Melvin Zais

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Melvin Zais
Melvin Zais.jpeg
General Melvin Zais
Born (1916-05-08)May 8, 1916
Fall River, Massachusetts
Died May 7, 1981(1981-05-07) (aged 64)
Beaufort, South Carolina[1]
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Emblem of the United States Department of the Army.svg United States Army
Years of service 1937-1976
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General
Commands held 1st Infantry Division
101st Airborne Division
XXIV Corps
Third Army
Battles/wars World War II
Vietnam War
Awards Silver Star (2)
Legion of Merit (3)
Distinguished Flying Cross (2)
Bronze Star

General Melvin Zais (May 8, 1916 – May 7, 1981) was a United States Army general.

General Zais attended the University of New Hampshire and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science. In 1937 he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve. He attended the U.S. Command and General Staff College, and was also a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College, and the National War College. He was promoted to Brigadier General, June 1, 1964; Major General, May 1, 1967; and Lieutenant General, August 1, 1969. He was named Commanding General, Allied Land Forces South-Eastern Europe, Izmir, Turkey, effective August 1973 following his promotion to General on July 13 the month prior.

He was a veteran of World War II and Vietnam War. His assignments included Commander, 1st Infantry Division, United States Army, Vietnam, 1966; Director of Individual Training, Office, Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C., 1966–68; Commanding General, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile), U.S. Army, Vietnam, 1968–69; Commanding General, XXIV Corps, U.S. Army, Vietnam, 1969–70; Director for Operations, J-3, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C., 1970–72; Commanding General, Third Army, 1972–73

In 1940 he was a member of the original Parachute battalion later the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. During World War II, Zais was the Executive Officer of the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment, fighting in Italy, in southern France and in the Battle of the Bulge. During his command of the 101st Airborne Division in Viet Nam, they fought the Battle of Hamburger Hill.

Awards and decorations[edit]

His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster; Legion of Merit with Two Oak Leaf Clusters; Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster; Bronze Star .

Combat Infantry Badge.svg
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Silver star
Bronze star
Bronze star
1 star jump.svg
Combat Infantryman Badge
Basic Army Aviator Badge
Distinguished Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters Silver Star with oak leaf cluster Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster Bronze Star Purple Heart
Air Medal Joint Service Commendation Medal Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster
American Defense Service Medal with service star American Campaign Medal European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four service stars
World War II Victory Medal Army of Occupation Medal National Defense Service Medal with one service star
Vietnam Service Medal with seven service stars National Order of Vietnam National Order of Vietnam
Gallantry Cross (Vietnam) Armed Forces Honor Medal Vietnam Campaign Medal
Master Combat Parachutist Badge w/ 1 star

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Josh Barbanel (1981-05-07). "GEN. MELVIN ZAIS, 64, FORMER NATO CHIEF FOR SOUTHEAST EUROPE - Obituary". United States: Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
Military offices
Preceded by
Albert O. Connor
Commanding General of the Third United States Army
1972 – 1973
Succeeded by
Warren Bennett
Preceded by
Olinto M. Barsanti
Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division
1968 – 1969
Succeeded by
John Wright