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Richard G. Stilwell

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Richard G. Stilwell
General Stilwell in the 1970s
Born(1917-02-24)February 24, 1917
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
DiedDecember 25, 1991(1991-12-25) (aged 74)[1][2]
Falls Church, Virginia, U.S.
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1938–1976
Commands heldUnited States Forces Korea
Sixth United States Army
XXIV Corps
1st Armored Division
15th Infantry Regiment
Battles/warsWorld War II
Korean War
Vietnam War
AwardsDefense Distinguished Service Medal
Distinguished Service Medal (4)
Silver Star (2)
Legion of Merit (4)
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star Medal (3)
Purple Heart

Richard Giles Stilwell (February 24, 1917 – December 25, 1991) was a United States Army general who served as Commander United States Forces Korea from 1973 to 1976, and acting Commander of the U.S. Army Pacific from September to December 1974. He was not closely related to General Joseph W. Stilwell.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Buffalo, New York, in 1917, Stilwell attended Brown University before graduating from the United States Military Academy in 1938 with a commission into the Corps of Engineers. He subsequently attended the U.S. Army War College.


A bust of Stilwell in June 2011
Stilwell in South Korea

World War II[edit]

During World War II, Stilwell participated in the Normandy invasion, and briefly served under General Patton immediately after the war during the occupation of Europe. From there he was a special military advisor to the U.S. Embassy in Rome before serving in the Central Intelligence Agency.

Cold War[edit]

Major commands for Stilwell included Commander of the U.S. Military Assistance Command, Thailand (MACTHAI) from 1965 to 1967. From there he commanded the 1st Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas, from 1967 to 1968. After his return to Vietnam, Stilwell commanded the XXIV Corps from 1968 to 1969.

Korean War[edit]

During the Korean War, Stilwell commanded the 15th Infantry Regiment, and was a senior advisor to the I Republic of Korea (ROK) Army Corps. In Vietnam, General Westmoreland appointed Stilwell as his Chief of Staff.

West Point[edit]

As a brigadier general, Stilwell was Commandant of Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. while General Westmoreland was Superintendent during the early 1960s.

Vietnam War[edit]

Other significant assignments for Stilwell were Deputy Commanding General, III Marine Amphibious Force in Vietnam during 1968, and Deputy Chief of Staff for US Military Operations at the Pentagon under Army Chief of Staff General Westmoreland, 1969–1972. His major awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and numerous foreign decorations.

South Korea[edit]

Stilwell later served as the Commanding General of the Sixth United States Army, at the Presidio from 1972 to 1973, followed by Commander-in-Chief of the United Nations Command in Korea. Stilwell oversaw Operation Paul Bunyan to remove a tree in the DMZ.

Later life and death[edit]

After retiring from the army, Stilwell served as U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy from 1981 to 1985.


  1. ^ "Richard G. Stilwell, 74, is dead: Commanded UN forces in Korea". The New York Times. New York. December 26, 1991.
  2. ^ Army announcement of Stilwell's death