Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army during the late
years of the Vietnam War
Creighton Williams Abrams, Jr. was born
in Springfield, Massachusetts, on
September 15, 1914. He attended high school in Feeding
Hills, Massachusetts, and subsequently entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he ranked 185th in his
1936 class of 276.
Timeline of His Career
1936 Commissioned a
Second Lieutenant in the 1st Cavalry Division.
June 1939 Promoted to First Lieutenant.
September 1940 Promoted to temporary
World War II
1941 Tank company commander in the 1st Armored
1942-1943 Battalion commander in the
37th Armored Regiment.
February 1943 Promoted to temporary
September 1943 Promoted to Lieutenant
1943-1945 Commanded the 37th Tank
Battalion and Combat Command B, 4th Armored Division, in
Allied operations across Europe, under General George S. Patton.
April 1945 Promoted to temporary
1945 Served on the
Army General Staff.
1945-1946 Served in the War Plans
section of the Army Ground Forces headquarters.
1946-1948 Director of Tactics of the
Armored School at Fort Knox.
June 1946 Promoted to permanent rank of
July 1948 Promoted to permanent rank of
1949 Graduated from the Command and
General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.
1949-1951 Commanded the 63rd Tank
Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, United States Army,
June 1951 Promoted to temporary Colonel
1951-1952 Commanded the 2nd Armored
Cavalry, United States Army, Europe.
1953 Graduated from the Army War
1953-1954 Was successively Chief of
Staff of the I, X, and IX Corps, United States Army Air
Forces, Far East, Korea.
1954-1956 Chief of
Staff of the Armor Center at Fort Knox.
February 1956 Promoted to temporary
1956-1959 Deputy Assistant Chief of
Staff for Reserve Components.
1959-1960 Assistant Division Commander
of the 3rd Armored Division.
1960 Deputy Chief of Staff for Military
Operations, United States Army, Europe.
June 1960 Promoted to temporary Major
1960-1962 Commander of the 3rd Armored
June 1961 Promoted to permanent Colonel.
1962-1963 Assistant Deputy Chief of
Staff and Director of Operations, Office of the Deputy
Chief of Staff for Operations.
1963 Assistant Chief of Staff for Force
1963-1964 Commanded V Corps in Germany.
February 1963 Promoted to permanent
August 1963 Promoted to temporary
August 1964-April 1967 Acting Vice Chief
of Staff and Vice Chief of Staff of the United States
September 1964 Promoted to General.
August 1965 Promoted to Major General.
1967-1972 Deputy Commander
and then Commander of United States Military Assistance
Chief of Staff of the
United States Army, October 12, 1972-September 4, 1974
Supervised the withdrawal of American troops from the
Vietnam war zone, overall reductions in Army strength,
elimination of the draft, and execution of a major
General Creighton Abrams died of cancer
in Washington, D.C., on September 4, 1974. He is buried
in Arlington National Cemetery.
During World War II, Abrams
was well known as an aggressive armor commander who
consistently exploited the speed and reliability of his
vehicles to defeat German forces who had superior armor,
guns, and troops. He was twice decorated with the
Distinguished Service Cross, for actions of September 9,
1944 and December 26, 1944.
Abrams and his wife, Julia, had three
daughters and three sons. All three sons became Army
officers, and all three daughters married Army officers.
Julia is buried next to him at Arlington National
On April 23, 1945, Will Lang, Jr.,
wrote a biography called "Colonel Abe" for Life
magazine. He also graced the covers of three issues of Time
magazine -- October 13, 1961, April 19, 1968 and February
The Army's M1 Abrams Tank was named in
Arlington National Cemetery www.arlingtoncemetery.net/abrams.htm
United States Military Academy
George S. Patton
World War II
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