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date: 18 October 2019

Westmoreland, William Childslocked

(26 March 1914–18 July 2005)
  • Paul Frisch

Extract

Westmoreland, William Childs (26 March 1914–18 July 2005), commander of U.S. and allied military forces during the Vietnam War and U.S. Army chief of staff, was born in Saxon, South Carolina, the oldest child of James Ripley Westmoreland and Eugenia Childs. His father served as the plant manager at a textile mill, a position that afforded a comfortable upbringing for Westmoreland. After his 1931 graduation from Spartanburg High School, where he was senior class president, he attended The Citadel, the state military college of South Carolina, for a year. In 1932 he accepted an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. “Westy,” as he was nicknamed, tried varsity sports without lettering and ranked 112 of 276 cadets at graduation in 1936. However, his leadership skills—as seen in his service as superintendent of the Protestant Sunday School Teachers and election as vice president of his class—led to his selection as a first captain, a highly prestigious position....

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