|Born||15 Sep 1914|
|Died||4 Sep 1974|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Creighton Williams "Abe" Abrams, Jr. was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1914, to a railway mechanic and farmer. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1936 and entered service with the First Cavalry Division for the first four years of his army career. By the time he left the First Cavalry Division in 1940, he held the rank of captain (temporary rank). As a young regimental adjutant of the 4th Armored Division at the outbreak of WW2, he rose through the ranks steadily as the United States mobilized and transformed her military from unpreparedness toward the army of a superpower that the nation would become by the end of the war. For the entire length of WW2, Abrams commanded the 37th Tank Battalion of the 4th Armored Division with temporary ranks of major (Mar 1943) and then lieutenant colonel (Sep 1943). As an armored commander, he believed in leveraging mobility against enemy troops. General George Patton saw Abrams as one of his greatest officers, commenting "I'm supposed to be the best tank commander in the Army, but I have one peer: Abe Abrams. He's the world champion." With Abrams' capability as an able armored commander his unit saw action in every single campaign the division participated in, including saving the surrounded troops at Bastogne at the Battle of the Bulge (although to this day veterans of the 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne refused to believe they needed to be rescued). He was known for, standing at the banks of the Moselle, pointing eastward and said "that is the shortest way home"; "Task Force Abe" then led the thrust across the Moselle. Abrams also was credited for advancing his armor from Bitburg to the Rhine, a distance of over forty miles, in less than two days. To his men, he was known as "Colonel Abe", a nickname that was often heard as late as the 4th Armored Division reunions.
After WW2, he saw service at the Army General Staff, the Army Armored School, Army Center at Fort Knox (Kentucky, United States), Europe, and Korea. In 1956 he joined army brass with a promotion to the rank of brigadier general, and eight years later achieved the rank of a full general and appointed vice chief of staff. He would later succeed General Westmoreland as the commander of all American forces in Vietnam.
In the position of Army Chief of Staff, the approachable and plain-spoken Abrams passed away of lung cancer in 1974 and was buried in Section 21 of Arlington National Cemetery, immediately outside of Washington. The combination of his heartfelt concern for his soldiers and his aggressive tactics led to naming of the M1 Abrams battle tank, rolled off the factory assembly lines in the 1980s, after him. Among his six children, all three of his sons followed Abrams' footsteps and became army officers and each of the daughters married army officers. Summing up Abrams' career, Secretary of Defense of the United States James Schlesinger described him as "an authentic national hero".
Sources: Arlington National Cemetery, US Army, Wikipedia.
Creighton Abrams Timeline
|15 Sep 1914||Creighton Abrams was born.|
|4 Sep 1974||Creighton Abrams passed away.|
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Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939