Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Glenn

Last Name: Otis

Birthplace: Plattsburgh, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Kay

Date of Birth: 15 March 1929

Date of Death: 21 February 2013

Rank: General

Years Served: 1946-1949 (enlisted), 1953-1988 (officer)
Glenn Kay Otis

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1953

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Glenn Kay Otis
General, U.S. Army

Glenn Kay Otis was born on 15 March 1929 in Plattsburgh, NY. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1946 and served on occupation duty in post-World War II Korea. He was later selected from the ranks to attend the U.S. Military Academy, from which he graduated in 1953 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. He holds a Master's degree in Mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and, in 1965, was one of the first student officers to receive a Master of Military Art and Science degree from the Command and General Staff College.

During the Vietnam War, Otis distinguished himself in the Tet Offensive as Commander of the 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, 25th Infantry Division. While defending Tan Son Nhut Air Base, his unit was faced with an enemy battalion of 600 men; his squadron killed 300 and took 24 prisoners. As a Brigadier General, he was assigned as Director of the XM-1 Tank Task Force in 1974, two years after its commencement. Under his command the Task Force oversaw an engine change; made provisions for a future upgrade of the main gun from 105mm to M256 120mm weapon; the turret was stabilized to permit firing on the move; advanced night vision technology was integrated; and suspension, armor and mobility were upgraded.

Key assignments during his career included Deputy Chief of Staff, Combined Arms Combat Development Agency, Fort Leavenworth, KS, 1976-78; Commander, 1st Armored Division, 1978-79; Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations and Plans, Department of the Army, 1979-81; Commanding General, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, 1981-83; and Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Army Europe/Commander, Central Army Group (CINCUSAREUR/COMCENTAG) from 1983 to 1988.

General Otis retired from active duty in 1988.

In Retirement

Otis has remained active as a Senior Fellow of the Institute of Land Warfare; member of the Association of the U.S. Army; and as a member of the Army Science Board. He also served as a member of the House Armed Services Committee's Commission to Assess U.S. National Security Space Management and Organization in 2000 that was chaired by Donald Rumsfeld.

Medals, Awards, Badges & Tabs

Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit with 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Purple Heart with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Air Medal with Award Numeral 8
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star
Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Bronze Stars
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Presidential Unit Citation
Expert Infantryman Badge
Parachutist Badge
Ranger Tab

The 3d Squadron he commanded received the Presidential Unit Citation.

Distinguished Service Cross Citation

The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Glenn K. Otis, Lieutenant Colonel (Armor), U.S. 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 Troop, 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry, 25th Infantry Division. Lieutenant Colonel Otis distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 31 January 1968 as commanding officer of a cavalry squadron defending against the communist Lunar New Year offensive at Tan Son Nhut Air Base. Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army forces launched a massive attack on the base and penetrated the defensive wire. Colonel Otis responded to a call for assistance and immediately led his squadron to reinforce the beleaguered friendly elements. Braving devastating rocket, machine gun and mortar fire, he repeatedly ordered low passes over the enemy positions to assess the rapidly changing situation and skillfully coordinate his unit's defenses. His aircraft was forced down on three occasions by the intense enemy fusillade, but he refused to leave the battle area and quickly secured another helicopter each time. The battle grew in intensity, as he fearlessly landed amid a curtain of fire to coordinate with his ground commanders and encourage his men to continue their staunch defenses. His skillful and aggressive leadership inspired his men to repel the attack and force the determined insurgents to withdraw. Informed that an estimated Viet Cong battalion, poised outside the perimeter, was threatening the air base, he quickly directed his unit in a search and clear operation. Repeatedly exposing himself to savage enemy fire, he led his men in a fierce attack that totally destroyed the enemy forces. His fearless leadership in the heat of battle was instrumental in preventing the vital military installation from falling into enemy hands. Lieutenant Colonel Otis' 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 Glenn Kay Otis died on 21 February 2013.

Honoree ID: 296   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image