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George Decker

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George H. Decker
General George H. Decker, official portrait
Born(1902-02-16)February 16, 1902
Catskill, New York
DiedFebruary 6, 1980(1980-02-06) (aged 77)
Washington, D.C.
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1924–1962
Commands heldChief of Staff of the United States Army
United Nations Command
United States Forces Korea
Eighth United States Army
VII Corps
5th Infantry Division
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsArmy Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal

George Henry Decker (February 16, 1902 – February 6, 1980) was a general in the United States Army, who served as Chief of Staff of the United States Army from 1960 to 1962.

Early life

Decker was born in Catskill, New York, and attended Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, receiving an economics degree in 1924. Afterwards he was a trustee of the college from 1964 to 1972.[1] He married the former Helen E. Inman in 1926.

Military career

Decker was commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry in June 1924, and began his army service with the 26th Infantry Regiment, then stationed at Plattsburg Barracks in upstate New York. In 1928, he was sent to Hawaii, where he served with the 35th Infantry Regiment until 1931. He was promoted to first lieutenant in April 1930. After attending advanced infantry training at the Infantry School at Fort Benning in 1932, he remained at Fort Benning with the 29th Infantry Regiment until 1935, followed by service at Vancouver Barracks, near Portland, Oregon with the 7th Infantry Regiment from 1935 to 1936 (during which time he was promoted to captain, in August 1935).

In 1936, Decker was sent to the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, from which he graduated in 1937. Subsequently, he served with the 10th Infantry Regiment at Fort Thomas, Kentucky and Fort McClellan, Alabama, and the 9th Infantry Regiment at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In 1940 he took command of Headquarters Company, I Corps, at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and was assistant supply and logistics officer, 1940–1941. In 1941 came a flurry of promotions: to temporary major (January), permanent major (June), and temporary lieutenant colonel (December). He was sent to Washington, D.C. to serve on the War Department General Staff, where he was assigned to the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Supply. He was promoted to temporary colonel in October 1942 and became deputy chief of staff of the Third Army, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He was then sent overseas to the Southwest Pacific, where he became deputy chief of staff and then chief of staff of the Sixth Army, a position he held through the end of World War II. He had been promoted to temporary brigadier general in August 1944 and major general in June 1945, and participated in Sixth Army operations in New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the Philippines.

Decker returned to Washington in 1946 to Headquarters, Army Ground Forces and Headquarters, Army Service Forces, but soon went back to the Pacific as deputy commanding general and chief of staff of United States Forces, Middle Pacific, Hawaii from 1946 to 1948.

Decker became commanding general of the 5th Infantry Division in 1948, and in 1950 was assigned to the Office of the Comptroller of the Army as Chief of the Budget Division. Promoted to temporary lieutenant general in 1952, he became Comptroller of the United States Army from 1952 to 1955. He was promoted to permanent brigadier general in April 1953 and permanent major general in July 1954. In 1955, he went to Germany as commanding general of VII Corps at Stuttgart, and was promoted to temporary general in May 1956.

From 1956 to 1957, Decker was deputy commander-in-chief of the United States European Command at its headquarters in Rocquencourt, outside Paris, France. From 1957 to 1959 he was commander-in-chief, United Nations Command, and commanding general, United States Forces Korea and Eighth United States Army.

Decker was appointed Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army in 1959, and on October 1, 1960 became Chief of Staff of the United States Army, serving in that capacity until September 30, 1962. Highlights of Decker's tenure were supervising augmentations to meet the crisis in Berlin (prompted by the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961), increasing special warfare forces, initiating new divisional and forward depot concepts, and expanding the army to sixteen divisions. Decker retired at the end of his tenure.

Later life

Following his retirement, Decker was president of the Manufacturing Chemists' Association in Washington for the next seven years. He died of leukemia at Walter Reed Army Medical Center on February 6, 1980.[2]

Awards and decorations


Dates of rank

Second Lieutenant, Regular Army: June 15, 1924
First Lieutenant, Regular Army: April 6, 1930
Captain, Regular Army: August 1, 1935
Major, Army of the United States: January 31, 1941
Major, Regular Army: June 15, 1941
Lieutenant Colonel, Army of the United States: December 24, 1941
Colonel, Army of the United States: October 1, 1942
Brigadier General, Army of the United States: August 14, 1944
Major General, Army of the United States: June 7, 1945
Lieutenant Colonel, Regular Army: June 15, 1947
Colonel, Regular Army: June 10, 1948
Lieutenant General, Army of the United States: June 10, 1952
Brigadier General, Regular Army: April 24, 1953
Major General, Regular Army: July 12, 1954
General, Army of the United States: May 31, 1956
General, Regular Army, Retired List: September 30, 1962


  1. ^ Gendebien, Albert W. (1986). The Biography of a College: A History of Lafayette College 1927 – 1978. Easton, PA: Lafayette College.
  2. ^ Pearson, Richard (February 8, 1980). "Retired Gen. George Decker, 77, Dies, Army Chief of Staff in Early 1960s". Washington Post. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  3. ^ 6000th Opron "The Starlifters" Tachikawa, A.B., Japan. HQ 5th A F. Fuchu, Japan.
Military offices Preceded byLyman Lemnitzer Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army1959–1960 Succeeded byClyde D. Eddleman Chief of Staff of the United States Army1960–1962 Succeeded byEarle G. Wheeler
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George Decker
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