Gentile to dig through antique war correspondence from two dead generals. "There was more continuity than change in Vietnam after Abrams arrived," he says — people have it backward. And in a way he's right: Westmoreland once declared that the jungles of Vietnam were "no place for either tank or mechanized infantry units." And Abrams — well, the Army named a tank after the guy." Abrams, Gentile feels, showed up just in time to snatch the scraps of glory.'- quoted from Matthew Teague in Men's Journal[9]


  1. ^ a b "Army Chief Abrams dies at 59, directed U.S. forces in Vietnam". New York Times. Associated Press. September 4, 1974. p. 1.
  2. ^ a b c "Gen. Abrams dead at 59". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. September 4, 1974. p. 1.
  3. ^ Harper Encyclopedia of Military Biography; Trevor N. Dupuy, Curt Johnson, David L. Bongard; HarperCollins 1992
  4. ^ Stout, David (2000-10-18). "Bruce Palmer Jr., 87; Led Forces in Vietnam". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "Nation: Pattern's Peer". Time. April 14, 1967.
  6. ^ "Third Armored's General Abrams". Time. October 13, 1961. p. (cover).
  7. ^ "General Creighton Abrams". Time. April 19, 1968. p. (cover).
  8. ^ "General Creighton Abrams". Time. February 15, 1971. p. (cover).
  9. ^ Teague, Matthew (December 2010). "Is This Any Way to Fight a War?". Men's Journal. Archived from the original on 2014-03-11.
  10. ^ Mr. Kissinger/The President (tape)
  11. ^ "Army's top job goes to Abrams". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. June 21, 1972. p. 1.
  12. ^ "Heritage – United States Army Rangers". United States Army. Retrieved 12 May 2016. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-18. Retrieved 2014-02-18.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ O'Neill, Helen. "Special lady for each Arlington soldier-Volunteers honor troops and make sure none is buried alone". Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  15. ^
  16. ^ []
  17. ^ Official Register of Commissioned Officers of the United States Army, 1948. I. 1948. p. 7.


  • Sorley, Lewis. Thunderbolt: General Creighton Abrams and the army of his time. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992. ISBN 0-671-70115-0
  • Sorely, Lewis. "A better war. The unexamined victories and final tragedy of America's last years in Vietnam". Orlando: Harcourt, 1999. ISBN 978-0-15-100266-5

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Barksdale Hamlett
Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Succeeded by
Ralph E. Haines Jr.
Preceded by
William Westmoreland
Commander, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
Succeeded by
Frederick C. Weyand
Preceded by
Bruce Palmer Jr.
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
37th Armor Regiment

The 37th Armor is an armor (tank) regiment of the United States Army. It is often remembered as the successor to the 37th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division, commanded by then Lieutenant Colonel Creighton Abrams (the namesake of the M1 Abrams) during World War II.

Abrams (surname)

Abrams is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

A. J. Abrams (Adrian Glenn Abrams Jr., born 1986), American basketball player

Albert Abrams (1863–1924), doctor, impostor

Aruna Abrams (born 1975), American singer

Cal Abrams (1924–1997), American major league baseball outfielder

Creighton Williams Abrams (1914–1974), U.S. Army general and Chief of Staff

Dan Abrams (born 1966), television talk show host

Elliott Abrams (born 1948), US foreign policy official

Elliot Abrams (meteorologist)

Floyd Abrams (born 1936), American attorney

Geoff Abrams (born 1978), American tennis player

Harry N. Abrams, American book publisher

Herbert E. Abrams (born 1920), American painter and portrait artist

J. J. Abrams (Jeffrey Jacob Abrams, born 1966), film and television producer

John N. Abrams (1946-2018), U.S. Army general and son of Creighton Abrams

LeRoy Abrams (1874–1956), American botanist

Link Abrams (born 1973), American-New Zealand former professional basketball player

Mark Abrams, social scientist

Melville E. Abrams (1912–1966), New York politician

Morris Abrams (born 1929), American inventor

Morris N. Abrams (1919–1975), Louisiana educator

M. H. Abrams (Meyer Howard Abrams, 1912–2015), literary critic

Robert Abrams (born 1938), New York politician

Robert B. Abrams (born 1960), U.S. Army general and son of Creighton Abrams

Roz Abrams (born 1949), American television journalist

Ruth Abrams (born 1930), American judge

Stacey Abrams (born 1973), American politician, lawyer, and novelist

Stephen Abrams (1938–2012), American scholar and activist

Steve Abrams (born 1949), Kansas state senator

Agawam, Massachusetts

Agawam is a city in Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 28,438 at the 2010 census. Agawam sits on the western side of the Connecticut River, directly across from Springfield, Massachusetts. It is considered part of the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is contiguous with the Knowledge Corridor area, the 2nd largest metropolitan area in New England. Agawam contains a subsection, Feeding Hills.

