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John J. Tolson III (October 22, 1915 – December 2, 1991) was a lieutenant general in the United States Army. During the Vietnam War, he helped implement the airmobile concept use of helicopters in combat with the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).[1][2] Tolson credited the U.S Marines for first using helicopters to transport troops into combat in the Korean War, making the ground fight a three-dimensional war, thus freeing troops from the tyranny of terrain.[3][4]

John J. Tolson III
Born (1915-10-22)October 22, 1915
New Bern, North Carolina
Died December 2, 1991(1991-12-02) (aged 76)
Raleigh, North Carolina
Allegiance United States United States of America
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Years of service 1937-1973
Rank US-O9 insignia.svgLieutenant General
Commands held XVIII Airborne Corps, 1st Cavalry Division
Battles/wars World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Medal
Distinguished Flying Cross

In World War II, John J. Tolson was a member of the 503rd Parachute Infantry Battalion and participated in every jump with that unit,[2] including the recapture of Corregidor in 1945.[5]

In the Vietnam War, Major General Tolson took command of 1st Cavalry Division in April 1967 and served in that capacity till July 14, 1969. Under his command, his division played crucial roles during the Tet Offensive at the former Imperial capital at Hue and at Quang Tri City in January 1968. It also participated in the second biggest battle of the war: the relief of the Marine Khe Sanh Combat Base in March 1968 where all three brigades engaged the enemy, as well as the massive air assault into the A Shau Valley in April 1968 where the First and Third Brigades attacked the north end of the valley and leapfrogged south.[6][7]

After his Vietnam tour ended, he was promoted to lieutenant general.[2] He retired in 1973 as deputy commander of the Continental Army.[2]

He died on 2 December 1991 at the age of 76.[2] He was survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.[2]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Lt. Gen. John Tolson, Vietnam Studies: Airmobility 1961–1971. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office (1973).
  2. ^ a b c d e f Bruce Lambert (December 6, 1991). "Gen. John J. Tolson, 76, Dies; Pioneered Army's Helicopter Use". The New York Times. Retrieved May 19, 2012. 
  3. ^ Lt. Gen. John Tolson, Vietnam Studies: Airmobility 1961–1971. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office (1973): 4.
  4. ^ Robert C. Ankony, Lurps: A Ranger's Diary of Tet, Khe Sanh, A Shau, and Quang Tri, revised ed., Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Lanham, MD (2009):65.
  5. ^ Roberts, E.B. Maj., Gen. The First Air Cavalry Division Vietnam: August 1965 to December 1969, Nippon Printing Co., Tokyo, Japan (1970): 36.
  6. ^ Robert C. Ankony, Lurps: A Ranger's Diary of Tet, Khe Sanh, A Shau, and Quang Tri, revised ed., Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Lanham, MD (2009).
  7. ^ Roberts, E.B. Maj., Gen. The First Air Cavalry Division Vietnam: August 1965 to December 1969, Nippon Printing Co., Tokyo, Japan (1970).

[[Category:Recipients of the Air Medal]