Louis W. Truman

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Louis Watson Truman
Louis W. Truman.jpg
Born (1908-06-20)June 20, 1908
Kansas City, Missouri
Died December 2, 2004(2004-12-02) (aged 96)
Atlanta, Georgia
Allegiance United StatesUnited States of America
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Years of service 1932-1967
Rank US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General
Service number 0-18755
Commands held Third United States Army
VII Corps
Battles/wars World War II
Korean War
Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star (2)
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star (3)
Relations Harry S. Truman (cousin)
MG Ralph E. Truman (father)


Lieutenant General Louis Watson Truman (June 20, 1908 – December 2, 2004) was the former Commanding General of Third U.S. Army. General Truman was cousin to 33rd President, Harry S. Truman, and served as his Aide-de-Camp during President Truman’s inauguration in 1948.

Military service[edit]

In 1926, General Truman enlisted in Company E, 140th Infantry Regiment of the 35th Division. In July 1928, Truman entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Upon graduation in June 1932, he was commissioned an infantry second lieutenant.

Truman’s first duty assignment was the 6th Infantry Regiment at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. In 1936, then-1st Lt. Truman was assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia, where he completed the Infantry School and the Tank School. Next, he served a two-year tour of duty at Fort Davis, in the Canal Zone and then returned to Fort Benning in September 1940 to be a staff and logistics officer in the 2nd Armored Division’s 14th Armored Brigade. The 2nd Armored Division at the time was commanded by one of the Army’s fastest rising officers; his name was Brig. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

In January 1941, Truman was transferred to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where he was an Aide-de-Camp to Lt. Gen. Walter C. Short, Commanding General of the Hawaiian Department. He was a first-hand witness when the Japanese launched their surprise attack on December 7, 1941. He would continue to serve there until February 1942.

In March 1942, Truman was promoted to the rank of Major and was assigned to U.S. Army Ground Forces Command headquarters, first as an assistant G3/Operations officer and later as Secretary of the General Staff for Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair. In April 1944, now a Lieutenant Colonel, he joined the 84th Infantry Division at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, where he served as both Division Chief of Staff and later as Assistant Division Commander with the 84th Infantry for the duration of World War II.

In August 1944, now promoted as Colonel with only twelve years commissioned service, Truman and the 84th Division landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy unopposed and would later see combat in the European Theater along the Siegfried Line, the Bulge, the Ardennes and in Germany from the Roer to the Elbe Rivers.

In January 1946, Truman was assigned to HQ, U. S. Forces European Theater, Frankfurt, Germany, as Deputy Theater Chief for Special Services. From 1946 to 1948, he was assigned as Secretary, U.S. Delegation, United Nations Military Staff Committee. Truman was a student at the National War College from 1948 to 1949. After his graduation from the War College, Truman was a member of the Joint Strategic Planning Group, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. During this time, Gen. Omar Bradley was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Two years after the start of the Korean War, Truman commanded the 223rd Infantry Regiment of the 40th Infantry Division from July 1952 to January 1953. He saw combat first-hand and later served as Assistant Division Commander of the 2nd Infantry Division until the end of hostilities in July 1953. Later that year, he was selected and promoted to the rank of Brig. Gen and for the next two years, he served as Chief of Staff to Third Army at Fort McPherson, Georgia.

In 1955, he was transferred to Naples, Italy, where Truman was Deputy Chief of Staff – G3/Plans and Operations Officer for NATO’s Southern European Command.

Truman received his second star in 1956 and with it, the Chairmanship of the Military Assistance Advisory Group, Karachi, Pakistan. Truman later returned to the U.S. to take command of the Army's 4th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington, from 1958 until 1960. Subsequently, he was assigned as Deputy Chief of Staff Operations and Training and later as Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Continental Army Command at Fort Monroe, Virginia from 1960-1962. In that same capacity, Truman also commanded Joint Task Force-Four.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy nominated General Truman for promotion to Lieutenant General and from 1963 until 1965, he commanded the Army’s VII Corps at Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany. His final assignment was his selection by the Army’s senior leadership to be the Commanding General of Third Army, at Fort McPherson. Truman commanded Third Army for two years until his retirement on August 1, 1967.

Awards[edit]

During his distinguished military career, Truman was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal, two Silver Stars, two Legions of Merit, three Bronze Star Medals (one with ‘V’ device), two Army Commendation Medals, and the Combat Infantryman Badge with one star. He also wore the American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, The Army of Occupation Medal (Germany), two National Defense Service Medals, Korean Service Medal and UN Service Medal.

Along with his Army awards, he received several foreign decorations; the Legion of Honor and Croix de Guerre from France, the Order of Leopold and Croix de Guerre from Belgium, the Order of Orange Nassau from the Netherlands and the Presidential Unit Citation from the Republic of Korea and others.

General Truman also received many civilian honors. Among them were a Doctorate of Laws degree from Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, a proclamation of July 27, 1967 as “Lt. Gen. Louis W. Truman Day” by former Atlanta Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr. in December 1975 and another proclamation from the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. He was also the third recipient of the “Good Neighbor Award” from the Harry S. Truman Foundation in 1975. Recently, Truman was honored by the West Point Society of Atlanta with its “Distinguished Graduate Award.”

Retirement[edit]

After his retirement from the Army, Truman served as Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Industry and Trade under Georgia Governors Lester Maddox, Jimmy Carter, and George Busbee. From 1976 until 1984, Truman was vice president and special assistant to the president of Adams/Cates Realty in Atlanta.

He resided in Atlanta after his retirement in 1967 after 37 years of active duty in the Army. Born June 20, 1908 in Kansas City, MO, he was preceded in death by his father, Maj. Gen. Ralph Emerson Truman, his mother, Nanny Louise Watson Truman, his brother Col. Corbie Truman, his sister, Henrietta Truman Davidson, and his first wife, Margret Stevenson Truman.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Military offices
Preceded by
William C. Bullock
Commanding General of the Third United States Army
1965–1967
Succeeded by
John L. Throckmorton