The Six Flags New England amusement park is located in Agawam, on the banks of the Connecticut River.

Agawam's ZIP code of 01001 is the lowest number in the continental United States (not counting codes used for specific government buildings such as the IRS).

Air Force Distinguished Service Medal

The Air Force Distinguished Service Medal was created by an act of the United States Congress on July 6, 1960. The medal was intended as a new decoration of the United States Air Force to replace the policy of awarding the Army Distinguished Service Medal to Air Force personnel.The Air Force Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to any member of the United States Air Force who has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the United States Government in a duty of great responsibility. The interpretation of the phrase "great responsibility" means that this medal is generally awarded only to officers who hold at least the rank of Major General. However, as is customary for most military decorations, the requirements for the Distinguished Service Medal are interpreted more liberally when awarded upon retirement. As a result, it is the typical decoration for a retiring Brigadier General, and in recent years it has also been awarded to the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force upon retirement.

Cases of the award of this decoration to an individual who was not a general officer, or the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, are unusual. The medal is typically awarded to senior Air Force generals. Two notable exceptions are astronauts Buzz Aldrin who was awarded this decoration even though he retired as a colonel and Colonel David Scott (who flew on Gemini 8, Apollo 9, and Apollo 15) who was awarded the medal twice.Recipients during the medal's first 6 years included General Emmett E. "Rosie" O'Donnell, Jr. (a United States Air Force four-star general who served as Commander in Chief, Pacific Air Forces from 1959 to 1963). O'Donnell also led the first B-29 Superfortress attack upon Tokyo during World War II after the 1942 Doolittle Raid.

Another early recipient of the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal was Major General Osmond J. Ritland, USAF, who received his medal on November 30, 1965, upon his retirement.Additional awards are denoted with oak leaf clusters.This award is comparable to the Department of the Air Force Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service given to civilian employees of the Department of the Air Force.

Arlington Ladies

The Arlington Ladies are a group of women who attend the funeral of every member of the United States armed forces who is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The group also includes one man who is known as the Arlington Gentleman.

The history of the group traces its existence to 1948, when Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force Hoyt Vandenberg, and his wife Gladys, witnessed young servicemembers being buried without any family members present on one of their walks through the cemetery. Just a chaplain and a military honor guard, the standard attendees, were usually present. The lack of anyone honoring the young airman being buried prompted Gladys to form a group of members of the Officers' Wives Club to attend all Air Force funerals. In 1972, the wife of Army Chief of Staff General Creighton Abrams, Julia, founded the Army's version of the group. In 1985, the Navy also followed suit by creating a group of their own. The Coast Guard Arlington Ladies group formed in 2006. The Marine Corps Arlington Ladies were established in 2016.

Originally, the women worked alone at the funerals. Escorts were eventually added as it was decided that they should appear to be a more official part of the ceremony. The escorts are also members of the Army's 3rd Infantry Regiment. The Army soldiers typically spend four months as escorts while the Navy men are permanently assigned and will spend their entire tours on assignment.The group initially included military wives, but it now includes military daughters and even a gentleman. The Army Arlington ladies must be wives or widows of Army men and be referred by a current wife. The Navy and Air Force follow similar requirements for their ladies.

