Donn Albert Starry
Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1948
Engagements: • Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)
Donn Albert Starry
Donn Albert Starry was born on 31 May 1925 in New York City, NY. He enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Private in 1943. Starry graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1948 as a Second Lieutenant of Armor. His early career included staff and command positions in the U.S., Europe, and Korea. During this same period, he attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College; the Armed Forces Staff College; and the Army War College.
In 1969, he commanded the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in the Vietnam War and led its attack into Cambodia in May 1970. In 1973, he became Commanding General, U.S. Army Armor Center and School, and then Commander, V Corps (1976-1977), in the Federal Republic of Germany. Later, as Commanding General of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Starry formulated AirLand Battle doctrine, which prepared the Army for warfighting into the twenty-first century. As a four-star General, Starry concluded his career as Commander, U.S. Readiness Command from 1981-83.
General Donn Albert Starry retired from the Army in 1983.
Medals and Awards
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star Medal Citation
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Colonel (Armor) Donn A. Starry, United States Army, for gallantry in action while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force on 1 April 1970 while serving as Regimental Commander with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, in the Republic of Vietnam. On this date Colonel Starry accompanied elements of the 2nd Squadron and the Aerial Rifle Platoon on a reconnaissance mission. While the ground forces were observing enemy movement in a supply base across the Cambodian border, a light observation helicopter was hit by enemy ground fire and crashed near the friendly element. Colonel Starry instructed the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Squadron to attack the area, secure the helicopter and rescue the crew. As the Task force moved rapidly across an open field toward the downed craft, Colonel Starry dismounted and led the aerial rifle platoon through the thick jungle in search of the helicopter. As he approached the crash site, the enemy commenced fire. Colonel Starry instructed the task force to assault the enemy so rescue operations could be conducted without interference from the enemy fire. Colonel Starry directed the rescue operations while the Aerial Rifle Platoon provided security. Despite the threat from a ruptured fuel cell, he ordered that the craft be lifted to allow a pinned crew member to be freed. After lifting the man from the wreckage, Colonel Starry applied first aid. The men were then placed aboard a vehicle which took them to a medical evacuation helicopter in a nearby landing zone. Colonel Starry's outstanding courage and leadership were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.
General Orders: Headquarters, II Field Force Vietnam, General Orders No. 2433 (June 4, 1970)
Distinguished Flying Cross Citation
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Colonel (Armor) Donn A. Starry, United States Army, for heroism while participating in aerial flight evidenced by voluntary action above and beyond the call of duty on 6 March 1970 while serving as regimental Commander with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, in the Republic of Vietnam. On this date while on a visual reconnaissance mission Colonel Starry directed his pilot toward Troop C area of operation. Learning that contact had been made with elements of a Viet Cong Division and a squadron command and control of the tactical situation. He immediately adjusted artillery and aerial gunships as well as giving ground commanders tactical instructions. While maneuvering the craft to continue adjusting artillery, the command and control helicopter began to receive intense enemy ground fire. He redirected the friendly fire to silence the enemy's weapons, while keeping his craft circling the area. Due to a heavy cloud cover, visibility became very poor and necessitated bringing the helicopter down to a lower altitude to enable him to maintain control of the tactical situation. Repeatedly Colonel Starry instructed his pilot to make many low level passes, despite the obvious danger from the enemy ground emplacements, to access the battle situation. On one such maneuver he directed the crew to engage a series of spider holes. Simultaneously the enemy responded with an intense fusillade which struck his craft. Colonel Starry shifted the artillery fire into the area and disregarding the hazards of the ground fire, continued keeping the craft orbiting the target area to direct the fire until the enemy guns were silenced. He still remained aloft to maneuver the ground elements and artillery, which accounted for numerous enemy casualties. When the Squadron command helicopter arrived he and his pilot landed to inspect the battle damage and injury to the craft. Colonel Starry's outstanding courage and actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.
General Orders: Headquarters, II Field Force Vietnam, General Orders No. 1845 (May 13, 1970)
Soldier's Medal Citation
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Soldier's Medal to Colonel (Armor) Donn A. Starry, United States Army, for heroism not involving actual conflict with an armed enemy on 22 February 1970 while serving as Regimental Commander with the 11th Armored Calvary Regiment, in the Republic of Vietnam. While flying a command and control mission near the village of Ton Le Cham, Colonel Starry observed an assault vehicle burning. Upon closer observation he noticed the crew in complete confusion and disarray in their attempts to extinguish the flames. Upon landing his craft he grasped immediate control of the situation, directing his men in the salvaging of the track. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, Colonel Starry boarded the blazing vehicle, hurling burning equipment from the track and using fire extinguishers in the an attempt to quell the flames. Through his heroic actions, Colonel Starry prevented a valuable piece of equipment from total loss and possible injury to the crew members. Colonel Starry's profound courage, exemplary leadership and dedication to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.
General Orders: Headquarters, II Field Force Vietnam, General Orders No. 2566 (June 11, 1970)
Honorary Colonel of the Regiment for the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.
Several honorary doctoral degrees.
Starry earned a Master's Degree in International Affairs from George Washington University.
After retirement from the Army, Starry joined Ford Aerospace, serving first as Vice President and General Manager of Ford's Space Missions Group, and later as Executive Vice President of Ford Aerospace and Special Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer of BDM International.
He served as a member of the Board of Maxwell Laboratories from 1988 to 1993, and from 1996 to 1998 was Chairman of the Board as the Company became Maxwell Technologies, switching their focus from government to commercial markets.
He has served as Chairman of the Board of Universal Voltronics in Brookfield, Connecticut. In 1991 he became a Senior Fellow on the faculty of the Joint and Combined Warfighting School at the Joint Forces Staff College. He was also a member of the Defense Science Board for two terms.
General Starry, with George F. Hofmann, edited an anthology of U.S. armor warfare history and doctrine titled Camp Colt to Desert Storm: The History of U.S. Armored Forces, ISBN 0813121302. Starry was also one of twenty-one signers, all retired flag officers, of a letter to John McCain supporting the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005.
His civic projects have included membership on the board of the Eisenhower Foundation in Abilene, Kansas; Chairman of the Board of the U.S. Cavalry Memorial Foundation; and a member of the Board of the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs.
Starry was formerly married to Leatrice (Letty) Gibbs of Kansas City, KS. They have four children and seven grandchildren.
On 10 April 2010, he celebrated his new marriage to a long-time friend, Karen (Cookie) Deitrick.
Death and Burial
General Donn Albert Starry died on 26 August 2011 in Canton, OH, after suffering from a rare form of cancer. He is survived by his second wife, Karen.
|Honoree ID: 333||Created by: MHOH|