Maxwell R. Thurman

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Maxwell R. Thurman
Maxwell R Thurman.jpg
General Maxwell Reid Thurman
Nickname(s)"Mad Max"
"Maxatollah"
Born(1931-02-18)February 18, 1931
High Point, North Carolina, US
DiedDecember 1, 1995(1995-12-01) (aged 64)
Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., US
Buried
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1953–1991
Rank General
Commands held United States Southern Command
United States Army Training and Doctrine Command
Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army
United States Army Recruiting Command
2d Howitzer Battalion, 35th Field Artillery Regiment
Battles/wars 1958 Lebanon crisis
Vietnam War
Invasion of Panama
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal (2)
RelationsLieutenant General John R. Thurman III (brother)

Maxwell Reid Thurman (February 18, 1931 – December 1, 1995) was a United States Army general, who served as Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army and commander of United States Army Training and Doctrine Command.

Contents

Early life and education

Thurman attended North Carolina State University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering (ceramics). While in college he was a member of the Professional Engineering Fraternity Theta Tau.

Military career

Thurman was commissioned a second lieutenant of Ordnance from NCSU's ROTC program in 1953 and branch transferred to Field Artillery. His first assignment was with the 11th Airborne Division, and in 1958 his Honest John Rocket platoon was deployed to Lebanon.

From 1961 to 1963 Thurman served in South Vietnam as an Intelligence Officer for South Vietnam's I Corps. Following his service in Vietnam, Thurman became one of the few non-Academy graduates ever assigned as a company tactical officer at the United States Military Academy. In 1966 he attended the Command and General Staff College, then returned to South Vietnam in 1967, where he assumed command of the 2d Howitzer Battalion, 35th Field Artillery Regiment in 1968.

Later assignments

After completing the United States Army War College in 1970, Thurman held numerous troop and staff assignments before assuming command of United States Army Recruiting Command in 1979, where he initiated the highly successful "BE ALL YOU CAN BE" recruiting campaign. From 1981 to 1983 he was Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, Personnel (DCSPER) and from 1983 to 1987 he was the Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army.

In 1989 Thurman applied for retirement while serving as Commanding General, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command. Instead, he was handpicked by President George H. W. Bush to be Commander-in-Chief, United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM). In this position, he planned and executed Operation Just Cause, the 1989 invasion of Panama.

Later life and death

Thurman was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia while still commander in chief of USSOUTHCOM, shortly after Operation Just Cause. He retired in 1991 after more than thirty-seven years of service, and died in 1995 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, aged 64. A funeral service was held on December 7, 1995 at the Fort Myer, Virginia, chapel, followed by interment at Arlington National Cemetery (Section 30, Grave 416-A-LH).

Thurman, a lifelong bachelor, was survived by his brother, the late army Lieutenant General John R. Thurman III.

Honors

Thurman's awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal with "V" device. In August 2010 Thurman was posthumously inducted into the Theta Tau Alumni Hall of Fame for outstanding contribution to his profession.

Legacy

An award is given every year by the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (MRMC) in honor of General Thurman. The award is generally presented at the annual meeting of the American Telemedicine Association.

Thurman's image as a workaholic – captured by the nickname "Mad Max" – was as widespread as his reputation as a master organizer.[ citation needed ] His posting as chief of U.S. Army Recruiting Command in 1979 is considered instrumental in remaking the Army's tarnished, post-Vietnam image and attracting new generations of highly motivated recruits.

Awards and decorations

Defense Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg
Army Distinguished Service Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Valor device.svg
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Bronze Star ribbon.svg
Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device and Oak Leaf Cluster
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Meritorious Service Medal ribbon.svg
Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Air Medal ribbon.svg Award numeral 3.png Air Medal (3 awards)
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Army Commendation Medal ribbon.svg
Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
Us jointservachiev rib.svg Joint Service Achievement Medal
Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon.svg Meritorious Unit Commendation
SSS Distinguished Service.png Selective Service System Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg
National Defense Service Medal with two Service stars
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal ribbon.svg Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg
Vietnam Service Ribbon.svg
Vietnam Service Medal with five Service stars
Army Service Ribbon.svg Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon.svg Army Overseas Service Ribbon
Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal ribbon-First Class.svg Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal 1st class
Ordre national du Merite Commandeur ribbon.svg National Order of Merit (France) (Commander)
GER Bundeswehr Honour Cross Gold ribbon.svg Badge of Honour of the Bundeswehr in gold (Germany)
Order Star Karabora ribbon bar.png Carabobo Star (Venezuela)
Gallantry Cross Unit Citation.png Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
Civil Action Unit Citation.png Civil Actions Medal Unit Citation (Vietnam)
Vietnam Campaign Medal ribbon with 60- clasp.svg Vietnam Campaign Medal

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References

    PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from the United States Government document: " [ dead link ]".

    Military offices
    Preceded by
    John A. Wickham Jr.
    Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army
    1983–1987
    Succeeded by
    Arthur E. Brown Jr.
    Preceded by
    Carl E. Vuono
    Commanding General, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command
    1987–1989
    Succeeded by
    John W. Foss
    Preceded by
    Frederick Woerner
    United States Southern Command
    1989–1990
    Succeeded by
    George A. Joulwan