Courtesy of the United States Military Academy:
Glaudis Pierre Gaspard, Jr.
Died 15 December 1982 in New York City,
aged 49 years.
Interment: Arlington National Cemetery,
ON 15 DECEMBER 1982 Glaudis Pierre Gaspard, Jr., succumbed in a campaign against cancer during which he demonstrated so well the courage, love, and perseverance that had marked his career as an outstanding soldier.
Junior was born on 1 November 1933 in Alexandria, Louisiana, son of Glaudis P. and Salena Mae Gaspard. He completed secondary schooling in Alexandria, graduating as class valedictorian of Bolton High School, the second largest in the state. In 1952 he earned a scholastic scholarship and commenced to attend Louisiana Polytechnic Institute. As a freshman, he won the Gulf States Conference tennis title in 1953.
In July of that year, junior joined the Class of 1957 at West Point. Even in Beast Barracks he displayed his enduring desire to do things well. One particular July day was made even warmer when he ably demonstrated several maneuvers from the Queen Anne's manual of arms, unfortunately without being requested to do so. In spite of the extra “heat” that he drew from the First Class on that particular occasion, Junior continued to demonstrate his innate confidence, enthusiasm, and aggressive leadership abilities in his role as a cadet and as an athlete. He lettered in both squash and tennis, and was captain of the tennis team his First Class year.
In the summer of 1955, during training at Fort Benning, junior met Carolyn Henson of Buena Vista, Georgia. Junior and Carolyn were married shortly after graduation and ably and lovingly sustained each other through their Army career. Their son Glaudis P. Gaspard, III is currently a lieutenant in the Transportation Corps, and, like his father, an aviator. Their younger son, Lyndon Jay Gaspard, also like his father, is on a tennis scholarship in college. Both of his sons share Junior's aptitude and love of tennis; even Carolyn has become a professional tennis official. To know junior was to know that he loved his family and was extremely proud of each its members.
Junior chose the Armor branch, and soon added proficiency as a parachutist and aviator to his military qualifications. After flight school, Junior and Carolyn went to Europe, where, after a troop assignment, he was selected as aide-de-camp to the commander of V Corps. Returning to the States, he graduated from the Armor Career Course in 1964, and then returned to USMA for a staff assignment. While there, he was called on short notice to serve the first of his two tours in Vietnam. The initial tour was in an assault helicopter battalion with the 1st Cavalry Division; the second included duty as a company commander of a fixed wing unit in Nha Trang. In between those tours, he served on the faculty at the Helicopter School at Fort Wolters, Texas. Wounded once in Vietnam, he elected to return to combat duty from hospitalization, rather than be evacuated to the States.
After graduating from the Armed Forces Staff College in 1972, he returned to Germany for several staff assignments in Headquarters, EUCOM. In December 1974, junior was selected to command a battalion at Fort Knox, a duty in which he excelled, and by personal testimony, enjoyed. This display of his ability to lead and persevere with a smile were further recognized in his subsequent appointment in July 1976 as aide-de-camp to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the late General George S. Brown.
In 1979, Junior graduated from the National War College. It was during this schooling that he first learned he had cancer. Accepting a level of radiation stronger than most people can endure, he withstood his initial bout, and continued to an assignment in the office of the Department of the Army Inspector General. In July 1981 the Army took advantage of his wide background and staff experience in appointing him Senior Army Advisor to the Puerto Rican Army National Guard. In this particular assignment his extraordinary capacity for leadership was recognized: his “hard work and dedication. . . inspired and maintained harmony and rapport between the Active Army and the local National Guard as well as the overall readiness” of the two. At the time of his death, he was a patient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and undergoing treatment at the Sloan Kettering Center in New York.
Recognitions that junior received for his contributions and service to the nation, include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Purple Heart, and 25 Air Medals. He was a Master Aviator and qualified in eleven different fixed and rotary wing aircraft.
During his career Junior set many examples for his contemporaries. Enthusiasm was his hallmark. Bearing the trials and tribulations of cadet life was made much easier for those close to him by his buoyant attitude, dedication, and sense of humor. These traits, practiced and honed at West Point, were later reflected in his Army career and in his relationship with his family. As a commander in Vietnam, he was known for his innovation and ability to get the job done with dispatch; the personal example he set in maintaining a high degree of physical conditioning assisted him in realizing those capabilities. That conditioning, coupled with the most courageous of spirits, allowed him to wage his arduous and inspirational battle during the last years of his life. His ability, over an extended period, to endure pain, and yet clearly reflect his love of life, demonstrated not only a resolve, but an appreciation of others that is characteristic of few. Though in severe and continuous pain, he chose to share the 25th Reunion with his Class at West Point in October 1982, less than two months before he was finally overcome. He made every formation, talked about times past, and displayed his innate determination to fight against all odds, and to win.
We have bid farewell to a superior Army officer, a loving father, and friend. Those of us who knew Junior well share the feelings of Brigadier General Guillermo H. Barbosa of the Puerto Rican Army National Guard, who wrote that junior “will always be remembered … as a true friend, …happy in the memories of life fully lived (and) loved and respected by all.”
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard