Frederick Kroesen

Last updated
Frederick Kroesen Jr.
Frederick Kroesen VCSA.JPG
Kroesen as commander of NATO Central Army Group
Born(1923-02-11)February 11, 1923
Phillipsburg, New Jersey
DiedApril 30, 2020(2020-04-30) (aged 97)
Alexandria, Virginia
Buried
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1943–1983
Rank General
Commands held NATO Central Army Group
United States Army Europe
United States Seventh Army
Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army
United States Army Forces Command
VII Corps
82nd Airborne Division
23rd Infantry Division
196th Light Infantry Brigade
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star (2)
Legion of Merit (3)
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star Medal with "V" (3)
Other workChairman, Military Professional Resources Inc

Frederick James Kroesen Jr. (February 11, 1923 – April 30, 2020) was a United States Army four-star general who served as the Commanding General of the Seventh United States Army and the commander of NATO Central Army Group from 1979 to 1983, and Commanding General, United States Army Forces Command from 1976 to 1978. He also served as Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1978 to 1979. He commanded troops in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, enabling him to be one of the very small number who ever was entitled to wear the Combat Infantryman Badge with two Stars, denoting active combat in three wars.

Contents

Early life

Kroesen was born in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, [1] [2] the son of Jean (Shillinger) and Frederick Kroesen, who worked for the New Jersey state government. [3] His paternal ancestor, Garret Dircksen Kroesen (1638-1680) arrived in America (New Netherland) from the Netherlands around 1661. Kroesen moved to the Lawrenceville section of Lawrence Township, Mercer County, New Jersey as a child and he attended Trenton Central High School. [4] A 1944 graduate of Rutgers University, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture. He earned Bachelor of Arts (1962) and Master of Arts (1966) degrees in International Affairs at George Washington University. In addition, he was also a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity to which his membership traces back to his days at Rutgers University.

Military career

World War II

In 1944 Kroesen was commissioned through the Infantry Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia, then fought in World War II with the 254th Infantry Regiment of the 63rd Infantry Division. He was a company grade officer, serving as platoon leader and company commander, in the fighting in the Colmar Pocket and into Germany. On the 26 and 27 January 1945, [5] he participated in the particularly tough fighting in Jebsheim.

Korean War

During the Korean War Kroesen served in Korea with the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team.

Vietnam War

Kroesen was the commander of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade of the 23rd Infantry Division in 1968. He was an adviser to the assistant chief of staff, J-3, in Vietnam, and then served there as commander of the 23rd Infantry Division; deputy commander, XXIV Corps; and commanding general, First Regional Assistance Command.

Post-Vietnam

After returning from Vietnam, Kroesen served as Deputy Commander, XXIV Corps (1972), Commanding General, 82nd Airborne Division (1972–1974), Deputy Commanding General, V Corps (1974–1975) and Commanding General, VII Corps (1975–1976).

In 1976 Kroesen was promoted to the rank of four star general (O-10), becoming the first Officer Candidate School (OCS) graduate to hold that rank. He then served as Commanding General, United States Army Forces Command (1976–1978) and Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army (1978–1979).

Red Army Faction attack

From 1979 to 1983 Kroesen served as commander of United States Army Europe and a commander of the Seventh United States Army.

As Commander of the United States Army Forces Command GEN KROESEN.jpg
As Commander of the United States Army Forces Command

Kroesen was injured in Heidelberg on September 15, 1981, when his armoured Mercedes [6] was targeted with an RPG-7 anti-tank rocket. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by the "Kommando Gudrun Ensslin" of the Red Army Faction (aka Baader-Meinhof Gang). [7] [8] In 1991, West German prosecutors announced that former East German secret police leader Erich Mielke had been indicted for collusion with the attack. [9]

Later life

After retiring from the army in 1983, Kroesen became a businessman. [10] He was chairman of the board of Military Professional Resources Inc. (incorporated in 1987) and a senior fellow at the Institute of Land Warfare of the Association of the United States Army. He was a Vice-President of the American Security Council Foundation. General Kroesen was a Compatriot of the George Washington Chapter of the Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution based on the service of his ancestor, Johannes Kroesen, who served as a second lieutenant in the Bucks County Pennsylvania Militia during the Revolutionary War. [11] [12]

Kroesen died in Alexandria, Virginia, on April 30, 2020, at the age of 97 after a long illness. [3] [13] He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Military education