Army of the Republic of Vietnam

The Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN; Vietnamese: Lục quân Việt Nam Cộng hòa), were the ground forces of the South Vietnamese military from its inception in 1955 until the Fall of Saigon in April 1975. It is estimated to have suffered 1,394,000 casualties (killed and wounded) during the Vietnam War.The ARVN began as a post-colonial army trained and closely affiliated with the United States and had engaged in conflict since its inception. Several dramatic changes occurred throughout its lifetime, initially from a 'blocking-force' to a more modern conventional force using helicopter deployment in combat. During the U.S. intervention, the role of the ARVN was marginalised to a defensive role with an incomplete modernisation, and transformed again most notably following Vietnamization as it was up-geared, expanded and reconstructed to fulfil the role of the departing U.S. forces. By 1974, it had become much more effective with foremost counterinsurgency expert and Nixon adviser Robert Thompson noting that Regular Forces were very well-trained and second only to U.S. and IDF forces in the free world and with General Creighton Abrams remarking that 70% of units were on par with the U.S. Army. However, the withdrawal of American forces through Vietnamization meant the armed forces could not effectively fulfil all the aims of the program and had become completely dependent on U.S. equipment, given it was meant to fulfill the departing role of the United States.At its peak, an estimated 1 in 9 citizens of South Vietnam were enlisted and it had become the fourth-largest army in the world composed of Regular Forces and more voluntary Regional Militias and Village-level militias.Unique in serving a dual military-civilian administrative purpose in direct competition with the Viet Cong. The ARVN had in addition became a component of political power and notably suffered from continual issues of political loyalty appointments, corruption in leadership, factional in-fighting and occasional open conflict between itself.After the fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), the ARVN was dissolved. While some high-ranking officers had fled the country to the United States or elsewhere, thousands of former ARVN officers were sent to reeducation camps by the communist government of the new, unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Five ARVN generals commit suicide to avoid capture by the PAVN/VC.

Defense Distinguished Service Medal

The Defense Distinguished Service Medal is a United States military award which is presented for exceptionally distinguished performance of duty contributing to the national security or defense of the United States. The medal was created on July 9, 1970, by President Richard Nixon in Executive Order 11545.

Israel Tal

Israel Tal (Hebrew: ישראל טל‎, September 13, 1924, – September 8, 2010), also known as Talik (Hebrew: טליק), was an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) general known for his knowledge of tank warfare and for leading the development of Israel's Merkava tank.

John N. Abrams

General John Nelson Abrams (September 3, 1946 – August 20, 2018) was a United States Army four-star general who commanded the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command from 1998 to 2002.

List of commanders of V Corps (United States)

The following general officers commanded V Corps from 1918 to 2013:

