Cortlandt Van Rensselaer Schuyler
Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1922
Engagements: • World War II (1941 - 1945)
Cortlandt Van Rensselaer Schuyler
Cortlandt Van Rensselaer Schuyler was born on 22 December 1900 in Arlington, NJ. He attended Columbia High School in Maplewood, NJ and two months into his senior year, in the fall of 1918, he was accepted for the U.S. Military Academy, entering with the special class that began in November of that year. He graduated 11th out of a class of 102 after serving as cadet captain in his senior year. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Coast Artillery Corps in 1922.
His first assignment was at Fort Monroe, VA, where he was assigned to the 61st Antiaircraft Battalion, the only unit of its kind in the Army at the time. This marked the beginning of over twenty years of service as an antiaircraft officer, interrupted only by a four-year detail as an instructor in Mathematics at West Point and the usual school assignments at Fort Monroe and Fort Leavenworth.
Schuyler served as a Lieutenant in various troop duties at the 60th Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) in the Philippine Islands and later, with the 4th Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) at Fort Amador in the Panama Canal Zone.
In 1939, while a member of the Antiaircraft section of the Coast Artillery Board, he participated actively in the development of the first multiple, power-operated antiaircraft machine-gun mount. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his work in this field.
He was assigned to the U.S. Antiaircraft Command in Richmond, VA in 1942. He was named Chief of Staff of that unit in 1943 and received the temporary rank of Brigadier General. The U.S. Antiaircraft Command had the task of organizing and training all antiaircraft units of a rapidly expanding Army. It controlled eight large training centers from Massachusetts to California.
In the fall of 1944, General Schuyler was assigned to Bucharest, Rumania, as U.S. Military Representative on the allied (British, U.S. and Russian) Control Commission. The agency was created by the three interested allied governments to administer the terms of the Rumanian Armistice Agreement.
General Schuyler returned to Washington, DC in 1947 for assignment as Chief of Plans and Policy Group, Army General Staff. It was in this position that he became heavily involved in the fast developing concept of the North Atlantic Alliance. He assisted in the preparation of the basic policy papers and participated in the discussions and committee work which, in 1949, culminated in the birth of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). General Dwight D. Eisenhower was nominated as the Supreme Commander of all NATO forces in Europe, at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), in Paris, France. General Schuyler was part of Eisenhower's team as the Special Assistant to his Chief of Staff.
He was promoted to Major General in 1952, and was assigned as Commanding General of the 28th Infantry Division, based in Goeppingen, Germany, in 1953. Six months later, he was promoted to Lieutenant General and called back to SHAPE in Paris to become the Chief of Staff for the newly-assigned Supreme Commander, General Alfred M. Gruenther. He was promoted to General in 1956 and remained at SHAPE as the Chief of Staff for the new Supreme Commander, General Lauris Norstad, until Schuyler retired in November 1959.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower visited Paris from 13-19 December 1957, to attend NATO Council Meetings. General and Mrs. Schuyler ("Wy" was Schuyler's wife, the former Wynona Coykendall) had attended a luncheon for Eisenhower on 15 December. The President wrote this letter to General Schuyler on 22 January 1958:
"Dear Cort: After leaving Paris I made a mental note, in the midst of my preoccupations, to write a personal message to you. This feeling was inspired by a number of things, among which was the fact that we have been friends for a long time. Another was that I had seen so much less of you and Wy than I had hoped that I felt that to that extent at least my visit to Paris had left an unsatisfactory feeling.
Moreover, I wanted to tell you that, in my opinion, you have been one of the indispensable wheel horses of the NATO organization. I say this with even greater feeling because of the fact that I personally held for a short time the position of SACEUR [Supreme Allied Commander, Europe] and I am consequently more familiar than most with the complicated nature of your problems, as well as their vital importance.
Every once in a while Al and I have the opportunity to indulge in a visit of a half hour or so. Invariably your name comes up for mention and it has become almost routine for one or both to express a feeling of lasting appreciation because of your dedicated and efficient service in one of the toughest spots in our whole military organization. Frankly, I hope that you will stay on in your post at least as long as I am in mine. [Schuyler had been thinking of retiring at the end of 1958.]
As I say, I should liked to have had more time for a completely personal chat with you when I was in Paris, and do hope that if you are contemplating any trip to this country, no matter when, you will make some effort to contact my office with a view to setting up an engagement.
Give my affectionate greeting to Wy and, of course, warm regard to yourself. Sincerely "
Schuyler responded to the President on 5 February 1958, and briefly gave his reasons for retiring. Then he said: "However, these factors are of no consequence whatever in the light of your feeling that you still need me here. That being the case I shall, of course, now give no further thought to the retirement matter. Should new considerations arise at any future date I shall take no action in this respect without again consulting you."
General Schuyler's association with NATO enabled him to watch the alliance grow from its planning stage into a strong, effective bulwark against the rising tide of Communist expansionism.
Medals and Awards
Distinguished Service Medal
Following his retirement from the U.S. Army in 1960, Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York appointed Schuyler to organize, and serve as Commissioner of, the Office of General Services. He retired from New York Government service in 1971.
Death and Burial
General Cortlandt Van Rensselaer Schuyler died on 4 December 1993, in San Antonio, TX. He is buried at the United States Military Academy Post Cemetery in West Point, Orange County, NY.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Wynona "Coykendall" Schuyler. He was survived by his second wife, Helen S. Schuyler; two children, a daughter, Shirley Saxby of Pinehurst, NC; a son, Philip V.R. Schuyler of Bound Brook, NJ; and two step-daughters, Betty Honnen Wear and Jessie Honnen McCarty; eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
|Honoree ID: 321||Created by: MHOH|