From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Oliver W. Dillard
Nickname(s) "Ollie"
Born September 28, 1926
Margaret, Alabama
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1945-1980
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General
(United States Army)
Commands held

Commanding General, U.S. Army Readiness Region II, Fort Dix, NJ

Commander, 5th Combat Support Training Brigade
Battles/wars World War II, 1945-1946
Korea, 1950-1951
Vietnam, 1969-1971, 1972-1973
Awards Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster
Silver Star
Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster
Air Medal
Combat Infantryman’s Badge with Star (2d Award)
Vietnam Distinguished Service Order (2nd Class)

Oliver Williams Dillard is a retired American Major General, the fifth black officer in the US Army to attain flag rank. [1] General Dillard was selected for induction into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame in 2012. He became a member of the Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame, Class of 2012, at Fort Benning, Georgia on May 4, 2012.[2]
He was the first black graduate of the National War College in 1965. General Dillard also served as the first black general officer in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, the last J2 (senior Intelligence officer) for the U.S. Military Assistance Command – Vietnam, the first U.S. Army Forces Command Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence, and the first black Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence for the US Army Europe.[3]
Major General Dillard retired from the Army in 1980, after a career spanning 34 years.

Early life[edit]

Born in Margaret, Alabama, Dillard is the son of Josiephine Dillard (née Williams) and Stonewall Jackson Dillard. His father was a graduate of Tuskegee Institute and a school teacher. In 1942, Oliver graduated Valedictorian from Fairfield Industrial High School in Fairfield, Alabama, and received a scholarship to Tuskegee Institute. One of Tuskegee's top students, he was elected to the Alpha Kappa Mu National Honor Society. He was a Tuskegee Institute Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) student for two years and student instructor for one year. Dillard received the Outstanding ROTC Student Award for 1943 and 1944. He was also their American Legion Honor Medal award winner.


Dillard postponed his academic studies after being drafted in 1945. After attending the United States Army Command and General Staff College class of 1957/1958,[4] he completed his Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Omaha, now the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He also attended George Washington University, where he received a Master of Science in International Affairs in 1965. He completed the National War College at Fort Lesley J. McNair, District of Columbia that year.[1]

Military career[edit]

Enlisted Service[edit]

Dillard attended Basic Training at Fort McClellan, Alabama in June 1945. Army troop transports delivered Dillard and his group of Black replacements to Bremerhaven enroute to Weißenburg in Bayern, Germany, and an assignment to 349th Field Artillery Group. Dillard was selected to serve as company clerk upon his arrival on January 1, 1946. He worked his way through the ranks and was rewarded, attaining Technical Sergeant.
Dillard successfully completed the OCS selection process and was approved for attendance at the Infantry OCS at Fort Benning in January 1947. Oliver W. Dillard was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry after graduating from Infantry OCS in July 1947.

Commissioned Service[edit]

Second Lieutenant Dillard was the Honor Graduate of his Infantry Officers Basic Course. Subsequently, he was assigned to the 365th Infantry Regiment at Fort Dix, New Jersey, where he held numerous assignments as a lieutenant ending as a Battalion S3. In June 1950, he was transferred to the 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division stationed at Camp Gifu, Gifu, Gifu, Japan.[5]

Korean War[edit]

Territory often changed hands early in the war, until the front stabilized.

Lieutenant Dillard deployed with the 24th Infantry Regiment to the Republic of Korea as part of the response to North Korean aggression. Upon landing at Pusan, Dillard and the 25th Infantry Division were initially positioned some one hundred miles north of Pusan and given the mission of blocking and delaying advancing North Korean forces moving down the Naktong River valley from the northwest.

