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First Name: John

Last Name: Hennessey

Birthplace: USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Joseph

Date of Birth: 20 August 1921

Date of Death: 20 March 2001

Rank: General

Years Served: 1944-1979
John Joseph Hennessey

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1944

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)
•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


John Joseph Hennessey
General, U.S. Army

John Joseph Hennessey was born on 20 August 1921. After attending Saint Mary's College (now Saint Mary's University of Minnesota) in Winona, MN for three years, he received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy and graduated with the Class of 1944. Hennessey was voted best all-around athlete in the Class of 1944. He lettered in football, basketball and baseball.

He received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry and was deployed to the European Theater of Operations, where he served as a platoon leader and company commander.

In the Korean War he served as Secretary of the General Staff of I Corps. In the Vietnam War, he was a Battalion Commander in the 11th Air Assault Division, later serving as Executive Officer of the Division's 1st Brigade. When the 11th Air Assault Division was converted to the 1st Cavalry Division (Air Mobile) in 1965, he accompanied that unit to Vietnam as Executive Officer of the 1st Brigade, later becoming Brigade Commander after being promoted to Colonel.

As a Brigadier General he served as Assistant Division Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division. He then became Assistant Division Commander of the 101st Airborne Division and deployed with that unit to Vietnam as its Commander in 1970.

In 1974 he received his fourth star and became Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Readiness Command at MacDill Air Force Base in December 1974. MacDill was home to the U.S. Strike Command, formed in 1962 to respond to Soviet aggression after the Cuban missile crisis. The Readiness Command put together U.S. forces that could respond in areas where the U.S. did not have bases.

He retired at the end of that tour in 1979.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device and 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Air Medal with Award Numeral 4
Army Commendation Medal
National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star
Vietnam Service Medal with 2 Bronze Stars
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge
Army Aviator Badge
Master Parachutist Badge


SMU's Distinguished Alumnus Award

In Retirement

After retiring from the Army, Hennessey served on the Board of Trustees of the University of Tampa and was Executive Director of the Tampa Bay Area Research and Development Authority under the University of South Florida.


John Joseph Hennessey died of a stroke on 20 March 2001 at the age of 80.

Honoree ID: 251   Created by: MHOH




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