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Matthew Ridgway
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Military Personnel
    (March 3, 1895-July 26, 1993)
    Born in Fort Monroe, Virginia
    Four star general
    During WWII, commanded the 82nd Airborne Division (1942-44) and XVIII Airborne Corps (1944-45)
    Commanded the 8th US Army (1950-51)
    Supreme US and UN Commander in Korea (1951-52)
    Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (1952-53)
    Chief of Staff of the United States Army (1953-55)
    Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1986)
    He initially failed the entrance exam for West Point when he blew the geometry section.
    He was married three times, divorced twice.
    He called the switch from the draft to a volunteer army 'a demonstrated failure and perhaps a disaster.'
    He called the admission of women to West Point 'a blow at discipline without which no military unit is worth its keep.'
    He was nicknamed 'Old Iron Tits' for his habit of wearing a pair of hand grenades at chest level.
    His third marriage lasted 46 years until his death.
    His son Matthew Jr. died in a freak accident: while he was carrying a canoe alongside a railroad track, a passing train struck the end of the canoe, spinning it about and breaking his neck.
    He planned and oversaw the US Army's first airborne invasion in Sicily (1943).
    He was wounded in the shoulder by a German grenade (March 24, 1945).
    He was credited with ending the UN retreat and launching a counter-offensive in the Korean War following China's intervention.
    Omar Bradley called his command in Korea 'the greatest feat of personal leadership in the history of the Army.'
    His assessment of the military commitment that would be needed persuaded President Eisenhower to not intervene on behalf of the French in Vietnam.
    Colin Powell delivered the eulogy at his funeral, saying 'No soldier ever performed his duty better than this man. No soldier ever upheld his honor better than this man. No soldier ever loved his country more than this man did.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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