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John Eisenhower
45th United States Ambassador to Belgium

In office
May 14, 1969 – September 28, 1971
President Richard Nixon
Preceded by Ridgway B. Knight
Succeeded by Robert Strausz-Hupe
Personal details
Born John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower
August 3, 1922(1922-08-03) (age 99)
Denver, Colorado
Political party None/Independent
Spouse(s) Barbara Jean Thompson (1947–1986; divorced)
Joanne Thompson (1988–)
Relations Dwight D. Eisenhower – father
Mamie Eisenhower – mother
Doud Eisenhower – brother
Children 4 (all by Barbara Thompson)
Alma mater U.S. Military Academy
Profession Diplomat, Brigadier General, Author
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1944–1963 (active), 1963–1974 (Reserves)
Rank Brigadier General
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War

John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower (born August 3, 1922) is the son of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his wife Mamie. He is a retired United States Army Brigadier General, and the author of several books of military history. He served as the to Belgium from 1969 to 1971.

Early life[edit | edit source]

John Eisenhower was born on August 3, 1922 in Denver, Denver County, Colorado to future U.S. President and United States Army General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie. John Eisenhower was the second child of Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower. Their first son, Doud Dwight, known affectionately as "Icky", died in 1921, at age 3, after contracting scarlet fever. John Eisenhower, like his father, attended the United States Military Academy, graduating on June 6, 1944, the day of the Normandy landings which his father was commanding.

Career[edit | edit source]

Military[edit | edit source]

John Eisenhower served in the U.S. Army during World War II and the Korean War, remaining on active duty until 1963; then serving in the U.S. Army Reserve until retirement in 1975 – attaining the rank of brigadier general.[1] A decorated soldier, Eisenhower found his World War II military career thwarted by fears for his safety and concern from the top brass that his death or capture would be a distraction to his father, the Supreme Allied Commander. This issue arose again in 1952 when Major Eisenhower was assigned to fight in a combat unit in Korea while his father ran for President. After a short stint in combat with an infantry battalion, he was reassigned to the safety of division headquarters. In 2008, he wrote about this experience in an opinion piece in the New York Times entitled "Presidential Children Don’t Belong in Battle".[2]

During his father's presidency, John Eisenhower served as Assistant Staff Secretary in the White House, on the Army's General Staff, and in the White House as assistant to General Andrew Goodpaster.

Diplomacy[edit | edit source]

In the administration of President Richard Nixon, who had been his father's Vice President, he served as U.S. Ambassador to Belgium. In 1972, President Nixon appointed Eisenhower Chairman of the Interagency Classification Review Committee.[3] In 1975, he served President Gerald Ford as chairman of the President's Advisory Committee on Refugees.[4]

Military/historical expertise[edit | edit source]

As a military historian, Eisenhower has written several of his books, including The Bitter Woods, a study of the Battle of the Bulge. In a New York Times review of So Far from God (a history of the U.S.-Mexican War), Stephen W. Sears remarked that Eisenhower "writes briskly and authoritatively, and his judgments are worth reading."[5]

John Eisenhower wrote the foreword to Borrowed Soldiers, a book by Mitchell Yockelson of the U.S. National Archives. Eisenhower also wrote the forward to Kenneth W. Rendell's book, "Politics, War and Personality: 50 Iconic Documents of World War II."

Awards and honors[edit | edit source]

The city of Marshfield, Missouri chose Eisenhower as a 2008 honoree of the Edwin P. Hubble Medal of Initiative.[6] His grandson, Merrill Eisenhower Atwater spoke on his behalf at Marshfield's annual Cherry Blossom Festival. The medal recognizes individuals who demonstrate great initiative in their chosen field.

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Eisenhower married Barbara Jean Thompson on June 10, 1947. They divorced in 1986. The Eisenhowers had four children: a son, Dwight David Eisenhower II (b. March 31, 1948, West Point, NY), who married Julie Nixon, herself a presidential daughter; and three daughters Barbara Anne Eisenhower (b. May 30, 1949, West Point, NY), Susan Eisenhower (b. December 31, 1951, Fort Knox, KY) and Mary Jean Eisenhower (b. December 21, 1955, Washington, DC). In 1988, Eisenhower married Joanne Thompson. He lives in Trappe, Maryland, after moving there from Kimberton, Pennsylvania.[7]

A lifelong Republican, Eisenhower became independent and voted for Democrat John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election, citing Republican incumbent George W. Bush's management of U.S. foreign policy.[8]

Eisenhower is currently the oldest living presidential child.[9] He has been a staunch opponent of Frank Gehry's proposed design for the National Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial, which he said is "too extravagant" and "attempts to do too much."[10]

Books[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower". Internet Accuracy Project. http://www.accuracyproject.org/cbe-Eisenhower,JohnSheldonDoud.html. 
  2. Eisenhower, John (September 27, 2008). "Presidential Children Don’t Belong in Battle". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/28/opinion/28eisenhower.html. Retrieved September 28, 2008. 
  3. "History of the Information Security Oversight Office". www.archives.gov. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. http://www.archives.gov/isoo/about/history.html. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  4. Woolley, John T.; Gerhard Peters. "Remarks Upon Establishing the President's Advisory Committee on Refugees". The American Presidency Project. Santa Barbara, California: University of California. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=4924. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  5. Stephen W. Sears (April 2, 1989). "LAND GRAB ON THE RIO GRANDE". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1989/04/02/books/land-grab-on-the-rio-grande.html?scp=2&sq=so%20far%20from%20god:%20the%20u.s.%20war&st=cse. 
  6. "Hubble Medal of Initiative." Marshfield Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival. Retrieved March 4, 2011.
  7. "John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower". Internet Accuracy Project. http://www.accuracyproject.org/cbe-Eisenhower,JohnSheldonDoud.html. Retrieved November 26, 2012. 
  8. Eisenhower, John (September 28, 2004). "Why I Will Vote for John Kerry for President". The Manchester Union Leader. http://www.ksdp.org/node/383. Retrieved 2007-05-19. 
  9. "Former President John Tyler's (1790–1862) grandchildren still alive". January 25, 2012. http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/former-president-john-tyler-1790-1862-grandchildren-still-191230189.html. Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  10. Zongker, Brett (November 16, 2013). "Eisenhower Memorial Approval Delayed Into 2013". http://bigstory.ap.org/article/eisenhower-memorial-approval-delayed-2013. 

External links[edit | edit source]

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