North Carolina A&T State University
Tuskegee University Seal

On July 21, 1950, Lieutenant Dillard’s platoon was the lead element as the 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry—supported by other elements of the 24th Regimental Combat Team—conducted the first major offensive mission by the 25th Infantry Division with its recapture of the vital road junction town of Yecheon driving out the North Korean defenders, and repulsing a North Korean attempts to retake the town. It was considered by the Congress and the United States Department of Defense as the first sizable American ground victory of the war. A thorough accounting of Dillard’s exploits are described in Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Bradley Biggs' October 2003 Military Review article, “The ‘Deuce-Four’ in Korea.” A veteran of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion (United States), Colonel Biggs described General Dillard as “a superb officer” and commended him for his use of surprise and speed during the battle of Yecheon.[7] Following recovery in Japan from wounds received on August 6, 1950, Dillard received his first Military Intelligence assignment as a Battalion S2.[8]

While Dillard was assigned as the Battalion S2 for 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment (United States), he was awarded the Silver Star for his actions near Masan, Republic of Korea from September 14–15, 1950. While setting the defense of the battalion with his Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Melvin Blair, Dillard responded to enemy action occurring in Company L’s area. He and a small group reinforced the company defense location and fought with heroic effectiveness. His assistant division commander, Brigadier General Joseph S. Bradley—a distinguished war hero from World War II and Korea—awarded the Silver Star to Captain Dillard.[8]

Following his year in combat and participation in five campaigns, Captain Dillard attended the Infantry Officers Advanced Course where he graduated 6th in his class. From 1952 to 1954, he served as Assistant Professor of Military Science at North Carolina Agricultural and Technology (A&T) State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. Dillard imparted his recent Korea experience and his experiences as an ROTC cadet at Tuskegee Institute to his cadets at North Carolina A&T, including Major General Charles Bussey, who served as chief of Army public affairs from 1984 to 1987.[9]

In 1954, Captain Dillard was assigned to 4th Infantry Division (United States) in Gelnhausen, Federal Republic of Germany, where he commanded Company C, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment (United States). After observing then Captain Dillard for several months, the Regimental Commander—Colonel (later Major General) Kenneth W. Collins—moved him to the position of Regimental Communications Officer, a position of importance to a Cold War infantry unit. When the 4th Infantry Division was inactivated, General Dillard became the Chief, Map Reading Committee at the Seventh Army Noncommissioned Officers Academy in Munich, Germany.

Following his Germany assignment, Major Dillard graduated from the Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC), where he was one of only three Black officers in his class, in 1958.[10][11] He graduated in the top third of his class. After CGSC, he completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Omaha under the Army’s Bootstrap Program, which leveraged his earlier studies at Tuskegee Institute.[12]

Military Intelligence Corps branch insignia. MI Branch established 1 July 1962.

Major Dillard was subsequently assigned to the G3 Section, Headquarters First Army at Fort Jay, New York, and served as Operations and Plans Officer and subsequently as Exercise G3 for Exercises IROQUOIS HATCHET and MOHAWK ARROW. He departed First United States Army in December 1960 and was assigned to the U.S. Military Mission to Liberia, Monrovia, Liberia, initially as deputy Chief of Mission and later as the Operations Officer. He received unprecedented access to the Armed Forces of Liberia operations and intelligence planning process. Dillard became a valued coach and mentor to Liberian officers and assisted them in integrating advanced staff techniques and processes into their planning. He also helped prepare a Liberian company, designated the Reinforced Security Company, for assistance to the United Nations Operation in the Congo.[13][14]

Military Intelligence[edit]

After a number of years since his first Intelligence assignment in Korea, Lieutenant Colonel Dillard was assigned to Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (ACSI), Department of the Army in 1963. He used his recent experiences in Korea, Germany and Africa to adeptly lead the Foreign Intelligence Assistance Section, Special Warfare and Foreign Assistance Branch, with an additional duty as Chief of Europe, Africa, and Middle East Section. In 1965, Dillard graduated from the National War College; the first Black officer to do so. Subsequently, he was assigned to the Special Studies Directorate, US Army Combat Developments Command’s Institute of Special Studies at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, where he served as Operations and Training Staff Officer, Special Studies Division, and later as Chief of Analysis/ Coordination Branch, Study Division 3. In 1967, Colonel Dillard was assigned to command a battalion of the 5th Combat Support Training Brigade at Fort Dix, and later he commanded the Brigade for a year.[15]

Vietnam Advisor[edit]

