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First Name: Louis

Last Name: Menetrey

Birthplace: Hollywood, CA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Charles

Date of Birth: 19 August 1929

Date of Death: 14 January 2009

Rank: General

Years Served: 1953-1990
Louis Charles Menetrey

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Louis Charles Menetrey
General, U.S. Army

Louis Charles Menetrey was born on 19 August 1929 in Hollywood, CA, to a Swiss immigrant father and American mother. After graduating from Hollywood High School, he enrolled in the University of California, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. While in college, he served in both the Navy and Army Reserve. In 1953, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry.

After completing the Infantry Basic Course, and the Airborne and Ranger Schools, he served as a platoon leader. He later commanded four different companies; most officers only command a company one time. During this time he also served as a Nuclear Weapons Test and Evaluation Officer and as a Liaison Officer involved in the planning for an invasion of Cuba.

After promotion to Major, he attended the Command and General Staff College, then went to Georgetown University and received a Master's Degree in International Affairs before being sent to the Armed Forces Staff College. After graduation he was chosen for early promotion to Lieutenant Colonel and received orders to Vietnam.

In Vietnam, his first assignment was as Deputy Chief of Staff of the 1st Cavalry Division. He was then given command of the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry; a unit that had been badly battered by recent combat.

After Vietnam, he attended the National War College, and then was assigned to the Office of the Coordinator of Army Studies, working for Vice Chief of Staff General William E. DePuy, and assisting in developing policies for transition to an all-volunteer force.

He was next assigned to the 101st Airborne Division as the G-3; he later took command of the Division's 2nd Brigade. While at Fort Campbell, he was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned as Assistant Division Commander, 2nd Infantry Division. During his time in that billet, the Axe Murder Incident, where U.S. Army officers were slain at Panmunjon, occurred.

His next assignment was as Deputy Commander, Combined Arms Development Agency, where he helped lay the groundwork for the National Training Center. He was then picked for command of the 4th Infantry Division, followed by being Director of Requirements for the Army Staff.

He was selected to command the Combined Field Army in Korea, and then the Fifth U.S. Army, headquartered at Fort Sam Houston, TX. He received his fourth star in 1987 and served as Commander in Chief, United Nations Command/Commander in Chief, ROK/U.S. Combined Forces Command/Commander, United States Forces Korea/Commanding General, Eighth United States Army (CINCUNC/CINCCFC/COMUSFK/CG EUSA) from 1987 to 1990.

He retired from active service in 1990.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Distinguished Service Cross
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Silver Star Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Legion of Merit with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device and 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Meritorious Service Medal with 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Air Medal with Award Numeral 20
Army Commendation Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal with 4 Bronze Stars
Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon with Award Numeral 3
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge
Senior Parachutist Badge
Air Assault Badge
Ranger Tab

Distinguished Service Cross Citation

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry) Louis C. Menetrey (ASN: 0-71395), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2d Battalion, 28th Infantry, 3d Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. Lieutenant Colonel Menetrey distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 1 April 1968 as a battalion commander during a reconnaissance-in-force mission northwest of Ben Cat. Learning that one man had become separated from the rest of the unit during an encounter between a small security element and the Viet Cong, Colonel Menetrey personally led a platoon into the hazardous area. He and his men located an enemy base camp and received intense fire. Once he had successfully rescued the missing soldier, he brought two additional companies into the battle. Repeatedly exposing himself to the communists' barrage, Colonel Menetrey directed artillery, air strikes and maneuvers of his troops keeping the enemy entrapped and under constant pressure. With complete disregard for his own welfare, he moved to the forefront of the action and led repeated assaults on the enemy strongholds. On one occasion he assisted in moving a wounded tank commander to safety and then directed tank fire from an exposed position, killing several Viet Cong. After being knocked down by a claymore mine, he led a charge which eliminated the enemy troops who had detonated the device. His aggressive and skillful leadership resulted in the severe defeat of the Viet Cong force. Lieutenant Colonel Menetrey's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty 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, U.S. Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 237 (January 23, 1969)

In Retirement

After he retired, Menetrey worked as a consultant and maintained two homes; in Colorado Springs, CO, and Marathon, FL.

Death and Burial

General Louis Charles Menetrey died on 14 January 2009 in Niceville, FL, after an extended battle with Alzheimer's Disease. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

He was preceded in death by two wives:

Deloris V. Menetrey (1929 - 1978)
Susan S.K. Menetrey (1941 - 1988)

Honoree ID: 287   Created by: MHOH




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