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First Name: Louis

Last Name: Wagner

Birthplace: Jackson, MO, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Carson

Date of Birth: 24 January 1932

Rank: General

Years Served: 1954-1989
Louis Carson Wagner, Jr.

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1954

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Louis Carson Wagner, Jr.
General, U.S. Army

Louis Carson Wagner, Jr. was born on 24 January 1932 in Jackson, MO. Upon graduation from the U.S. Military Academy in 1954, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Armor, and awarded a Bachelor of Science degree. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from the University of Illinois. His military education includes completion of the U.S. Army Armor School; U.S. Army Command and General Staff College; and Naval War College. He also completed the Airborne and Ranger Schools at the U.S. Army Infantry School.

His initial Army assignments were as Platoon Leader, Company Executive Officer, Company Commander and Assistant S-4, 11th Airborne Division (later redesignated the 24th Infantry Division), Fort Campbell, KY, and U.S. Army Europe, followed by assignment as a Troop Commander in the 6th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Knox, KY. He instructed at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for three years and was then assigned to the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV).

Wagner served as a Test Officer and Chief, Armor Test Division at the U.S. Army Arctic Test Center, Fort Greely, AK, for two years, followed by assignment as Commander of a light airborne armor battalion at Fort Riley, KS, and Fort Bragg, NC. After attending the Naval War College, he returned to Vietnam as an infantry and armor advisor.

He next became a staff officer in the Weapons Systems Analysis Directorate in the Office, Assistant Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, followed by assignment as the Executive, Materiel Programs Directorate. He was then assigned as Deputy Director of Materiel Programs in the Office of the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, followed by assignment as the Executive, Materiel Programs Directorate. He then was assigned as Deputy Director of Materiel Programs in the Office of the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army and, subsequently, Special Assistant for the Army Materiel Acquisition Review Committee in the same office.

In November 1974, General Wagner became the Commander of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Armored Division in Germany. After promotion to Brigadier General, he was assigned as the Deputy Director, Combat Support Systems, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff (Research, Development and Acquisition), U.S. Army in Washington, DC.

Other key assignments included Commanding General of the U.S. Army Armor Center; Commandant, U.S. Army Armor School, Fort Knox, KY; and Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans (Force Development), HQDA, Washington. From July 1984 until April 1987, Lieutenant General Wagner served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development and Acquisition, Department of the Army, Washington.

Wagner was promoted to four-star General on 13 April 1987 and assigned as Commander of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, where he remained until 26 September 1989. He retired from active service in September 1989.

Medals, Awards, Badges & Tabs

Distinguished Service Cross
Army Distinguished Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart
Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal with Award Numeral 2
Army Commendation Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star
Vietnam Service Medal with Silver Star
Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon with Award Numeral 2
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal
Combat Infantryman Badge
Senior Parachutist Badge
Army Staff Identification 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 (Armor) Louis Carson Wagner, 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 Advisory Team 4, United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. Lieutenant Colonel Wagner distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions during the period 29 April to 2 May 1972 while serving as Senior Advisor, 1st Armor Brigade, Army of the Republic of Vietnam. The 1st Armor Brigade was ordered to protect Quang Tri City, at all cost, against three North Vietnamese Divisions supported by two regiments of tanks. As the enemy overwhelmed and shattered the brigade, Colonel Wagner's calm and exemplary gallantry and courage became a rallying symbol to the demoralized soldiers. Disregarding his own personal safety, Colonel Wagner maintained his position at the point of severest contact and was injured when his command personnel carrier was forced to cross a bridge destroyed by enemy artillery. Refusing aid, he assisted in evacuation of his counterpart who had been wounded. When the brigade was given the mission of breaking the North Vietnamese stranglehold on the supply route to the defenders of Quang Tri, Colonel Wagner, his injury still untreated, exposed himself continuously to enemy machine gun and antitank rocket fire while directing air strikes. As the brigade's position became less tenable and the North Vietnamese forces encircled it, Colonel Wagner's daring courage and calm leadership became the guiding force that enabled the South Vietnamese to extricate themselves without crippling losses. Although knowing that large elements of four North Vietnamese Divisions would isolate his position, Colonel Wagner elected to remain with his counterpart and attempt a breakthrough. As they received devastating enemy artillery and a two-sided enemy tank attack, Lieutenant Colonel Wagner led the brigade in a penetration of the enemy encirclement to friendly lines. Lieutenant Colonel Wagner's calm and fearless leadership was singularly responsible for preventing the 1st Armor Brigade's complete decimation and saved the lives of many of his South Vietnamese comrades. Lieutenant Colonel Wagner's conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary actions are 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. 2333 (October 3, 1972)

Honoree ID: 351   Created by: MHOH




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