Donald Earl Sampson – Brigadier General, United States Army

Donald Earl Sampson, 78, a retired Army Brigadier General who served as an artillery officer in the Korean and Vietnam wars, died October 18, 2007, of pneumonia at Wuesthoff Medical Center in Rockledge, Florida. He lived in Melbourne, Florida.

General Sampson was born in Williamson, West Virginia and was an Eagle Scout. He graduated from Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, Virginia, and was a 1950 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

He was an artillery officer during the Korean and Vietnam wars and was an authority on Latin America. Among other assignments, he served in the 82nd Airborne as a military adviser in Buenos Aires and as an artillery commander in Germany. He taught Spanish at West Point for three years and held positions at the Pentagon, at Fort Lewis, Wash., and in South Korea.

While serving in the Army, General Sampson received three master's degrees: in Hispanic studies from the University of Madrid in Spain in 1957; in Hispanic-American studies from Middlebury College in Vermont in 1959; and in international relations from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania in 1971. He also attended the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

His decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and four awards of the Bronze Star Medal. After retiring from the Army in 1979, he worked for several years with the Vinnell Corporation, helping modernize the Saudi Arabian national guard.

General Sampson lived in Alexandria from 1967 to 1992 and was a member of Christ Episcopal Church in Alexandria and the Army Navy Country Club.

While living in Spain in the 1950s, General Sampson studied guitar with a former student of Andres Segovia and became a proficient classical guitarist.

His other interests included word and logic puzzles, ham radio, electronics, skiing, golf and ballroom dancing.

After moving to Florida in 1992, he volunteered at a museum, sang in a barbershop quartet and was a member of the Masons.

His wife of 41 years, Clare B. Sampson, died in 1991.

Survivors include his wife of 10 years, Anne Marie Sampson of Melbourne; five children from his first marriage, Michael Sampson of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, Kathryn Sampson of Fairfax County, Elizabeth Sampson of Van Nuys, California, Patricia Sampson of Baltimore and Julia Sampson Dillard of Tokyo; and seven grandchildren.


  • BG   US ARMY
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 07/17/1929
  • DATE OF DEATH: 10/18/2007

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