Lyman Louis Lemnitzer
Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1920
Engagements: • World War II (1941 - 1945)• Korean War (1950 - 1953)
Lyman Louis Lemnitzer
Lyman Louis Lemnitzer was born on 29 August 1899 in Honesdale, PA. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy with the Class of 1920 and, at his request, was assigned to a Coast Artillery unit. Lemnitzer served in the Philippines, but soon began receiving the staff assignments that marked his military career.
World War II
Lemnitzer was promoted to Brigadier General in June 1942 and assigned to General Dwight D. 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.
Post- World War II
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 8th 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 U.S. 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. This plan was proposed 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 13 March 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.
In November 1962, Lemnitzer was appointed as Commander of U.S. Forces in Europe, and as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO (the US European Command is the crown jewel of regional commands) in January 1963. This period encompassed the Cyprus crisis of 1963-64 and the withdrawal of NATO forces from France in 1966.
General Lemnitzer retired from the military in July 1969.
In 1975, President Ford appointed Lemnitzer to the Commission on CIA Activities within the U.S. (aka the Rockefeller Commission) to investigate whether the Central Intelligence Agency had committed acts that violated American laws. It also investigated the allegations that E. Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis (of Watergate fame) were involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Medals and Awards
Lemnitzer was awarded numerous medals, awards and badges including, but not limited to:
Army Distinguished Service Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
Foreign Medals and Awards
Honorary Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (Great Britain)
Presidential Medal of Freedom (Awarded by President Reagan on 23 June 1987)
Lemnitzer was played by John Seitz in the 1991 Oliver Stone film, 'JFK.'
Death and Burial
General Lyman Louis Lemnitzer died on 12 November 1988. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 30, Lot 430, Map Grid Z/AA 39 1/2. His wife, Katherine Tryon Lemnitzer (1901-1994), is buried with him.
|Honoree ID: 271||Created by: MHOH|