Major General William Wright, 12 July 1918-20 August 1918

Major General George Cameron, 21 August 1918 to 11 October 1918

Major General Charles Summerall, 12 October 1918 to 2 May 1919

Major General George Read, 3 May 1919 to 3 October 1922

Major General Campbell Hodges, 20 October 1940 to 16 March 1941

Major General Edmund Daley, 17 March 1941 to 19 January 1942

Major General William Key, 10 January 1942 to 19 May 1942

Major General Russell Hartle, 20 May 1942 to 14 July 1943

Major General Leonard Gerow, 15 July 1943 to 17 September 1944

Major General Edward Brooks, 18 September 1944 to 4 October 1944

Major General Leonard Gerow, 5 October 1944 to 14 January 1945

Major General Clarence Huebner, 15 January 1945 to 11 November 1945

Major General Frank Milburn, 12 November 1945 to 6 June 1946

Major General Orlando Ward, 7 June 1946 to 15 November 1946

Major General Stafford Irwin, 16 November 1946 to 31 October 1948

Lieutenant General John Hodge, 1 November 1948 to 31 August 1950

Lieutenant General John Leonard, 1 September 1950 to 18 June 1951

Brigadier General Boniface Campbell, 19 June 1951 to 1 August 1951

Major General John Dahlquist, 2 August 1951 to 4 March 1953

Major General Ira Swift, 5 March 1953 to 17 June 1954

Lieutenant General Charles Hart, 18 June 1954 to 28 March 1956

Lieutenant General Lemuel Mathewson, 29 March 1956 to 16 August 1957

Lieutenant General Francis Farrell, 17 August 1957 to 31 March 1959

Lieutenant General Paul Adams, 1 April 1959 to 30 September 1960

Lieutenant General Frederic Brown, 1 October 1960 to 28 August 1961

Lieutenant General John Waters, 29 August 1961 to 14 May 1962

Lieutenant General John Michaelis, 15 May 1962 to 14 July 1963

Lieutenant General Creighton Abrams, 15 July 1963 to 3 August 1964

Lieutenant General James Polk, 1 September 1964 to 27 February 1966

Lieutenant General George Mather, 28 February 1966 to 31 May 1967

Lieutenant General Andrew Boyle, 1 July 1967 to 31 July 1969

Lieutenant General Claire Hutchin, 15 September 1969 to 23 January 1971

Lieutenant General Willard Pearson, 14 February 1971 to 31 May 1973

Lieutenant General William Desobry, 1 June 1973 to 24 August 1975

Lieutenant General Robert Fair, 25 August 1975 to 4 January 1976

Lieutenant General Donn Starry, 16 February 1976 to 17 June 1977

Lieutenant General Sidney Berry, 19 July 1977 to 27 February 1980

Lieutenant General Willard Scott, 27 February 1980 to 15 July 1981

Lieutenant General Paul Williams, 15 July 1981 to 29 May 1984

Lieutenant General Robert Wetzel, 29 May 1984 to 23 June 1986

Lieutenant General Colin Powell, 23 June 1986 to 1 January 1987

Major General Lincoln Jones, 1 January 1987 to 23 March 1987

Lieutenant General John Woodmansee, 23 March 1987 to 21 July 1989

Lieutenant General George Joulwan, 7 August 1989 to 9 November 1990

Lieutenant General David Maddox, 9 November 1990 to 17 June 1992

Lieutenant General Jerry Rutherford, 17 June 1992 to 6 April 1995

Lieutenant General John Abrams, 6 April 1995 to 31 July 1997

Lieutenant General John Hendrix, 31 July 1997 to 16 November 1999

Lieutenant General James Riley, 16 November 1999 to 18 July 2001

Lieutenant General William Wallace, 18 July 2001 to 14 June 2003

Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, 14 June 2003 to 6 September 2006

Major General Fred Robinson, 6 September 2006 to 19 January 2007

Lieutenant General James Thurman, 19 January 2007 to 8 August 2007

Lieutenant General Kenneth Hunzeker, 8 August 2007 to 31 July 2009

Brigadier General Michael Ryan, 8 August 2009 to 3 November 2010

Brigadier General Allen Batschelet, 3 November 2010 to June 2011

Brigadier General Ricky Gibbs, June 2011 to 10 January 2012

Lieutenant General James Terry, 10 January 2012 to 15 September 2013

M551 Sheridan

The M551 "Sheridan" AR/AAV (Armored Reconnaissance/Airborne Assault Vehicle) was a light tank developed by the United States and named after General of the Army Philip Sheridan, from American Civil War fame. It was designed to be landed by parachute and to swim across rivers. It was armed with the technically advanced but troublesome M81/M81 Modified/M81E1 152mm gun/launcher, which fired both conventional ammunition and the MGM-51 Shillelagh guided anti-tank missile.

The M551 Sheridan entered service with the United States Army in 1967. At the urging of General Creighton Abrams, the U.S. Commander of Military Forces in South Vietnam at the time, the M551 was rushed into combat service in Vietnam in January 1969. In April and August 1969, M551s were deployed to units in Europe and South Korea, respectively. Now retired from service, it saw extensive combat in the Vietnam War, and limited service in Operation Just Cause in Panama, and the Persian Gulf War in Kuwait. The Australian Army also trialled two Sheridans during 1967 and 1968, but judged that the type did not meet its requirements.

The Sheridan was retired without replacement officially in 1996. A large bulk of Sheridans were retained into service at the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California and as Armor Officer Basic training at Armor Training Center, then located at Fort Knox, Kentucky. They worked as simulated Soviet armored opposition force (OPFOR) to train U.S. military units on simulated tank on tank armored combat to test on combat effectiveness in a desert environment. They were finally retired from the NTC in 2003.

Operation Thor

Operation Thor was a U.S. combined arms operation against People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) positions around, Mũi Lay, North Vietnam from 1-8 July 1968.

Phu Bai Combat Base

Phu Bai Combat Base (also known as Phu Bai Airfield and Camp Hochmuth) is a former U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps base south of Huế, in central Vietnam.

Republic of Vietnam Marine Division

The Republic of Vietnam Marine Division (RVNMD, Vietnamese: Sư Đoàn Thủy Quân Lục Chiến [TQLC]) was part of the armed forces of South Vietnam. It was established by Ngo Dinh Diem in 1954 when he was Prime Minister of the State of Vietnam, which became the Republic of Vietnam in 1955. The longest-serving commander was Lieutenant General Le Nguyen Khang. In 1969, the VNMC had a strength of 9,300, 15,000 by 1973., and 20,000 by 1975.The Marine Division trace their origins to French-trained Commandos Marine divisions recruited and placed under the command of the French Navy but officially incorporated in 1960. From 1970 onwards, the South Vietnamese marines and Airborne Division grew significantly, supplanting the independent, Central Highlands based Vietnamese Rangers as the most popular elite units for volunteers. Along with the Airborne the Marine Division formed the General Reserve with the strategic transformation under Vietnamization, with elite and highly-mobile units meant to be deployed in People's Army of Vietnam attacking points and incursions. By then, the level of training had improved considerably and U.S. General Creighton Abrams who oversaw Vietnamization stated that South Vietnam's Airborne and Marines had no comparable units to match it in the PAVN.This division had earned a total of 9 U.S. presidential citations, with the 2nd Battalion "Crazy Buffaloes" earning two.


