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Lyman Louis Lemnitzer
Lyman L. Lemnitzer.jpg
General Lyman Louis Lemnitzer, United States Army
Born (1899-08-29)August 29, 1899
Died November 12, 1988(1988-11-12) (aged 89)
Place of birth Honesdale, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Allegiance United States
Service/branch U.S. Army
Years of service 1916-1920 (USMA)
1920-1969
Rank US-O10 insignia General
Commands held Chief of Staff of the United States Army
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Supreme Allied Commander, NATO
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War
Awards

Army Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Navy Distinguished Service Medal

Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
British Order of the British Empire
French Legion of Merit (Officer)
German Bundeswehr Cross of Honour in Gold
Other work Rockefeller Commission

Lyman Louis Lemnitzer (August 29, 1899 – November 12, 1988) was a United States Army general, who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1960 to 1962. He then served as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO from 1963 to 1969.

Early life and educationEdit

Lemnitzer was born on August 29, 1899 in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. He graduated from West Point in 1920 and was assigned at his request to a Coast Artillery unit. Lemnitzer served in the Philippines but soon began receiving the staff assignments that marked his military career.

CareerEdit

Lemnitzer was promoted to brigadier general in June 1942 and assigned to General Eisenhower's staff shortly thereafter. He helped form the plans for the invasions of North Africa and Sicily and was promoted to major general in November 1944. Lemnitzer was one of the senior officers sent to negotiate the Italian fascist surrender during the secret Operation Sunrise and the German surrender in 1945.

Following the end of World War II, Lemnitzer was assigned to the Strategic Survey Committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was later named Deputy Commandant of the National War College. In 1950, at the age of 51, he took parachute training and was subsequently placed in command of the 11th Airborne Division. He was assigned to Korea in command of the 7th Infantry Division in November 1951 and was promoted to lieutenant general in August 1952. Lemnitzer was promoted to the rank of general and named commander of U.S. Army forces in the Far East and of the Eighth Army in March 1955. He was named Chief of Staff of the Army in July 1957 and appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September 1960. As Chairman, Lemnitzer weathered the Bay of Pigs crisis and the early years of American involvement in Vietnam. He was also required to testify before the United States Senate Foreign Affairs Committee about his knowledge of the activities of Major General Edwin Walker, who had been dismissed from the Army over alleged attempts to promote his political beliefs in the military. Lemnitzer approved the plans known as Operation Northwoods in 1962, a proposed plan to discredit the Castro regime and create support for military action against Cuba by staging false flag genuine acts of terrorism and developing "a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington". Lemnitzer presented the plans to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara on March 13, 1962. It is unclear how McNamara reacted, but three days later President Kennedy told the general that there was no chance that America would take military action against Cuba. Within a few months, after the denial of Operation Northwoods, Lemnitzer was denied another term as JCS chairman.[1]

In November 1962, Lemnitzer was appointed as commander of U.S. forces in Europe, and as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO (the U.S. European Command is the crown jewel of regional commands[citation needed]) in January 1963.[2] This period encompassed the Cyprus crisis of 1963-1964 and the withdrawal of NATO forces from France in 1966.

Later life and deathEdit

Lemnitzer retired from the military in July 1969. In 1975, President Ford appointed Lemnitzer to the Commission on CIA Activities within the United States (aka the Rockefeller Commission) to investigate whether the Central Intelligence Agency had committed acts that violated American laws and allegations that E. Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis (of Watergate fame) were involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

DeathEdit

Lemnitzer died on November 12, 1988 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His wife, Katherine Tryon Lemnitzer (1901–1994), is buried with him.

In popular cultureEdit

Lemnitzer was played by John Seitz in the 1991 Oliver Stone film, JFK.

Awards and decorationsEdit

Lemnitzer was awarded numerous military awards and decorations[3] including but not limited to:

US Army Airborne basic parachutist badge Parachutist Badge
Bronze oakleaf-3d
Bronze oakleaf-3d
Bronze oakleaf-3d
Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg
Army Distinguished Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Navy Distinguished Service ribbon.svg Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Air Force Distinguished Service ribbon.svg Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star ribbon.svg Silver Star
Us legion of merit officer rib.jpg Legion of Merit degree of Officer - awarded by mistake but not rescinded by FDR during World War II
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg Legion of Merit degree of Legionnaire
Presidential Medal of Freedom (ribbon).png Presidential Medal of Freedom (Awarded by President Reagan, June 23, 1987)
American Defense Service ribbon.svg American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg American Campaign Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.svg
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (with two campaign stars)
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation ribbon.svg Army of Occupation Medal
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg National Defense Service Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
KSMRib.svg
Korean Service Medal (with two service stars)
Foreign decorations
Order of the Bath UK ribbon.png Honorary Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (Great Britain)
Order of the British Empire (Military) Ribbon.png Honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Great Britain)
Cordone di gran Croce di Gran Cordone OMRI BAR.svg Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (Italy)
Cavaliere di Gran Croce OCI Kingdom BAR.svg Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Italy (Italy)
Cavaliere di gran croce OMS BAR.svg Grand Cross of the Military Order of Italy (Italy)
Legion Honneur GC ribbon.svg Grand Cross of the Légion d'Honneur (France)
Medaille militaire ribbon.svg Médaille militaire (France)
Croix de guerre 1939-1945 with palm.jpg Croix de Guerre with Palm (France)
GER Bundeswehr Honour Cross Gold ribbon.svg Bundeswehr Cross of Honour in Gold (Germany)
Order of Boyaca.png Grand Officer of the Order of Boyaca (Colombia)
JPN Kyokujitsu-sho 1Class BAR.svg Grand Cordon First Class of the Order of the Rising Sun (Japan)
BRA War Medal.png Medalha de Guerra (Brazil)
Order of Military Merit.png Grand Official of the Order of Military Merit (Brazil)
Taeguk Cordon Medal.png Order of Military Merit Teaguk (Korea)
Gold star
Taeguk Cordon Medal.png
Order of Military Merit Teaguk with Gold Star (Korea)
POL Złoty Krzyż Zasługi z Mieczami BAR.svg Gold Cross of Merit with Swords (Poland)
Order of the White Elephant - Special Class (Thailand) ribbon.png Knight Grand Cross of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant (Thailand)
TCH CS voj med Za zasluhy hvezda ribbon.svg Medal for Military Merit, First Class (Czechoslovakia)
SRB Orden Belog Orla BAR.svg Royal Order of the White Eagle, Class II (Yugoslavia)
CHL Order of Merit of Chile - Grand Cross BAR.png Grand Star of Military Merit (Chile)
ETH Order of Menelik II - Grand Cross BAR.png Order of Menelik II (Ethiopia)
United Nations Service Medal Korea ribbon.svg United Nations Korea Medal
Korean Presidential Unit Citation.png Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation

See alsoEdit

Operation Northwoods

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

Military offices
Preceded by
Gen. Williston B. Palmer
Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army
1957 – 1959
Succeeded by
Gen. George Decker
Preceded by
Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor
Chief of Staff of the United States Army
1959—1960
Succeeded by
Gen. George Decker
Preceded by
Gen. Nathan F. Twining
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
1960—1962
Succeeded by
Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor
Preceded by
Gen. Lauris Norstad
Supreme Allied Commander Europe (NATO)
1963—1969
Succeeded by
Gen. Andrew Goodpaster




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