General Reed

Wilson Russell Reed, Brigadier General, U.S. Army, Retired

One of A Million; One of A Kind

Wilson Russell Reed joined the honorable group of fellow WWII veterans who are slipping away and on May 9, 2012 passed away at his recent residence in Indiana. He spent the major portion of his adult life in the northern Virginia area while on active duty in the US Military and after retiring; living in Arlington, McLean, and Alexandria. In many ways his life mirrored those who joined the great fight against tyranny; growing up during the great depression, being thrust into world events, and committing one’s self to building a better future. Joe, as he later became known, was born in Anderson, South Carolina in 1918. He attended Allendale farm school and Onarga Military Academy both in Illinois, and spent one year at Kalamazoo College in Michigan before receiving an appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1941, which began a 30 year career in the US Army.

Assigned the job of Operations Officer in the 379th Field Artillery Battalion of the 102 Infantry Division, Joe and his fellow Ozarks joined the fight in the European Theater of Operations in 1944 – 1945. His Battalion landed in Normandy and fought across Belgium, Holland, and Germany to the Elbe River by Victory Europe Day. Following the allied victory, the then Major Reed, was assigned to the reconstruction effort where he redeployed 120,000 men and administered six Prisoner of War Camps. The men (and their families) of the Ozarks 102 have always been close to his heart where Joe cherished these special friends, supported the Association and scholarship program, was a booster for reunions, and provided countless speeches noting the courageous actions of these men who fought in Europe in those years.

In 1952 General Reed received a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Georgetown University and in 1960 graduated from the U.S. Army War College. Over the course of his military career he completed extensive professional training courses in diverse areas as tactical artillery programs to computer systems, the full complement are too numerous to detail. Upon this foundation a new world view of US Army systems, research and development, and plans, programming, and analysis perspectives were refined and implemented. These new ideas were a part of bringing the United States permanently into the international arena and establishing leadership roles in new multinational organizations. Assigned to Paris France in the early 1950’s with the Mutual Weapons Development Team General Reed worked directly with NATO nations to improve their research and development capabilities among many other aspects of mutual cooperation and syncopation, strengthening the organization and introducing a new systems approach to management.

General Reed completed Command assignments in Korea and Viet Nam and while posted at Fort Carson Colorado he held positions as Commanding Officer and Executive Officer of the 9th Infantry Division Artillery. Over the years he undertook multiple assignments at the Pentagon including Mid-Range Plans Officer, Acting Chief and Deputy Chief for the Programs and Analysis Division and the Management Analysis Division as well as an assignment for reorganizing research and development in the Army. He was assigned to the Office of Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, as a staff officer in the Coordination Division, Office of the Director of Coordination and Analysis. Subsequently he was appointed as Chief of the Policy and Strategy Division, in this capacity he was responsible for developing studies reviewing existing (or proposing new) policies and strategy positions for the Army. Studies were provided to the highest levels of the Army, both orally and in writing, and influenced Army positions on national and international matters.

Highly respected and known for accomplishing difficult assignments General Reed had a reputation of getting the job done by believing in team efforts, delegating to managers, and dedicated leadership and personal responsibility. He was appointed Commanding General, Automated Data Field Systems Command at Fort Belvoir, Virginia; he was responsible for the planning, design, development, production, distribution, installation, maintenance, and update of automated data systems for operations, intelligence, fire control and combat service support for the US Army. Following he was appointed Commanding General, Computer Systems Command, responsible for organizing and controlling the Command, with 17 installations world-wide, responsible for design, development, installation, maintenance, and update of both tactical and Management Information Systems for Army activities world-wide, embracing a new technology across the Army. General Reed was in great demand for public speaking on management as well as computer systems at national and international armed forces commands. He is the author of several published articles on development and use of computers in the armed forces, a technology that today is an imbedded foundation in all the services yet at the time of these developments was a new technology in terms of wide-spread systems use in the Armed Forces.

During his career General Reed received numerous citations and decorations among them include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (1st Oak Leaf Cluster), French Croix de Guerre w/Etoile d’Argent, Army Commendation Ribbon (1st Oak Leaf Cluster), and George Washington Medal, Freedoms Foundation, Valley Forge 1957 and 1964.

After retiring General Reed became CEO of his own company in the Washington area. A year ago in June 2011 he attended his 70th reunion at West Point, one of eleven graduates representing his class. Wilson believed in life-long learning, traveled the entire globe including the north and south poles, and was widely read having collected an extensive library of classic and contemporary books and reading material. His never-ending curiosity and intellectual acumen covered a wide span of subjects. His opinion was sought by family, friends, and colleagues alike and he never passed up an opportunity to provide humor to a subject having a fun story for all occasions.

General Reed was a role model for his family who is grateful he was with them for all these years and will miss him forever. Surviving are two daughters, Patsy Hoyer and son-in-law Scott Hoyer of West Lafayette, Indiana and June Reed of New York City, New York, three grandchildren and one great grandchild. He was preceded in death by his first wife, June and his second wife, Maurine. General Reed will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on September 27, 2012.