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John A. Wickham, Jr.

General John Adams Wickham
Personal information
NameJohn A. Wickham
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1950-1987
Commands held1st Brigade - 3rd Infantry Division
101st Airborne Division
United Nations Command
United States Forces Korea
Eighth Army
Army Chief of Staff
Battles/warsKorean War
Vietnam War
AwardsSilver Star (2)
Bronze Star
Purple Heart
Air Medal (11)
Legion of Merit (4)
Distinguished Service Medal (8) (Defense, Army, Navy and Air Force)
Combat Infantryman Badge
Expert Infantryman Badge
Parachutist Badge
Doughboy Award

     Home | Military Person | John A Wickham, Jr

General John Adams Wickham (born June 25, 1928 in Dobbs Ferry, New York) was United States Army Chief of Staff from 1983 to 1987.

He graduated in 1950 from the United States Military Academy (where he later served as a social sciences instructor, 1956 to 1960). Upon graduation, he was commissioned a second lieutenant and assigned to the 18th Infantry Regiment and then the 6th Infantry Regiment in Berlin. He served as a platoon leader and company executive officer in the 511th Airborne Infantry Regiment and served as an aide-de-camp to the commander in the 37th Infantry Division and 10th Infantry Division. He received Master's Degrees in economics and government from Harvard University and was a graduate of the National War College and Armed Forces Staff College.

Wickham then served as operations officer of the 1st Battle Group, 5th Cavalry, in Korea, and was executive officer to Army Chief of Staff Harold Johnson. Later he commanded in combat the 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam, where he was seriously wounded. He later commanded the 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division in Germany, then returned to Vietnam as the Deputy Chief of Staff, MACV, and was responsible for negotiating release of all prisoners of war. He then commanded the 101st Airborne Division, was director of the Joint Staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and afterward, as a four star general, became Commander in Chief of the United Nations Command and Commander of the United States Forces Korea and Eighth Army in Korea.

In 1979, he played a leading role in calming political tensions after the assassination of South Korean President Park Chung Hee, and wrote a book "Korea on the Brink" about the dangerous period. He also served as senior military assistant to Secretaries of Defense James R. Schlesinger and Donald Rumsfeld. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan appointed him Chief of Staff of the United States Army.

He retired from the Army in 1987 after 37 years of active service. He was twice awarded the Silver Star for battlefield valor, as well as the Bronze Star for valor, the Purple Heart, 11 Air Medals, 4 Legions of Merit, 8 Distinguished Service Medals (Defense, Army, Navy and Air Force), Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, and 21 foreign decorations including the Republic of Korea's highest military decoration. He was named by Army Times as one of the ten leaders who most changed the Army. The Association of Graduates USMA presented him with the Distinguished Graduate Award in 2005, and he received the Infantry Doughboy Award in 2006.

General Wickham served as Town Council President in Sun City, Arizona and as an elder at his church. He served as Chairman of the Board for Honeywell Federal Systems and Nortel Federal Systems, and as director of several other corporations. He was named vice chairman for the United States-China National Committee and has served as a member of the Secretary of Defense Policy Board. He is also active in the United Way, and a member of the Alfalfa Club, and Council on Foreign Relations.

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