Froehlke, Robert F.


1972 TLS from the Army Secretary seeking criteria and considerations, not names, in replacing General Westmoreland as Army Chief of Staff


Autograph ID: 6792
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1922-2016) Secretary of the Army 1971-73. Served in WW II, becoming a lawyer after the War. A longtime friend of Melvin r. Laird, he managed Laird’s congressional campaigns. When Laird became Defense Secretary, Froehlke was appointed Assistant Secretary of Defense for Administration. He served until 1971, responsible for all Department of Defense intelligence resources and was chairman of the Defense Investigative Review Council. He was Secretary of the Army July 1971-May 1973. Under his administration, the Army redeployed its last troops from Vietnam and converted from the draft to an all-volunteer force. In addition, Army administration of the Ryukyu Islands was ended, and US biological warfare facilities were closed to comply with international treaties and conventions. As Army Secretary, he was responsible for the action changing from dishonorable to honorable the discharges of African-American soldiers falsely accused of crimes in the 1906 Brownsville Affair. After resigning as Secretary of the Army, Froehlke returned to the business world.

TLS on 10 ½ x 8 letterhead as Secretary of the Army, Washinton, January 3 1972, to Brig. Gen. DeWitt C. Smith Jr., Dep. Chief of Public Information, Office of the Secretary of the Army and to the Army Chief of Staff. Froehlke notes that General Wm. Westmoreland will complete “hios distinguished and successful tenure” as Chief Army of Staffand one of Froehlke’s “most important decisions” will be to recommend his replacement to Defense Secretary Laird within the next 2 months, the recommendation must be Froehlke’s to make. Wanting to make sure that no important consideration is overlooked, he seks “the wise counsel of experienced and dedicated Army leaders (civilian and military – Active and Reserve)”. He invites Smith to provide “your confidential thoughts on the criteria and considerations I should use in arriving at an ultimate recommendation.” He stresses that he wants ideas, not names. In a postscript, he adds: “Happy New Year! This is not an order or a wish – it is a prediction. 1972 is going to be a vintage year for the Army and…the U.S.A.” Westmoreland’s successor, General Bruce Palmer, would serve for 4 months.

DeWITT C. SMITH,JR. (1920 -1985) US Army officer, former deputy Army Chief of Staff, twice (and longest-serving) Army War College commandant 1974 -77, 1978-80. Joined the Army 1942, commissioned 2nd lieutenant, with the 4th Armored Div. in combat after Normandy to the end of the War. Wounded 3 times, awarded Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars, and 3 Purple Hearts. Discharged 1946, returned to active duty in Korea and stayed in the military. He was an aide to Chief of Staff Maxwell Taylor, served in the “Old Guard” at Fort Myer, a battalion XO and commander in Germany. He served at the Pentagon before going to the Army War College. Led a combat brigade of the 1st Infantry in Vietnam. In 1970, under his leadership, Fort Carson, Colo. was made an initial test site for the modern volunteer Army concept. After his stints at the War College, he retired in 1980.

WILLIAM C. WESTMORELAND (1914-2005) USMA 1936, 1st in his class. In Jan. 1964, became Deputy Commander of Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV), known for positive assessments of US military prospects and regular requests for increases in US troop strength. Led US military operations in the Vietnam, Army Chief of Staff 1968-72.”
Type: Letter

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