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May 16, 2012

Vol. 112, No. 12

alumni profile

Creighton W. Abrams Jr. '62

Head of the Army Historical Foundation

By Van Wallach ’80
Published on May 4, 2012

Résumé: Executive director of the Army Historical Foundation since 2000. Retired Army brigadier general. Served 31 years, including deployments to Korea, Vietnam, Germany, Southwest Asia, and Italy. Site manager for General Dynamics in Saudi Arabia. English major at Princeton.

PRESERVING MILITARY HISTORY As head of the Army Historical Foundation, Brig. Gen. Creighton W. Abrams Jr. ’62 is charged with building support for the National Museum of the United States Army. Expected to open in 2016 at Fort Belvoir, Va., the museum would fill a major gap in the Army’s historical presence: All other service branches have their own national museums. “As the largest and oldest service, the Army needs the support of the American people, and this museum will help connect and reconnect Americans with their Army,” says Abrams, the son of the late Gen. Creighton Abrams, who was the U.S. commander in Vietnam after Gen. William Westmoreland and later Army chief of staff. The Army will operate the building, which the foundation will fund through a $200 million capital campaign. In addition to raising money — the campaign has brought in $65 million from 95,000 donors to date — Abrams keeps in touch with the Army Corps of Engineers on the construction plans.

A NEW DIRECTION “Other museums are mostly about battles,” says Abrams. The Army museum’s three major galleries will explore other facets of the Army since its 1775 founding. “Soldiers’ Stories” will feature personal accounts told in pictures and text, plus videos. “Fighting for the Nation” will tell the stories of major wars, from the American Revolution to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the fight against terrorism. “Army and Society” will look at interactions of the military and civilians by exploring technology, the tradition of civilian control of the military, the Army’s role in public-works projects and as a societal “melting pot,” and public support of the troops.

COLLECTIVE MEMORY The museum expects to attract some 750,000 visitors a year. “It will remind those who have served — and their families and friends — that their collective stories and deeds will not be forgotten,” Abrams says.

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12 Responses to Brig. Gen. Creighton W. Abrams Jr. ’62

Keith Genter Says:

2012-11-20 16:42:40

I served with BG Abrams in Augsburg, Germany, and during Desert Shield/Storm as his helicopter pilot in command. He is a true professional. I'm proud that he is continuing his service to our great nation as the Exec. Dir. of AHF. Keep up the good work, thanks.

Tom Hillin Says:

2013-10-29 14:47:21

I served with 2nd Lt. Abrams in 1st Cavalry in Korea in 1963. I was a PFC, and most of us thought he was a little flaky. Good to hear he made general.

John Harris, recon scout 1st Bde,101st Vietnam 66, Says:

2014-02-27 09:38:44

Awarded VUA, Purple Heart, South Vietnam pres. citation, U.S. Presidential Citation CIB, Jump Wings, exp M60 M16, 18 years old, Vietnam. Most of my unit buried now; am acting as 1st Brigade 101st historian at present. Have ideas for changing DD214 to be alive as a form of visual medals and photos.

Bill Williams Says:

2014-06-18 13:06:21

He was my battalion commander in Schwienfurt, Germany 1977-79, 2/39th FA.

David Cotter Says:

2015-01-30 09:30:40

I'm honored to work for BG Abrams at the Army Historical Foundation.

Wendell Gideon Says:

2015-02-16 11:28:08

I was a birddog pilot in Vietnam (1967-68) and picked up an Field Artillery Aerial Observer (AO) for a mission one day during my tour of duty. I was stationed in III Corps (at Tay Ninh) and I Corps (flying out of Chu Lai) during that period. This AO was a captain whose name read "Abrams." I was a little afraid to ask if he was General Abrams' son but I flew the mission assuming that he was, which meant that if anyone was killed on that mission it would have to be me if I had anything to say or do about it. Thank the Lord I didn't crash land, run out of gas, ground loop or get us shot down for flying too low or doing something stupid. If I am not mistaken, Captain Abrams did a great job of calling in artillery on the enemy while I sweated it out in the cockpit, keeping the old Birddog in the best position for him to see the battlefield and call in fire from the 105 or 155 howitzer batteries. The reason I started checking into this was because I am reading "Killing Patton" and had come to the place where then Lt. Col. Abrams had broken through to Bastogne fighting the Germans in the cold of winter and proved that he and his men were the best of the best in armored warfare, according to Gen. Patton himself. My cousin Maxie Gideon was a member of the 101st Airborne at Bastogne and survived. He remembers very well what it felt like when they were able to shake hands with the arriving warriors led by Lt. Col. Creighton Abrams. Though I can only thank the general in spirit as he resides in the heavenly abode where there is no more war, I can at least pass my deepest thanks and appreciation on to his son. And if it turns out that BG Abrams III (Ret.) was indeed that captain I picked up on that day long ago in Vietnam, I will be able to share with him memories that still remain as well as tell him that he seems to be following well in his father's footsteps and made his dad and mom mighty proud of his own accomplishments. If it turns out he was not that AO I flew with that day, I still feel good about having expressed my thanks for the great example of leadership and sacrifice exemplified by his father. Sincerely, Wendell R. Gideon '63 USMA, Columbia, MO

Chief Bernard H. Piche', USN, Ret., Says:

2015-02-16 11:29:19

Reading comments above and the general's bio, he did not follow his father to West Point and still made general? Seems he has done a great job at the historical center, and that's what counts.

Barry Grimm Says:

2015-04-07 13:31:08

Keith, that is interesting that you were his chopper pilot ... I was his father's pilot in Vietnam! That started a trend for me, and I spent three years between tours flying for the White House and the Pentagon before I returned to Vietnam. I will become a founding sponsor of the museum since it is being located in Fort Belvoir ... my daughter was born at the hospital there while we were stationed at Davidson Army Airfield. I became Aircraft Commander in the "White Tops" in '69 :)

Larry Curtis Says:

2015-04-07 13:34:16

I served alongside Keith Genter as BG Abram's pilot. Serving under BG Abrams was a distinct honor and privilege, and kicking Keith Genter's butt was a lot of fun as well. ;) KIDDING! Love ya, Keith! BG Abrams' dad was the Army's chief of staff when I joined in 1974, so serving under the command of his son holds a great historical significance for me personally. I would most definitely jump at the opportunity to do it all over again if that was possible. Thank you, BG Abrams, for being such an excellent boss and an extreme pleasure to fly with.

George P. Wayland Says:

2015-05-26 10:09:13

While serving in Vietnam in 1968, I was the personnel sergeant in charge of officer redeployment that actually cut the orders to relieve Gen. Westmoreland of his command and assigning Gen. Abrams as Commander of U.S. Forces in Vietnam. MACV, signed by Col. Neil N. Snyder, MACV AG. Both Gen. Westmoreland and Gen. Abrams were great men, and I am forever proud to have served under their command.

Warren Johnson Says:

2015-07-09 04:35:35

On behalf of Karin H. Johnson, I would like to add how proud she was to have been BG Abrams PAO in Augsburg during Desert Storm and Desert Shield. She frequently remembered her favorite Abrams' quote: "A democracy without dissent is no democracy at all." She passed away May 6, 2015. She was 67.

W. Scott Pinkston Says:

2015-10-22 15:48:34

I proudly served under BG (then Col.) Abrams when he was commander of 3rd ID DIVARTY from 1985 - 1987. He personally met with me when I'd requested a transfer from my unit to accept a new position offered at division HQ, and I will be ever grateful for his help.A great man, soldier and leader.
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