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General Donn Albert Starry (May 31, 1925 – August 26, 2011) was a United States Army four-star general who served as commanding general of United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (CG TRADOC) from 1977 to 1981, and as commander in chief of U.S. Readiness Command (USCINCRED) from 1981 to 1983.

Donn A. Starry
GEN Starry Donn Albert TRADOC.JPG
General Donn A. Starry as commander of TRADOC
Born(1925-05-31)May 31, 1925
New York City, New York
DiedAugust 26, 2011(2011-08-26) (aged 86)
Canton, Ohio
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1943–1944 (enlisted)
1948–1983 (officer)
Commands heldU.S. Readiness Command
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command
V Corps
U.S. Army Armor Center and School
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment
Battles/warsVietnam War
AwardsDefense Distinguished Service Medal
Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Legion of Merit (3)
Distinguished Flying Cross
Soldier's Medal
Bronze Star with "V" device
Purple Heart
Air Medal (10)

Early life and educationEdit

Born in 1925,[1] Starry graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1948 as a second lieutenant of armor, after having enlisted as a private in 1943. His early career included staff and command positions in the United States, Europe, and Korea. During this same period, he attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Armed Forces Staff College, and the Army War College. Starry later earned a master's degree in international affairs from the George Washington University, and several honorary doctoral degrees.


In 1969, he commanded the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in the Vietnam War and led its attack into Cambodia in May 1970. On May 5, 1970, Starry was wounded by a North Vietnamese grenade that also wounded future Army general Frederick Franks, Jr.[2]

In 1973, he became commanding general of U.S. Army Armor Center and School, and then commander of V Corps (1976–1977), in the Federal Republic of Germany. Later, as commander of TRADOC, Starry formulated AirLand Battle doctrine, which prepared the Army for warfighting into the twenty-first century. Starry concluded his career as commander of U.S. Readiness Command (1981–1983), retiring from the Army in 1983.

His awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, two awards of the Army Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Soldier's Medal, the Bronze Star with "V" device, the Purple Heart, and the Air Medal with nine Oak Leaf Clusters.

He was also the Honorary Colonel of the Regiment for the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.[3] He was also a member of the Defense Science Board for two terms.[3]


Upon retirement from the Army, Starry joined Ford Aerospace, serving first as vice president and general manager of Ford's Space Missions Group, and later as executive vice president of Ford Aerospace and special assistant to the chief executive officer of Braddock Dunn & McDonald. He served as a member of the board of Maxwell Laboratories from 1988 to 1993, and from 1996 to 1998 was chairman of the board as the company became Maxwell Technologies, switching their focus from government to commercial markets. He has also served as chairman of the board of Universal Voltronics in Brookfield, Connecticut.[3] In 1991 he became a Senior Fellow on the faculty of the Joint and Combined Warfighting School at the Joint Forces Staff College.[3]

In retirement, Starry, with George F. Hofmann, edited an anthology of U.S. armor warfare history and doctrine titled Camp Colt to Desert Storm: The History of U.S. Armored Forces. Later his two-volume of select stories, papers, articles, and book excerpts were edited by Lewis Sorley called Press On! Starry was also one of twenty-one signers, all retired flag officers, of a letter to John McCain supporting the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005.[4] His civic projects have included membership on the board of the Eisenhower Foundation in Abilene, Kansas, chairman of the board of the U.S. Cavalry Memorial Foundation, and a member of the board of the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs.[3] Starry was also the honorary "Father of the Regiment" for the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment.

He died on August 26, 2011 of a rare form of cancer at age 86.[2] He was survived by his second wife, Karen.[5][6] He was interred in Arlington National Cemetery on January 11, 2012, Section 34, Site 583-A.

Personal lifeEdit

He was married to the former Leatrice (Letty) Gibbs of Kansas City, Kansas. They have four children and seven grandchildren. On April 10, 2010, he celebrated his new marriage to a long-time friend, Karen (Cookie) Deitrick.[3]


  1. ^ United States. Congress. House. Committee on Armed Services (1978). Hearings on Military Posture and H.R. 10929: Department of Defense Authorization for Appropriations for Fiscal Year 1979 Before the Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives, Ninety-fifth Congress, Second Session. U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved 2014-11-30.
  2. ^ a b "Four-star general Donn A. Starry dies at 86 - The Washington Post". Retrieved 2014-11-30.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Keynote Speaker bio from Defense Group, Inc.
  4. ^ Letter to Senator McCain
  5. ^ Gary Brown. "The Monday After: A four-star general in Jackson - News - The Repository - Canton, OH". Archived from the original on 2012-07-28. Retrieved 2014-11-30.
  6. ^ "Four-star Gen. Donn A. Starry dies - News - The Repository - Canton, OH". Archived from the original on 2012-03-18. Retrieved 2014-11-30.

  This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "[1]".

External linksEdit

  Media related to Donn A. Starry at Wikimedia Commons

Military offices
Preceded by
William E. DePuy
Commanding General, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command
Succeeded by
Glenn K. Otis