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First Name: Bruce

Last Name: Palmer

Birthplace: Austin, TX, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Austin, TX

Date of Birth: 13 April 1913

Date of Death: 10 October 2000

Rank: General

Years Served: 1936-1974
Bruce Palmer, Jr.

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1936

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


Bruce Palmer, Jr.
General, U.S. Army

Bruce Palmer, Jr. was born on 13 April 1913 in Austin, TX. His father was an Army Brigadier General and his grandfather received the Medal of Honor during the Civil War.

He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1936 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Cavalry and served with the 8th Cavalry at Fort Bliss, TX, from 1936-39. He also married Kathryn Sibert in 1936. Palmer was promoted to First Lieutenant in June 1939 and served as Regimental Adjutant from June-September 1939.

He graduated from the Cavalry School at Fort Riley, KS in 1940; was a troop and squadron commander of the 6th Cavalry (Mechanized), 1940-42; and was promoted to temporary ranks of Captain (October 1940), and Major (February 1942).

Palmer served in the Operations Division of the War Department General Staff, 1942-43; was promoted to temporary Lieutenant Colonel, February 1943; and was Chief of Staff of the 6th Infantry Division in Southwest Pacific operations in World War II during 1944-45.

He was promoted to temporary Colonel (January 1945); permanent Captain (June 1946); and Major (July 1948). He commanded the 63d Infantry in the Korean occupation (1945-46); was Chief of Plans and Operations of the First U.S. Army (1947-49); was Instructor of Tactics and then Director of Instruction at the Infantry School at Fort Benning from 1949-51. He concurrently completed the Basic Airborne Course, and graduated from the Army War College, in 1952.

Palmer was Secretary of the General Staff and Chief of the Plans Division, U.S. Army, Europe (1952-54); was promoted to permanent Lieutenant Colonel (July 1953); was Commander of the 16th Infantry (1954-55); served on the faculty of the Army War College (1955-57); and was Deputy Secretary of the General Staff and White House Liaison Officer, Office of the Chief of Staff, 1957-59.

Palmer was promoted to temporary Brigadier General (August 1959); was Deputy Commandant of the Army War College (1959-61); and was Assistant Division Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg during 1961-62.

He was promoted to permanent Colonel (June 1961) and to temporary Major General (May 1962). He was Chief of Staff of the Eighth U.S. Army, Korea (1962-63); was Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations (1963-64); and Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Operations (1964-65). He was promoted to permanent Brigadier General in February 1963 and to temporary Lieutenant General in July 1964.

He was Commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps (1965-67) and, concurrently, Commander of Task Force 120 and U.S. Land Forces, Dominican Republic, in May 1965. He was Commander of U.S. Forces and Army Forces and Deputy Commander of the Inter-American Peace Force in Operations in the Dominican Republic from May 1965-January 1966.

Palmer was Commander of the II Field Force, Vietnam, and Deputy Commander of the U.S. Army, Vietnam in 1967-68. He was promoted to temporary General in August 1968 and served as Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from 1 August 1968-30 June 1972; and he was acting Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from 1 July -11 October 1972.

He provided managerial continuity at the top of the Army during the command transition from Westmoreland to Abrams. He supervised the continuing drawdown of Army forces from Vietnam and related Army-wide readjustments, and prepared major revisions in Army organizational structure.

Palmer was Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Readiness Command during 1973-1974.

Palmer retired from the Army on 4 September 1974. That was also the day that his close associate, General Creighton W. Abrams died.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Army Distinguished Service Medal with 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Air Medal with Numeral 2
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Stars
World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star
Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Bronze Stars
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry
Vietnam Campaign Medal

Silver Star Medal Citation

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Colonel (Cavalry) Bruce Palmer, Jr. (ASN: 0-20117), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving with the 6th Infantry Division. In the Kiangan-Bbanaue area, Luzon, Philippine Islands, on 3 July 1945, in order to familiarize himself more thoroughly with the terrain over which our troops were fighting, Colonel Palmer, as Chief of Staff, 6th Infantry Division, frequently went forward to visit front line troops. The routes over which he traveled and the combat areas which he visited were subjected to enemy sniper fire, ambushes and enemy mortar concentrations. Despite the numerous personal hazards, Colonel Palmer made a complete inspection of our front lines, lending support and encouragement to the fighting man. His gallantry and intrepidity were a great inspiration to all officers and men of the division, and were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service.

General Orders: Headquarters, 6th Infantry Division, General Orders No 173 (August 22, 1945)

In Retirement

Palmer wrote two books in his retirement, The 25 Year War: America's Military Role in Vietnam and Intervention in the Caribbean: The Dominican Crisis of 1965.

Death and Burial

General Palmer died on 10 October 2000. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 30, Lot 389 LH.

He was preceded in death a daughter, Maureen, in 1951 and by his wife, Kathryn, in 1996. He was survived by a son, Bruce III, and one daughter, Robin.

Origin of Nickname/Handle:

Texas WWII Exceptional Gallantry

Honoree ID: 298   Created by: MHOH




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