Norstad, Lauris


Led US and NATO forces in Europe during the Berlin and Cuban Missile crises, 1975 TLS on inviting Vice President Rockefeller to speak at the Army War College


Autograph ID: 6824
Condition: Very good
Description: “(1907-1988) USAAF & USAF General, commanded US & NATO forces in Europe during the 1961 Berlin crisis. He was scheduled to relinquish his NATO command on Nov. 1, 1962, but the Cuban missile crisis prompted NATO to ask him to remain until early in 1963. USMA 1930, to US Army Air Corps 1931, named 12th Air Force Asst. Chief of Staff for Operations (A-3) Aug. 1942, to England in Sept. for Operation Husky, then to Algiers in October. Promoted to Brig. General Feb. 1943 and Asst. Chief of Staff for Operations of the Northwestern African Air Forces. In Dec. 1943 he was appointed Director of Operations, Mediterranean Allied Air Forces, moving with it to Casserta, Italy in Feb. 1944. He transferred to Washington in August as Deputy Chief of Air Staff at AAF HQ and 10th Air Force Chief of Staff. On May 8, 1945, he assumed duty as Asst. Chief of Air Staff for Plans at AAF HQ, promoted to Major General. Relieved of assignment as Chief of Staff of the 20th Air Force in Feb. 1946, he continued as Asst. Chief of Air Staff for Plans until the next June, when appointed Director of the War Dept.’s Plans & Operations Division. On Oct. 1, 1947, following the division of the War Department into the Departments of The Army and The Air Force, General Norstad was appointed Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, and in May 1948, assumed additional duty as Acting Air Force Vice Chief of Staff. In Oct. 1950, He was Commander-in-Chief, US Air Forces Europe (USAFE). On April 2, 1951 he assumed additional duty as Commanding General, Allied Air Forces Central Europe under SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe). Air Deputy to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR) July 27, 1953-Nov. 20, 1956, when President Eisenhower appointed him SACEUR and Commander-in-Chief, US European Command. As SACEUR, he repeatedly urged that NATO be strengthened in manpower, quality and equipment. One of his innovations was the establishment in 1961, using existing formations, of a fast-moving multinational unit. He retired Dec. 31, 1963 and was Chairman & CEO of Owens-Corning Fiberglass Corp. 1967-72.

TLS on10 ½ x 7 ¼ personal letterhead while heading Owens-Corning Fiberglass Corp., NYC, February 6 1975, to Major General DeWitt C. Smith Jr., Commandant, Army War College. Norstad recommends Vice President Nelson Rockefeller as an outstanding speaker for the AWC graduating class, he being “a very lively, inspiring person and would not only make the occasion an important one but would also leave something of substance with everyone of your graduates.” He suggests retired General Schuyler, or Generals Gruenther or Goodpaster as best persons to contact Rockefeller.

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, 2nd lieutenant with the 4th Armored Div. in combat after Normandy to the end of the War. Wounded 3 times, awarded a 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, a battalion XO and commander in Germany, and served at the Pentagon before going to the Army War College. He 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. He retired in 1980.”

Type: Letter

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