Province Chief, Nguyen Hop Doan wearing the rank of Colonel.
Kon Tum
Thành phố Kon Tum
Kon Tum is located in Vietnam
Kon Tum
Kon Tum
Location in Vietnam
Coordinates: 14°23′N 107°59′E / 14.383°N 107.983°E / 14.383; 107.983Coordinates: 14°23′N 107°59′E / 14.383°N 107.983°E / 14.383; 107.983
Country  Vietnam
Province Kon Tum

Following attendance at the Foreign Service Institute’s Vietnam Training Center, in 1969 Colonel Dillard reported for duty at US Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MAC-V), as a Province Senior Advisor (PSA) for Kon Tum Province. While assigned as the PSA for Advisory Team 41, Military Region II, his success was documented in the Washington Post as the example for how to build a close relationship with the Province Chief, Nguyen Hop Doan, and his civilian deputy, Ken Lyvers, a United States Agency for International Development employee. Together, they grew the Provincial and Popular Forces to defend the Province and organized the villages and hamlets—Vietnamese and Montagnard—to feed and defend themselves.[16]

After two years of exeplary service in the PSA Program, in 1971 General Dillard returned to the Office of ACSI, the Army Staff, where he served as the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence—the first Black officer in this position. From this position, he pushed hard to: (1) move the Army Intelligence Center to Fort Huachuca, Arizona; his testimony before Congress was compelling; (2) further develop the MI branch; (3) get tactical MI Battalions in the Divisions; and (4) field the Guardrail aerial platform.[17] Secretary of the Army Robert F. Froehlke pinned on Dillard's star—promoting him to Brigadier General, and making him the fifth Black general in Army history and arguably the first Black Intelligence general officer—at a Pentagon ceremony, which was covered by The Afro-American newpaper.[18]

Vietnam Senior Staff Officer[edit]

At the behest of General Frederick C. Weyand, General Dillard returned to MAC-V headquarters in Saigon for duty as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, Civil Operations and Rural Development Support (CORDS). In this position, he worked with General Weyand and Ambassador William Colby on CORDS plans and operations throughout Vietnam.[19] Following the signing of the Paris Peace Accords and as American and third country forces began withdrawing from Vietnam, General Dillard was assigned as MAC-V’s last Director of Intelligence, and departed on March 29, 1973 when MAC-V disbanded.

Senior Intelligence Officer[edit]

As part of Operation STEADFAST, General Dillard served as first Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence (DCSINT) for the new United States Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) at Fort McPherson, Georgia. He and his staff addressed four major problems with intelligence organizations: (1) inadequate analytical capability; (2) lack of collection assets at the lower levels; (3) inadequacy of secure communications support; and (4) the "unwanted guests" mentality since the intelligence units were attached, not organic.[20]

In 1974, Major General Robert L. Fair selected General Dillard to be his Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver, 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas. Having had recent Intelligence assignments, General Dillard worked diligently for operations-intelligence integration as the 2nd Armored Division prepared for its return of forces to Germany (Exercise Reforger) mission, and their annual Reforger exercise supporting the Army’s operational plans.[21]

From 1975 to 1978, Major General Dillard served as the DSCINT, US Army Europe (USAREUR) and Seventh Army in Heidelberg, Germany, where Army Intelligence played a significant role in the defense of Europe. His use of United States Army Security Agency (ASA), and its successor United States Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), assets ensured a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding and countering Soviet forces at the height of the Cold War.[22][23]

As his final assignment, Major General Dillard served as the Commanding General, United States Army Readiness Region II at Fort Dix, New Jersey until 1980 when he retired. He used his knowledge of combat arms and the Intelligence battlefield operating system to assess and train Reserve Component units assigned to First United States Army.

Awards & Decorations[edit]

General Dillard’s awards include the Distinguished Service Medalwith one Oak Leaf Cluster, Silver Star, Legion of Meritwith two Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Starwith one Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Combat Infantryman’s Badgewith Star (two awards), Army Staff Identification Badge, and Vietnam Distinguished Service Order(2nd Class).