Vietnamization was a policy of the Richard Nixon administration to end U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War through a program to "expand, equip, and train South Vietnamese forces and assign to them an ever-increasing combat role, at the same time steadily reducing the number of U.S. combat troops." Brought on by the Viet Cong's Tet Offensive, the policy referred to U.S. combat troops specifically in the ground combat role, but did not reject combat by the U.S. Air Force, as well as the support to South Vietnam, consistent with the policies of U.S. foreign military assistance organizations. U.S. citizens' mistrust of their government that had begun after the offensive worsened with the release of news about U.S. soldiers massacring civilians at My Lai (1968), the invasion of Cambodia (1970), and the leaking of the Pentagon Papers (1971).

The name "Vietnamization" came about accidentally. At a January 28, 1969, meeting of the National Security Council, General Andrew Goodpaster, deputy to General Creighton Abrams and commander of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, stated that the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) had been steadily improving, and the point at which the war could be "de-Americanized" was close. Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird agreed with the point, but not with the language: "What we need is a term like 'Vietnamizing' to put the emphasis on the right issues." Nixon immediately liked Laird's word.Vietnamization fit into the broader détente policy of the Nixon administration, in which the United States no longer regarded its fundamental strategy as the containment of communism but as a cooperative world order, in which Nixon and his chief adviser Henry Kissinger were focused on the broader constellation of forces and the bigger world powers. Nixon had ordered Kissinger to negotiate diplomatic policies with Soviet statesman Anatoly Dobrynin. Nixon also opened high-level contact with China. U.S. relations with the Soviet Union and China were of higher priority than South Vietnam.

Nixon said Vietnamization had two components. The first was "strengthening the armed force of the South Vietnamese in numbers, equipment, leadership and combat skills", while the second was "the extension of the pacification program [i.e. military aid to civilians] in South Vietnam." To achieve the first goal, U.S. helicopters would fly in support; however, helicopter operations were too much part of ground operations to involve U.S. personnel. Thus, ARVN candidates were enrolled in U.S. helicopter schools to take over the operations. As observed by Lieutenant General Dave Palmer, to qualify an ARVN candidate for U.S. helicopter school, he first needed to learn English; this, in addition to the months-long training and practice in the field, made adding new capabilities to the ARVN take at least two years. Palmer did not disagree that the first component, given time and resources, was achievable. However: "Pacification, the second component, presented the real was benevolent government action in areas where the government should always have been benevolently active...doing both was necessary if Vietnamization were to work."

The policy of Vietnamization, despite its successful execution, was ultimately a failure as the improved ARVN forces and the reduced American and allied component were unable to prevent the fall of Saigon and the subsequent merger of the north and south, to form the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

War zone C

War Zone C was the area in South Vietnam centered around the abandoned town of Katum near the Cambodian border where there was a strong concentration of North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and Viet Cong (VC) activity during the Vietnam War. This area war reportedly the general location of COSVN, the headquarters for communist military and political activities in the southern half of Vietnam.

Will Lang Jr.

William John Lang Jr. (October 7, 1914 – January 21, 1968) was an American journalist and a bureau head for Life magazine.

William Westmoreland

William Childs Westmoreland (March 26, 1914 – July 18, 2005) was a United States Army general, most notably commander of United States forces during the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1968. He served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1968 to 1972.

Westmoreland adopted a strategy of attrition against the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army, attempting to drain them of manpower and supplies. He also made use of the United States' edge in artillery and air power, both in tactical confrontations and in relentless strategic bombing of North Vietnam. Many of the battles in Vietnam were technically United States victories, with the United States Army in control of the field afterward; holding territory gained this way proved difficult, however. Public support for the war eventually diminished, especially after the Battle of Khe Sanh and the Tet Offensive in 1968. By the time he was re-assigned as Army Chief of Staff, United States military forces in Vietnam had reached a peak of 535,000 personnel. Westmoreland's strategy was ultimately politically unsuccessful. Growing United States casualties and the draft undermined United States support for the war while large-scale casualties among non-combatants weakened South Vietnamese support. This also failed to weaken North Vietnam's will to fight, and the Government of South Vietnam—a factor largely out of Westmoreland's control—never succeeded in establishing enough legitimacy to quell defections to the Viet Cong.

Leaders of the United States Army
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