General Melvin Zais
|Born||May 8, 1916|
Fall River, Massachusetts
|Died||May 7, 1981 (aged 64)|
Beaufort, South Carolina
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1937–1976|
|Commands held||Allied Land Forces South-Eastern Europe|
Third United States Army
101st Airborne Division
1st Infantry Division
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Army Distinguished Service Medal (4)|
Silver Star (2)
Legion of Merit (3)
Distinguished Flying Cross (2)
Bronze Star Medal
Zais attended the University of New Hampshire and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. In 1937 he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve. In 1940 he was a member of the original Parachute battalion later the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. During World War II, Zais was the commander of the 3rd Battalion and, later, executive officer of the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment, fighting in Italy, in southern France, and in the Battle of the Bulge.
Zais attended the United States Army Command and General Staff College, and was also a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College, and the National War College. He was promoted to brigadier general on June 1, 1964; major general on May 1, 1967; and lieutenant general on August 1, 1969. He was named Commanding General, Allied Land Forces South-Eastern Europe, Izmir, Turkey, effective August 1973 following his promotion to general on July 13 the month prior.
Zais' assignments included Commander, 1st Infantry Division, United States Army, Vietnam, 1966; Director of Individual Training, Office, Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, United States Army, Washington, D.C., 1966–68, during this time he led the army liaison team responsible for the involvement of Federal troops in suppressing the April 1968 Baltimore riot;:320-2 Commanding General, 101st Airborne Division (then designated as Airmobile), Vietnam, 1968–69. He lead 101st Airborne Division in the Battle of Hamburger Hill against People's Army of Vietnam. He then became the Commanding General, XXIV Corps, Vietnam, 1969–70.
After returning from Vietnam, Zais served Director for Operations, J-3, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C., 1970–72 and as Commanding General, Third United States Army from 1972 to 1973.
Awards and decorations
Zais' awards and decorations include the Army Distinguished Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Silver Star with oak leaf cluster; Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters; Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster; Bronze Star Medal. Zais also received ten overseas service bars signifying five years of overseas service during World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
|Combat Infantryman Badge|
|Basic Army Aviator Badge|
|Distinguished Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters||Silver Star with oak leaf cluster||Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster|
|Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster||Bronze Star Medal||Purple Heart|
|Air Medal||Joint Service Commendation Medal||Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster|
|American Defense Service Medal with service star||American Campaign Medal||European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four service stars|
|World War II Victory Medal||Army of Occupation Medal||National Defense Service Medal with one service star|
|Vietnam Service Medal with seven service stars||National Order of Vietnam||National Order of Vietnam|
|Gallantry Cross (Vietnam)||Armed Forces Honor Medal||Vietnam Campaign Medal|
|Master Combat Parachutist Badge w/ 1 star|
- Josh Barbanel (1981-05-07). "GEN. MELVIN ZAIS, 64, FORMER NATO CHIEF FOR SOUTHEAST EUROPE – Obituary". United States: NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2012-02-14.
- Scheips, Paul (2005). The Role of Federal Military Forces in Domestic Disorders, 1945–1992 (PDF). US Army Center of Military History. ISBN 9781517253783. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- Third Army Website – Commander Biographies
- University of New Hampshire Army ROTC website – Distinguished Alumni
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