CIB2.png Combat Infantryman Badge, second award
United States Army Staff Identification Badge.png Army Staff Identification Badge
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Distinguished Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster)
Silver Star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters)
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze Star (with Oak Leaf Cluster)
Purple Heart BAR.svg Purple Heart
Air Medal ribbon.svg Air Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Commendation Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster)
World War II Victory Medal
Silver star
Vietnam Service Medal (with 5 Campaign Stars)
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal (with Star)
Army Good Conduct Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
Silver star
Korean Service Medal (with 5 Campaign Stars)
Vietnam Distinguished Service Order, 2nd Class
Vietnam Gallantry Cross, with Palm (Unit)
United Nations Service Medal

Dates of rank[edit]

Second Lieutenant First Lieutenant Captain
O-1 O-2 O-3
Army-USA-OF-01b.svg Army-USA-OF-01a.svg Army-USA-OF-02.svg
9 July 1947 24 January 1949 10 October 1950

Major Lieutenant Colonel Colonel
O-4 O-5 O-6
Army-USA-OF-03.svg Army-USA-OF-04.svg Army-USA-OF-05.svg
9 May 1957 3 August 1962 26 September 1969

Brigadier General Major General
O-7 O-8
Army-USA-OF-06.svg Army-USA-OF-07.svg
1 February 1972 1 August 1975


General Dillard’s contributions to the Army did not end on February 1, 1980 when he retired. As a result of his friendship with Lieutenant General Julius W. Becton, Jr.—the VII Corps Commander at the time—and General Dillard’s recent retirement, General Becton had General Dillard travel to various installations in Germany and speak as a part of Black History month activities. In March 1980, General Dillard participated in a Study conference, “Black Officer Accession and Retention” at the US Army War College that clarified information concerning the O5 promotion articles that appeared in the Army Times; his inputs highlighted required actions for the Army to increase the number of Black officer and their quality.[24]

The Rocks Inc.
Military Intelligence Corps Distinctive Insignia. MI Corps established 1 July 1987.

General Dillard was a 1974 charter member of The Rocks, Inc.—the largest professional military officers’ organization with a majority African-American membership—and was committed to assisting with professional development and social events to improve the officer corps.[25] He, and the 24th Infantry Regiment Association, led an effort to vindicate the actions of the 24th Infantry Regiment in Korea in 1950 and counter the history written by Roy Appleman in his book South to Naktong, North to the Yalu.[26] He traveled to Korea two times, and was interviewed numerous times for the Center for Military History’s book Black Soldier/White Army. His efforts were also described in a November 1989 Los Angeles Times article by John Broder “COLUMN ONE: War and Black GIs’ Memories." During one of General Dillard’s visits to Korea, he spoke to a group of Black officers assembled from installations throughout the Korean Peninsula on his Korean War experiences and the importance of their service.[27]

General Dillard signed the controversial Generals And Admirals Who Have Signed A Statement Calling For Repeal Of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". [28]

On June 1, 2011, Dillard was awarded the Military Intelligence Corps Association's LTC Thomas W. Knowlton Award for Excellence in Intelligence,[29] commemorating his significant role in Army Military Intelligence history, beginning in 1950.[30]

On May 4, 2012, Dillard was inducted into the Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame.[31] General Dillard was selected for induction into the Army Military Intelligence Hall of Fame,[32] and will join their ranks on September 14, 2012.


