Laurie Calvin Battle – Colonel, United States Air Force Member of Congress

From a contemporary press report:

Laurie C. Battle, 87, a Democratic representative from Alabama who sponsored a notable piece of Cold War legislation and since leaving office in 1955 remained active in politics as a Capitol Hill staff member and adviser to a savings association, died of cancer May 2, 2000 at Bethesda Naval Hospital. He lived in Alexandria.

Mr. Battle, a decorated World War II veteran and son of a Methodist minister, first ran for office in 1947 as a conservative candidate and defeated a four-term Democratic incumbent with New Deal leanings.

During his four terms in office, Mr. Battle was best known as the principal sponsor of the Mutual Defense Assistance Control Act of 1951, which authorized suspension of U.S. economic aid to nations supplying strategic materials to Soviet bloc countries.

Known as the Battle Act, the legislation was praised by The Washington Post editorial page as a “sensible and workable” alternative to more rigid legislation being offered at the time.

Unlike other bills, Mr. Battle's offering gave the president the opportunity to waive the ban. That option was used, for example, for the Netherlands, which had sent oil-well drilling equipment to the Soviets because of standing contracts.

In 1954, Mr. Battle made an unsuccessful but well-financed Senate challenge against incumbent John J. Sparkman (D-Alabama). Sparkman, the vice presidential candidate in 1952, was a controversial figure among his constituents for helping write a civil rights plank into the Democratic convention.

After working in the insurance field in Alabama during that period, Mr. Battle made an unsuccessful attempt to become Alabama governor in 1958 even though he had allied himself with popular anti-integration forces.

By the mid-1960s, he had moved to Fairfax County and started serving as the staff director and counsel of the House Committee on Rules, where he would stay until 1976. He then was a special adviser until 1988 for the United States League of Savings Associations.

Prodded by the Rules Committee's formidable former chairman, Rep. Howard W. Smith (D-Virginia), Mr. Battle tried unsuccessfully in 1968 to capture the Democratic nomination for Virginia's 8th Congressional District, but he lost to a more liberal candidate.

Laurie Calvin Battle was a native of Wilsonville, Alabama, and a graduate of  Birmingham Southern College in Alabama. He received a master's degree in sociology from Ohio State University in 1939.

During World War II, he served in the Pacific with the Army Air Corps and received a Bronze Star. He was in the Air Force Reserve and retired in 1972 as a colonel.

He was a member of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Alexandria and a past member of the American Lumber Standards Board.

His hobbies included paddleball.

Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Janis Hunt Battle of Alexandria; four sons, James, of McLean, Robert, of Portsmouth, L.H. “Chip,” of Herndon, and Donald of Birmingham, Ala.; two daughters, Anne Wagner of Alexandria and Cindy Rice of Waldorf; three brothers; three sisters; and 19 grandchildren.

Congressman Battle was laid to rest in Section 11 of Arlington National Cemetery.

Courtesy of the U.S. House of Representatives

BATTLE, Laurie Calvin, 1912-2000

BATTLE, Laurie Calvin, a Representative from Alabama; born in Wilsonville, Shelby County, Alabama, May 10, 1912; attended the elementary school at  Inglenook, Jefferson County, Alabama; moved to Tuscumbia in 1926; was graduated from Deshler High School in 1930; A.B., psychology, Birmingham-Southern College at Birmingham, 1934; student, Vanderbilt University and Scarritt College, Nashville, Tenn., in 1934 and 1935; M.A., sociology, Ohio State University at Columbus, 1939; worked for a dairy company, Cleveland, Ohio, in 1937 and 1938; laborer and district clerk for the Southern Natural Gas Co., Birmingham, Alabama, in 1940 and 1941; sociology teacher at  Ohio State University night school in 1940; during the Second World War served in the United States Army Air Corps as a private and through the ranks to major, with service in the Asiatic-Pacific theater from February 19, 1942, until discharged on March 6, 1946; awarded the Bronze Star Medal; retired from the military reserve, May 1972; student at University of Alabama in 1946; elected as a Democrat to the Eightieth and to the three succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1947-January 3, 1955); was not a candidate for renomination in 1954, but was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate; engaged in the insurance business in Birmingham, Alabama; government relations representative and legislative consultant in Washington, D.C.; served as staff director and counsel of House of Representatives Rules Committee; 1966-1976; special adviser, United States League of Savings Associations, Washington, D.C., 1976 to present; is a resident of Alexandria, Virginia.



  • VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 10/28/1942 – 05/10/1972
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 5/12/1912
  • DATE OF DEATH: 05/02/2000
  • DATE OF INTERMENT: 05/18/2000







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