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First Name: John

Last Name: Abrams

Birthplace: Fort Knox, KY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Nelson

Date of Birth: 03 September 1946

Date of Death: 20 August 2018

Rank: General

Years Served: 1966 - 2002
John Nelson Abrams

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)
•  Gulf War (1990 - 1991)
•  Operation Joint Endeavor (1995 - 1996)


John Nelson Abrams
General, U.S. Army

John Nelson Abrams was born on 3 September 1946 at Fort Knox, KY, the son of Creighton Williams Abrams, Jr. and Julia Bertha Abrams. His father was a General who served as Commander of Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) from 1968-1972 and was then Army Chief of Staff until his death on 4 September 1974.

Unlike his father (USMA Class of 1936), John received his commission as a Second Lieutenant through Officer Candidate School in 1968, after enlisting as a tank crewman in 1966. As a young armor officer, Abrams served two years in Vietnam, rising from platoon leader to troop commander. Toward the end of his tour, Abrams commanded an armored cavalry troop in the Mang Yang Pass, where he established such good relations with the Montagnard villagers that a local village chief gave him an elephant. "Isn't that great, Dad?" he asked his father Creighton, who at the time was commander of all U.S. forces in Vietnam. "Well, let me tell you, I knew he was in trouble," Creighton Abrams recounted later. "I asked him if he knew what it meant for a Montagnard village chief to give someone an elephant, and of course he just thought it was a nice thing for the guy to do. Well, sir, I told him in no uncertain terms, 'John, you better pack up and leave that area quick, 'cause you are now engaged to be married to a Montagnard woman. That elephant is a wedding gift!'"

John Abrams married Cecilia Bosico in 1969, after a courtship that did not involve an elephant.

In his tour as Commander of the Second Infantry Division he was promoted to Major General and stationed at Camp Red Cloud, near Uijeongbu, Republic of Korea near the Olympic Velodrome. During Operation Desert Storm he could view the combat area by live satellite imaging and see his brother's unit, Brigadier General Creighton Abrams III, who was the Artillery Commander for Desert Storm.

Major General Abrams was active in community affairs and worked with the Amerasian Children's Fund, The Pearl Buck Association and the American Red Cross. He redesigned the 2ID logo to depict a "handsome Indian" and placed this design on another of his creations, the 2nd ID sports jacket. He also designed and produced a 2nd ID sports cap. He was instrumental in improving morale to this combat unit and community support from the Korean civilians. The original drawings, art work, and first production runs were kept by Col. G F (Coach) Sweetman, who was responsible for their production.

After completing his tour in Korea, he was promoted to Lieutenant General and assigned as Commander of V Corps in Germany (also called 5th Corps and Victory Corps) which he commanded from 6 April 1995 to 31 July 1997. He was the second officer in U.S. Army history to command the same unit as his father. * [Lieutenant General Creighton Abrams commanded V Corps 15 July 1963 to 3 August 1964.] He also continued an Army tradition of taking key staff members with him, including Command Sergeant Major John Beck.

* The first father-son U. S. Army Generals to command the same unit were George S. Patton III and George S. Patton IV, commanding the 2nd Armored Division.

Another link between the Patton and Abrams families was that Creighton, John's father, was George S. Patton Jrs' spearhead commander in World War II, where Patton praised him as being the only tank commander equal to himself.

His final assignment was as Commander, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, from 1998 to 2002.

Abrams received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Bowling Green University; and a Master of Science in Public Administration from Shippensburg University.

General John Nelson Abrams retired from active Army service in 2002.

Medals and Awards

Army Distinguished Service Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Silver Star Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Legion of Merit with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Bronze Star Medal with "Valor" Device and 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
Purple Heart
Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters


Honorary Doctor of Education degree from Norwich University.

In Retirement

After retiring, Abrams became a military analyst for the Associated Press. He is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Abrams Learning & Information Systems, Inc., a consulting and technology firm.

Honoree ID: 183   Created by: MHOH




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