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First Name: Richard

Last Name: Stilwell

Birthplace: Buffalo, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Giles

Date of Birth: 24 February 1917

Date of Death: 25 December 1991

Rank: General

Years Served: 1938-1976
Richard Giles Stilwell

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1938

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


Richard Giles Stilwell
General, U.S. Army

Richard Giles Stilwell was born on 24 February 1917 in Buffalo, NY. He attended Brown University before attending the U.S. Military Academy. He ranked thirteenth in the Class of 1938 and commanded his cadet company. Stilwell was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree and commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers on 14 June 1938.

His initial assignments were in Hawaii, first as a platoon leader in the 3d Engineer Regiment and subsequently as Assistant Engineer of the Hawaiian Department. At the outbreak of World War II, he was Operations Officer, 18th Engineer Regiment at Vancouver Barracks, WA.

In early 1942, he became Executive Officer of the 315th Combat Engineer Battalion of the 90th Infantry Division at Camp Barkeley, TX. He assumed command of the battalion in June of that year and held this post and that of Division Engineer until September 1943, when he was designated as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3. In this latter capacity, Lieutenant Colonel Stilwell had a major role on the Division's final field training, movement to England, and planning for the Normandy invasion.

He continued as Operations Officer of the "Tough Hombres" Division from initial landings through the months of combat that followed. At the conclusion of the Ardennes campaign, he was detailed as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, of the XXII Army Corps and promoted to Colonel. He served in this position through the end of the war and the garrisoning of Czechoslovakia.

In August 1945, Colonel Stilwell joined the G-3 Section of the Theatre General Board, formed from the 15th Army under command of General George S. Patton, to study the conduct of the war and draw lessons from it. He transferred to the Infantry in November.

Colonel Stilwell was appointed in January 1946 as Assistant Military Advisor to the Secretary of State who was performing the duties of U.S. Member of the Council of Foreign Ministers, the quadripartite organization designed to deal with post-war problems. As an outgrowth of this assignment, in 1947 Stilwell was named Special Military Advisor to the American Ambassador in Italy. Over the next two years, his staff responsibilities encompassed the Trieste question, finalization of the Italy-Yugoslav boundary and Italian rearmament. Thereafter, from 1949 to 1952, he held posts in the Central Intelligence Agency.

In November 1952, he assumed command of the 15th Infantry Regiment of the 3d Infantry Division, leading it in combat in two Korean campaigns. He then became Senior Advisor, I Republic of Korea Army Corps and served with that corps through the balance of the Korean conflict.

As an instructor at the Army War College, Colonel Stilwell organized the first National Strategy Seminar and was a member of the Advanced Studies Group. In the summer of 1954, he was temporarily detached for duty as Chief of Staff of a Presidential mission to the Far East.

In 1956, he was assigned to Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), as Chief of Strategic Planning. He left SHAPE in June 1958 to become Commander of the Western Area, Germany. In January 1959, he was detailed to the President's Committee for the study of Foreign Assistance Programs. He left that assignment in July 1959 to report to the U.S. Military Academy. During his first two years at West Point, he was successively Commander of a Cadet regiment and Deputy Commandant of Cadets.

Effective with his promotion to Brigadier General in May 1961, the President appointed him Commandant of Cadets, a post he held until early 1963.

In April 1963, he proceeded to Saigon as Chief of Operations (J-3) of the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV). The following year General Westmoreland made him his Chief of Staff. There he had a major role in the planning and preparation for the massive American commitment to Vietnam.

In mid-summer 1965, General Stilwell left Vietnam to become Commander, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Thailand (MACTHAI) and concurrently Chief, Joint U.S. Military Group. For the next two years, he superintended the major buildup of U.S. military forces and facilities, primarily Air Force, in that country.

Effective 12 April 1968, General Stilwell became Deputy Commanding General, III Marine Amphibious Force, and on 30 June 1968 he assumed command of the Provisional Corps Vietnam, a three division force, concentrated in the northern two provinces of South Vietnam. On 15 August 1968, the Provisional Corps Vietnam was redesignated the XXIV U.S. Army Corps.

Upon his return from Vietnam in August 1969, Lieutenant General Stilwell was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations and concurrently, Senior U.S. Army Member of the Military Staff, Committee of the United Nations.

On 20 October 1972, General Stilwell became Commanding General, Sixth U.S. Army. Effective August 1973, he assumed his final assignment as Commander-in-Chief United Nations Command, Commander-in-Chief U.S. Forces Korea and Commanding General Eighth U.S. Army. General Stilwell retired from active duty on 31 October 1976.

However, he did not stop his contributions to the Department of Defense. He served as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from February 1981 to February 1985. He then continued his service in various capacities to Government, veteran's organizations, and the military.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal with 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Silver Star Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Legion of Merit with 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Air Medal with Award Numeral 30
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Army Commendation Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Purple Heart
American Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star
American Campaign Medal
Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal with Silver Star
World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star
Korean Service Medal with 3 Bronze Stars
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Vietnam Service Medal with Silver and 2 Bronze Stars
United Nations Service Medal
Army Meritorious Unit Commendation
Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "Valor" Device
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm
Combat Infantryman Badge
Parachutist Badge

Foreign Medals

Order of Leopold with Palm
Croix de Guerre (Belgium)
Croix de Guerre with Star (France)
Croix de Guerre (Luxembourg)
Order of the White Lion
Croix de Guerre (Czechoslovakia)
Order of Italy
Order of Ulchi (Korea)
War Cross with Crown (Greece)
Vietnamese Army Distinguished Service Order, First Class
Chuong My Medal, First Class (Korea)
Vietnamese National Order, Third Class
Vietnamese Rural Construction Medal
Vietnamese Fourragere of the National Order


General Richard Giles Stilwell died on 25 December 1991 in Fairfax, VA.

He is survived by his wife, Alice S. Stilwell; three daughters, Ann S. Strong, Barbara S. Snook, and Dian S. Shackleford (Major, U.S. Army Nurse Corps); and his son, Richard G. Stilwell, Jr. (Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Retired). His son William J. Stilwell is buried at the U.S. Military Academy Post Cemetery at West Point, NY.

Honoree ID: 335   Created by: MHOH




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