8th Inf Reg8th Inf Reg
GEN Van Fleet

1892 - 1992






As a military commander, educator, and statesman, James Alward Van Fleet has rendered a lifetime of extraordinary service to the United States, to the international community of freedom loving nations and to his fellow citizens. In successive positions of increasing responsibility in the national interest, General Van Fleet has exemplified outstanding devotion to the principles expressed in the motto of the United States Military Academy - Duty, Honor, Country.

General Van Fleet's contributions to the security of the United States and the western world are without parallel among living American soldiers. His 38 years of military service are replete with extraordinary accomplishment. In World War I he was twice cited for gallantry as he led the 17th Machine Gun Battalion in the final Allied offensive that ended the war. In World War II he led his regiment in the D-Day assault of Utah Beach. Later in the Allied counter offensive in the Ardennes, he commanded the 90th Division, spearheading the Third Army drive to relieve the embattled defenders of Bastogne. VE Day found General Van Fleet commanding the III Corps in the final drive to destroy the German Army.

During the turbulent years immediately following World War II, President Truman called upon General Van Fleet to serve as the Chief United States Military Advisor to a beleaguered Greek nation, verging on collapse in its struggle against communist led guerrillas. General Van Fleet's unflagging energy, his superb military and political insight, and his ability to advise and influence a proud ally, led to the ultimate destruction of the communist insurgency and the salvation of Greece as a free nation.

During the Korean conflict, General Van Fleet again answered his nation's call. Promoted to general, he was named commander of the Eighth Army. Under his dynamic and forceful leadership, United Nations forces halted the advancing enemy and in a brilliant campaign of devastating offensive operations, forced the North Koreans and Chinese to the peace table.

In 1953, General Van Fleet retired from active military service. During his military career he was repeatedly recognized for his extraordinary accomplishments. His military decorations include: three Distinguished Service Crosses, four Distinguished Service Medals, three Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, and three Purple Hearts. He has been decorated by eight foreign nations.

The full measure of General Van Fleet's contribution to the nation is apparent in his continuing service to his fellow citizens. As a successful cattle rancher in Florida, in his literary contributions to the history of his era, as a founder and trustee of the George G. Marshall foundation and as advisor to Presidents, his extraordinary services continue.

Throughout his lifetime of service to his country and to his fellow man, General Van Fleet has made lasting and invaluable contributions to the welfare and security of the United Stales and the nations of the free world. His life of selfless accomplishment exemplifies uncommon dedication and devotion to his country, is in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Army and clearly reflects the values expressed in the motto of West Point. Accordingly, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy hereby presents the 1992 Distinguished Graduate Award to General James A. Van Fleet.


Photo Courtesy of Barry Friedman, The Ledger Online !



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