Dean Winston Meyerson – Brigadier General, United Sttes Army

Courtesy of his classmates, United States Military Academy

25 September 1926-28 September 1983
Interment: Arlington National Cemetery


Graduating only about half of those new cadets who entered in July 1945, the Class of 1949 was unusual. One of the most unusual was the son of Milton Dean and Blanche Loretta Miliner Meyerson, born 25 September 1926. Dean Winston Meyerson earned his appointment through competitive examination. Before admission, he had worked at various jobs to cover the costs of a year at the Bullis School, from which he graduated, as well as another at the University of Maryland.

Those of 1949 who remained to graduate were achievers. As Dean's career developed, so did his special potential to contribute much to society. The caption next to Cadet Dean's picture in the 1949 Howitzer, “Enthusiasm, tempered with good cheer, is his greatest asset; this engaging attitude makes him a welcome member of any activity. We will remember Dean for his active interest in sports, dancing, good literature-and for his affable grin,” foretold traits that served him well and characterized his career.

Dean spent his graduation leave touring Europe by motorcycle; his curious and adven- turesome spirit was epitomized by a side trip to blockaded Berlin in a DC-3 amid sacks of coal.

In July 1950, he was assigned to the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division and sent to Korea, arriving on the Pusan perimeter in early August. As a platoon leader and battalion staff officer, Dean was described as “an outstanding officer-very cool and confident in battle, thereby inspiring confidence and ability in his men.” He stayed with the 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry as it broke out of the perimeter and became the first to enter Seoul and Pyongyang, North Korea, and was awarded the Bronze Star for heroism in action under fire on 1 November 1950. Subsequently, his unit absorbed the brunt of heavy Chinese attacks and was overrun at Unsan. He was captured but escaped and led others back to friendly lines. An efficiency report commented, “He is blessed with an unusual sense of humor and the ability to undergo trying situations without losing perspective.”

After a year in combat, Lieutenant Meyerson joined the 1802nd Special Regiment at West Point teaching cadet Tactics and English. During this unusually early posting to the Academy, his teaching skills were rated outstanding. However, the most important event of his West Point tour was his courtship of Beatrice van Cortlandt Berle of New York, a top student at Vassar.

Dean's next assignment was a voluntary hardship tour as an Infantry company com- mander guarding the Keflavik Iceland Air Base. Bea joined him, and they were married in Reykjavik, traveling to their reception in the Ambassador's limousine. No family dependent housing was available, so they completed the year living on the local economy with minimal creature comforts. Dean's sense of humor was always present. He commented that, after their prestigious wedding, his bride noted that his “trousseau” consisted of two barracks bags (one with clean and' the other with dirty clothes). Icelanders, in the winter of 1953-54, lived mainly on fish, potatoes and oranges. Dean described supplementing the limited food available with smuggled items. On his way home one evening, he was required to have an extended conversation with an Icelandic customs official in a well-heated guard box at the base gate. He chose not to remove his parka and reveal a rasher of bacon suspended from his neck and slowly seeping fat down his body.

Returning to the United States, Dean resigned his Regular Army commission and accepted one in the Reserve. He was called to active duty in 1966, working in the Office of the Joint Chiefs until 1968. A senior regular officer observing him during this period noted, “Dean demonstrated his broad-gauge talents as an Army strategic planner. Working in the heart of the Army staff long hours, day after day, involved with all major substantive issues of the time (particularly those concerning the war in Vietnam), he was an inspiration to his colleagues and a great source of strength in trying times. Self-aggrandizement was not in Dean's makeup, and he was noteworthy for his tireless and unselfish contributions to team efforts. Never were the personal and professional qualities expected of a West Pointer more evident than in Dean's performance on the Army staff.” For this work, Dean was awarded the Legion of Merit.

Recalled in 1971, Dean served into 1972 as a special studies project officer at the Combat Development Command Strategic Studies Institute, where he “contributed valuable assistance to the Secretary of Army's `Alternative for Improved Armed Forces Capabilities Study.' ” This tour earned him a Meritorious Service Medal. Again on active duty in 1973-74, Dean served as a member of the Office of Secretary of Defense Total Forces Study Group.

The culmination of the military side of his career commenced in 1975 with assignment as deputy commander of the USAR's 157th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) in Horsham, Pennsylvania. Promoted to Brigadier General in 1976, Dean accepted the challenge of molding an effective, combat-ready force, even to the point of personally leading fitness runs in complete field uniform with combat boots. His tank battalion, while on summer active duty for training in Germany, outscored its Regular Army counterparts. Official recognition came as an Oak Leaf Cluster to his Legion of Merit. He left the 157th and transferred to the Inactive Reserve in 1980.

As a couple, Bea and Dean raised three fine, achieving sons: Dean Winston (Win), Frederick (Fred) and Christopher (Chris). They traveled extensively and did much to make Washington life easier for foreign diplomatic families. A church deacon, director of young adult programs and Sunday School teacher, Dean also worked extensively in support of public libraries and the establishment of a New Jersey community college. From 1960-65, he directed a Humanities Reading and Seminar Program at Drexel that involved nearly 3,000 students. From 1964-78, Dean was vice-president of the New Jersey-based Cuthman Corporation specializing in multi-family housing investments. Dean also earned a master of arts in English from Columbia University in 1959 and a Ph.D. from the American University in Washington, D.C. in 1980.

During his final years, Dean continued his life-long interest in physical fitness, extensively involved in American University's National Center for Human Fitness, where his memory remains alive in an annual award for “the individual whose integrity, compassion for fellow human beings, responsible leadership and contribution to health and fitness best exemplifies the values and ideals of Dean Winston Meyerson.”

With all these many accomplishments, Dean can be regarded as an extraordinary example of the Duty, Honor and Country for which West Point stands. He is most poignantly remembered for his love of life, friends and family; for his devotion to the Army and its people; and for his inspiring leadership and his love of country. Called to leave us suddenly and unexpectedly in 1983, he left a legacy of respect and memories of love. He was a husband, father and friend worthy of loyalties and admiration. All of us who knew him were privileged. We cherish his memory.

Thomas R. Mackenzie, Beatrice “Bea” Meyerson and other friends

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