Senior assignments

Awards and decorations

CIB3.svg Combat Infantryman Badge, third award
Master Parachutist badge (United States).svg Master Parachutist Badge
German Silver Para badge.jpg Silver German Parachutist Badge
United States Army Staff Identification Badge.png Army Staff Identification Badge
Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
Kroesen in 2005 Frederick Kroesen - 2005.jpg
Kroesen in 2005
Defense Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg Army Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Silver Star ribbon.svg
Silver Star with one oak leaf cluster
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg
Legion of Merit, with two oak leaf clusters
Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon.svg Distinguished Flying Cross
Valor device.svg
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Bronze Star ribbon.svg
Bronze Star, with v device & two oak leaf clusters
Air Medal ribbon.svg Award numeral 2.png Award numeral 9.png Air Medal, with bronze award numeral 29
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Army Commendation Medal ribbon.svg
Army Commendation Medal, with two oak leaf clusters
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Purple Heart BAR.svg
Purple Heart, with one oak leaf cluster
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg
Army Presidential Unit Citation, with two oak leaf clusters
Army Good Conduct ribbon.svg Army Good Conduct Medal
American Campaign Medal ribbon.svg American Campaign Medal
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.svg
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, with three service stars
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation ribbon.svg Army of Occupation Medal
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg
National Defense Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Korean Service Medal - Ribbon.svg
Korean Service Medal, with one service star
Silver-service-star-3d.svg
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Vietnam Service Medal ribbon.svg
Vietnam Service Medal, with eight service stars
Army Service Ribbon.svg Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon.svg Award numeral 3.png Army Overseas Service Ribbon, with award numeral 3
Legion Honneur Officier ribbon.svg French Legion of Honour (Officer)
VPD National Order of Vietnam - Officer BAR.svg National Order of Vietnam (Officer)
VPD National Order of Vietnam - Knight BAR.svg National Order of Vietnam (Knight)
Vietnam Military Merit Ribbon.svg Vietnam Military Merit Medal
Vietnam Army Distinguished Service Order Ribbon-First Class.svg Vietnam Army Distinguished Service Order, 1st Class
Vietnamese Gallantry Cross, with palm.svg Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm (four awards)
GER Bundesverdienstkreuz 5 GrVK Stern 218px.svg Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Knight Commander's Cross)
Korean Presidential Unit Citation.png Korean Presidential Unit Citation
Gallantry Cross Unit Citation.png Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
United Nations Service Medal Korea ribbon.svg United Nations Korea Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal ribbon with 60- clasp.svg Vietnam Campaign Medal
Republic of Korea War Service Medal ribbon.svg Korean War Service Medal

Other honors

Works

Related Research Articles

J. Lawton Collins United States Army general

General Joseph Lawton Collins was a senior United States Army officer. During World War II, he served in both the Pacific and European Theaters of Operations, one of a few senior American commanders to do so. He was Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the Korean War.

Gary E. Luck

Gary Edward Luck is a retired four-star general of the United States Army. Following his retirement, he was a senior advisor to the United States Joint Forces Command prior to that command's inactivation. He is currently a Senior Fellow for the National Defense University in support of the Pinnacle, Capstone, and Keystone programs.

Melvin Zais

Melvin Zais was a United States Army general who served in the Second World War and Vietnam War.

Edward C. Meyer American military officer

Edward Charles "Shy" Meyer was a United States Army general who served as the 29th Chief of Staff of the United States Army.

Frederick C. Weyand

Frederick Carlton Weyand was a general in the United States Army. Weyand was the last commander of United States military operations in the Vietnam War from 1972 to 1973, and served as the 28th Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1974 to 1976.

David E. Grange Jr.

David E. Grange Jr. is a retired lieutenant general in the United States Army.

Charles C. Campbell (general) United States Army general

Charles Christopher "Hondo" Campbell was a United States Army officer who served as the 17th Commanding General, United States Army Forces Command (FORSCOM). He previously served as FORSCOM's Deputy Commanding General and Chief of Staff from April 26, 2006 to January 8, 2007. He assumed the commanding general assignment January 9, 2007, and completed it on June 3, 2010.

William W. Hartzog US Army general

William White Hartzog was a United States Army General whose commands during his 35-year career include the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, the 1st Infantry Division, and United States Army South. He was born in Wilmington, North Carolina.

James T. Hill US Army general

General James Thomas Hill is a retired United States Army four-star general who served as commander of United States Southern Command from 2002 to 2004. Hill also served as the Commanding General, I Corps and Fort Lewis.

Joseph T. Palastra Jr.

