Maxwell R. Thurman
|Maxwell R. Thurman|
General Maxwell Reid Thurman
February 18, 1931|
High Point, North Carolina
|Died||December 1, 1995
Walter Reed Army Medical Center
|Buried at||Arlington National Cemetery|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1953-1991|
|Commands held||Training and Doctrine Command
*1958 Lebanon crisis
|Awards||Legion of Merit
Bronze Star with "V" device
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
|Relations||Lieutenant General John R. Thurman III (brother)|
Maxwell Reid Thurman (February 18, 1931 – December 1, 1995) was a U.S. Army general, Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, and former commander of United States Army Training and Doctrine Command.
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. He was commissioned a second lieutenant of Ordnance from NCSU's ROTC program in 1953 but 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 1961-63 he served in Vietnam as an Intelligence Officer for I Vietnamese 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 Vietnam in 1967, where he assumed command of the 2d Howitzer Battalion, 35th Artillery Regiment in 1968.
After completing the U.S. Army War College in 1970, Thurman held numerous troop and staff assignments before assuming command of U.S. Army Recruiting Command in 1979, where he initiated the highly successful "BE ALL YOU CAN BE" recruiting campaign. From 1981-83 he was Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army, Personnel (DCSPER) and from 1983-87 he was the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army (VCSA).
In 1989 Thurman applied for retirement while serving as Command General, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). Instead, he was handpicked by President George H. 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. He 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's awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star with "V" device. In August 2010 Thurman was posthumously inducted into the Theta Tau Alumni Hall of Fame for outstanding contribution to his profession.
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. 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.
Thurman, a lifelong bachelor, was survived by his brother, the late Army Lieutenant General John R. Thurman III.
- Joint Chiefs of Staff Badge
- Master Parachutist Badge
- Army General Staff Badge
Decorations and Medals
- Defense Distinguished Service Medal
- Distinguished Service Medal (two awards)
- Legion of Merit (two awards)
- Bronze Star Medal with "V" device (two awards)
- Meritorious Service Medal (two awards)
- Air Medal (three awards)
- Army Commendation Medal (two awards)
- Joint Service Achievement Medal
- National Defense Service Medal with star
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
- Vietnam Service Medal with 5 campaign stars
- Army Service Ribbon
- Overseas Service Ribbon
- Armed Forces Honor Medal (Republic of Vietnam)
- Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal
- Maxwell R. Thurman at Find a Grave
- NCSU Military Bio
- STATE GRADS DEVELOP ARMY MANPOWER - April 1985 
- NCSU Army ROTC Bio
- NCSU Army ROTC Alumni - 1953
Gen. John A. Wickham, Jr.
|Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army
1983 – 1987
Gen. Arthur E. Brown, Jr.
Carl E. Vuono
|Commanding General, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command
John W. Foss
Gen. Frederick Woerner
|United States Southern Command
Gen. George A. Joulwan