  1. ^ a b "Dillard Now General". The Afro American. The Afro American. March 18, 1972. Retrieved April 30, 2011. 
  2. ^ The Bayonet (May 2, 2012). [< "News and Features"] Check |url= value (help). page A4. The Bayonet Digital Newspaper. Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  3. ^ Broder, John M. (November 15, 1989). "COLUMN ONE: War and Black GIs" Memories: Veterans of the action in Korea set out on a painful journey to erase a record of shame. The quest proves elusive."". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  4. ^ Students and Faculty (1958). "The Bell of 1958: Yearbook of the Regular Course Students and Faculty of the Command and General Staff College". pages 70, 81, and 85. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Command and General Staff College. 
  5. ^ William T. Bowers, William M. Hammond, George L. MacGarrigle (August 21, 1996). Black Soldier, White Army: The 24th Infantry Regiment in Korea. Center of History U.S. Army. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  6. ^ William T. Bowers, Editor (2008), "The Line: COMBAT IN KOREA, January-February 1951", The Association of the United States Army, The University Press of Kentucky 
  7. ^ LTC Bradley Biggs, USA Retired (September–October 2003). "Dillard Now General". pages 58-59. Military Review, 83,5. 
  8. ^ a b William T. Bowers, William M. Hammond, George L. MacGarrigle (August 21, 1996). Black Soldier, White Army: The 24th Infantry Regiment in Korea. Center of History U.S. Army. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Charles D. Bussey, Major General, United States Army". Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  10. ^ LTC Marshall B. Bass, USA Retired, with William H. Turner (2003). "The Path of My Pilgrimage: The Autobiography of Marshall Brent Bass". page 179. AuthorHouse. 
  11. ^ Students and Faculty of the Command and General Staff College (1958), "The Bell of 1958: Yearbook of the Regular Course Students and Faculty of the Command and General Staff College", pages 70, 81, and 85, US Fort Leavenworth, KS: Army Command and General Staff College 
  12. ^ Wendy Townley - University Relations (August 17, 2009). "UNO Named a Top military friendly School". New release. University of Nebraska at Omaha. Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  13. ^ LTC Marshall B. Bass, USA Retired, with William H. Turner (2003), "The Path of My Pilgrimage: The Autobiography of Marshall Brent Bass", page 179, AuthorHouse 
  14. ^ "Armed Forces of Liberia". Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  15. ^ John Patrick Finnegan (1998). "MILITARY INTELLIGENCE". pages 157-160. United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  16. ^ Peter Jay (Dec 26, 1970). "The U.S. Adviser: 'We're Here to See They Get the Job Done Right.". ProQuest Historical Newspapers the Washington Post (1877-1994), ProQuest. Web. July 5, 2011. The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973). 
  17. ^ Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives (May 10, 1972). "Relocation of the U.S. Army Intelligence School from Fort Holabird to Fort Huachuca". pages 35-50. Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Dillard Now General". The Afro American. The Afro American. March 18, 1972. Retrieved April 30, 2011. 
  19. ^ HEARINGS BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, UNITED STATES SENATE, NINETY-FIRST CONGRESS SECOND SESSION ON CIVIL OPERATIONS AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT PROGRAM (February 17, 18, 19, 20, and March 3, 4, 17, 19, 1970 {appendix}). "Vietnam: Policy and Prospects, 1970". Committee on Foreign Relations. U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE. Retrieved May 10, 2012.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  20. ^ John Patrick Finnegan (1998). "MILITARY INTELLIGENCE". page 173. Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  21. ^ LTG Julius W. Becton, Jr, USA Retired (2008). "BECTON: Autobiography of a Soldier and Public Servant". page 116. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. 
  22. ^ John Patrick Finnegan (1998). "MILITARY INTELLIGENCE". pages 171-180. United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  23. ^ "66th Military Intelligence Brigade". Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  24. ^ Buono, Daniel P., TC, COL; et al. (May 15, 1980). "Black Officer Accession and Retention". Study Conference Notes from Mar 5, 1980, Group Study Project. Carlisle, PA: US Army War College. 
  25. ^ "Charter Members of ROCKS, Inc. - The National Board of the ROCKS, Inc.". Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  26. ^ Roy E. Appleman (1961). "South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu: June-November 1950". pages 190-195. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Chief of Military History. 
  27. ^ John M. Broder (November 15, 1989). "COLUMN ONE: War and Black GIs' Memories: Veterans of the action in Korea set out on a painful journey to erase a record of shame. The quest proves elusive". pages 190-195. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 15, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Generals And Admirals Who Have Signed A Statement Calling For Repeal Of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"". Palmer Center. 2009. Retrieved April 30, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Thomas Knowlton". Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  30. ^ "MICA Awards Alphabetically". Retrieved May 12, 2012. 
  31. ^ The Bayonet (May 2, 2012). "News and Features". page A4. The Bayonet Digital Newspaper. Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  32. ^ "Military Intelligence Hall of Fame". Retrieved May 10, 2012. 

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army.Category:Living people

Category:United States Army generals