Abrams Jr., Creighton W.
Commanded Vietnam War military operations 1968-72, Army’s main battle tank, M1Abrams, named for the former armor commander
Description: (1914-1974) US Army general, commanded Vietnam War military operations 1968-72, which saw US troop strength in So. Vietnam reduced from a peak of 543,000 to 49,000. He was Army Chief of Staff 1972 until his 1974 death. In 1980, the Army named its then new main battle tank the M1 Abrams after him.
USMA 1936, Abrams became an armor officer early in the development of that branch and served as a tank company commander in the 1st Armored Div. in 1940.
During WW II he served in the 4th Armored Div. then the 37th Armor Regt., later redesignated the 37th Tank Battalion, which Abrams commanded; he also commanded Combat Command B of the division during the Battle of the Bulge, promoted to lieutenant colonel 11 days before his 28th birthday. During much of this time, the 4th Armored Division (led by the 37th Tank Battalion) was the Patton’s 3rd Army spearhead and he was consequently well known as an aggressive armor commander. By using his leadership qualities and by consistently exploiting the relatively small advantages of speed and reliability of his vehicles, he defeated German forces that had the advantage of superior armor and superior guns. He was twice decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross. Abrams was a leader in the relief effort that broke up the German entrenchments surrounding Bastogne and the 101st Airborne Div. during the Battle of the Bulge.
Following WW II, Abrams served on the Army General Staff (1945–46), as head of the department of tactics at the Armored School, Fort Knox (1946–48), and graduated from the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth 1949. He graduated from the Army War College in 1953. He successively served as chief of staff of I, X, and IX Corps in South Korea 1953–54.
He was Chief of Staff of the Armor Center, Fort Knox 1954–56, promoted to brigadier general and appointed deputy chief of staff for reserve components at the Pentagon 1956–59. He commanded the 3rd Armored Div. 1960–62 upon his promotion to major general. He was transferred to the Pentagon as deputy Chief of Staff for Operations 1962–63 and represented the Army Chief of Staff overseeing the armed forces deployed to support the enrolment of James Meredith at Ole Miss and performed a similar role in May 1963 during the Birmingham civil rights protests. Abrams demanded a more coherent policy for swift employment of Federal forces domestically and on 25 May 1963, the Joint Chiefs created the Strike Command, instructed to be prepared “to move ready, deployable, tailored Army forces ranging in size from a reinforced company to a maximum force of 15,000 personnel”. He was promoted to lieut. general and commanded V Corps in Europe 1963–64. He was on the cover of Time Magazine 3 times in 10 years.
Abrams was promoted to General in 1964 and appointed Army Vice Chief of Staff. He was appointed deputy to West Point classmate General William Westmoreland, commander of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) in May 1967 and succeeded him as COMUSMACV on June 10, 1968.
Abrams implemented counterinsurgency tactics focusing on winning the “hearts and minds” of the Vietnamese rural population. US forces continued large-scale operations to engage Viet Cong main force units including the May 1969 Battle of Hamburger Hill. From 1969, the Vietnam War increasingly became a conventional war between the military forces of South Vietnam and North Vietnam. Following Nixon’s election, Abrams began implementing Nixon’s “Vietnamization” policy to decrease US involvement in Vietnam. He decreased US troop strength from a peak of 543,000 in early 1969 to 49,000 in June 1972. South Vietnamese forces with US air support repelled the 1972 VC conventional Easter Offensive. Abrams disdained most of the politicians with whom he was forced to deal, in particular Robert McNamara and McGeorge Bundy, and had an even lower opinion of defense contractors, whom he accused of war profiteering.
Abrams was also in charge of the 1970 Cambodian Incursion. Troop levels in Vietnam eventually reached 25,000 in January 1973 at the time of the four power Paris Peace Accords. Although it occurred before he assumed total command, Abrams bore the brunt of fallout from the March 1968 My Lai massacre.
Nixon grew increasingly dissatisfied with Abrams’ performance during Operation Lam Son 7819 and 4 May 1972 Nixon resolved to replace Abrams with his former deputy General Frederick Weyand, but the decision was not publicly announced until 20 June 1972.
Abrams was appointed Army Chief of Staff by Nixon in June 1972 but he was not confirmed by the Senate until October, due to political repercussions involving accusations of unauthorized bombings of No. Vietnam. During this time, Abrams began the transition to the all-volunteer army, Project VOLAR. In January 1974, Abrams directed the formation of a Ranger battalion; modern Ranger battalions owe their existence to Abrams. Abrams served as Chief of Staff until his death on September 4, 1974.
ISP, 9/22/64 US Army bust portrait in uniform signed as General US Army and Vice Chief of Staff.
Condition: Very good, mild vertical center crease