Joseph Thomas Palastra Jr. was a United States Army four-star general who served as Commanding General, United States Army Forces Command from 1986 to 1989. During his tenure, in 1987, the title was changed to Commander in Chief, Forces Command. He was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame, class of 2010.

George S. Blanchard American military general

George Samuel Blanchard was a United States Army four-star general who served as Commander in Chief, United States Army Europe/Commander, Central Army Group from 1975 to 1979.

Walter T. Kerwin Jr.

Walter Thomas Kerwin Jr. was a United States Army four star general who served as Commanding General, United States Continental Army Command in 1973, Commanding General, United States Army Forces Command from 1973 to 1974, and Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1974 to 1978. He was the first commander of United States Army Forces Command and a member of the Association of the United States Army's Advisory Board of Directors since 1984.

Arthur E. Brown Jr.

Arthur Edmon Brown Jr. is a retired United States Army four-star general who served as Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army (VCSA) from 1987 to 1989.

Hugh P. Harris United States Army general

Hugh Pate Harris was a United States Army four-star general who served as Commanding General, U.S. Continental Army Command from 1964 to 1965.

William Robertson Desobry United States Army general

William Robertson Desobry was a senior U.S. Army field commander in Germany during the Cold War, and a Lieutenant General in the United States Army. General Desobry was a decorated hero from World War II, and played a significant role as an advisor to the Republic of Vietnam Army and on the Army Staff during the Vietnam War. In addition to commanding a division and corps, he was the Commanding General of the Armor Center and was the President of the XM-1 Tank Task Force.

John F. Campbell (general)

John Francis Campbell is a retired United States Army general who was commander of the Resolute Support Mission and United States Forces – Afghanistan. He was the 16th and last commander of the International Security Assistance Force. Prior to this, he served as the 34th Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army. He is currently a member of the board of directors of IAP, and BAE Systems, and serves on the advisory board of Code of Support Foundation.

Michael Ferriter

Michael Ferriter is a retired United States Army Lieutenant General. He served as commanding general of the United States Army Installation Management Command/U.S. Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management from 2011 until 2014. During his career he has participated in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia, and served three tours of duty in Iraq. On June 19, 2018, he was named president and CEO of the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus, Ohio.

Ben Hodges United States Army officer

Frederick Benjamin "Ben" Hodges III is a retired United States Army officer who served as commanding general, United States Army Europe. He is currently the Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis.

Fillmore K. Mearns was a United States Army lieutenant general who served as commander of the 25th Infantry Division during the Vietnam War and later as commander of VII Corps in West Germany.

Howard Harrison Cooksey was a United States Army Lieutenant General who served as deputy commander of the 23rd Infantry Division during the Vietnam War.

References

  1. Former Vice Chief Gen. Frederick Kroesen Dies
  2. Mrozek, Steven J. (1997). 82nd Airborne Division (Google books). Turner Publishing Company. p. 194. ISBN   1-56311-364-3 . Retrieved 6 December 2010.
  3. 1 2 Goldstein, Richard (May 6, 2020). "Gen. Frederick Kroesen, 97, Dies; Survived a Terrorist Attack". The New York Times. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  4. Piehler, Kurt; and Marley, Lynn. Kroesen, Frederick, Rutgers University Oral History Archives, March 16, 1998. Accessed May 4, 2020. "When I was ten-years-old, we moved to Eggerts Road in, what is now, Lawrenceville.... I was in Trenton Central High School, as a senior, and she came as a sophomore that year. We only had three grades in Trenton High, in those days."
  5. p. 546
  6. photo of the car
  7. Stars and Stripes Published: August 5, 2005
  8. Jessup, John E. (1998). An encyclopedic dictionary of conflict and conflict resolution, 1945–1996 (Google books). Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 409. ISBN   0-313-28112-2 . Retrieved 6 December 2010.
  9. "World IN BRIEF : GERMANY : Ex-Security Chief Accused in Attack", Los Angeles Times , March 27, 1991.
  10. "Center for Military Readiness". Archived from the original on 2007-02-03. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
  11. www.gwsar.org
  12. Association of the United States Army details Kroesen's association with SAR
  13. Association of the United States Army announces death of GEN Kroesen
  14. 1 2 3 General Kroesen bio Archived 2012-04-26 at the Wayback Machine
  15. GEN Kroesen named honorary SMA
Military offices
Preceded by
Walter T. Kerwin, Jr.
Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army
1978–1979
Succeeded by
John William Vessey, Jr.
Preceded by
George S. Blanchard
Commanding General of United States Army Europe
1979–1983
Succeeded by
Glenn K. Otis