Louis C. Menetrey – General, United States Army

Flag-lowering to honor ex-Korea commander
Tuesday Mar 10, 2009

National flags at installations and activities throughout the Army will be flown at half-staff Tuesday in honor of General Louis C. Menetrey, the former commander of U.S., United Nations and Combined Forces Korea, who died January 10, 2009.


Menetrey, 79, retired in 1990 following an Army career that began in 1953 following stints of service with the Army Reserve and Navy, and that was highlighted with assignments as commander of the 4th Infantry Division and Fifth Army, in addition to the senior posts in South Korea.

An infantry officer, Menetrey had a master’s degree in international affairs from Georgetown University, and he was a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, the Armed Forces Staff College and the National War College.

During the Vietnam War he served as a staff officer with the 1st Cavalry Division, and as commander of 2d Battalion, 28th Infantry.

Menetrey’s awards and decorations included the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Medal and Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster.

Army Chief of Staff General George Casey ordered the half–staffing of flags in All-Army Activities Message 046/2009, issued February 23, 2009.

He was one of the greatest military commanders to have served the United States Armed Forces.

General Louis C. Menetrey served as Commander of the United Nations Command, R.O.K., the U.S. Combined Forces Command, and the U.S. Forces Korea, and again served as pillar of strength for the US Army in the Vietnam War. He is one of the few men to be decorated by the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), the second-highest military honor of the United States Army, awarded for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force.

Now, journalist-author Jane Menetrey presents a fascinating biography of the legendary general — and a loving man who happens to be her husband.


Caring Warrior, Jane Menetrey’s enthralling ode to her husband, vividly recalls the many interesting things about her husband in a biography that spans decades and continents. Jane Menetrey became enthralled with the military and curious about its complexities when she married retired General Louis Menetrey. It wasn’t long before her husband’s brilliance began to shine, but shortly after their marriage in 2003, Jane noticed Lou was losing some abilities. When the great general was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the sadness that the world was losing this man overwhelmed her. She decided to try to capture this great man’s legacy in Caring Warrior, a compilation of remembrances from friends and soldiers, and laced with stories from his files, his own words from his oral history, as well as narrations of her own.

Caring Warrior masterfully captures the legacy of General Louis C. Menetrey, an extraordinary man who was a loyal, caring ally to the American people — and a dreaded adversary to America’s foes.

Click on the above book cover for information on how to purchase the book.

Menetrey was born on August 19, 1929 in Hollywood, California to a Swiss immigrant father and American mother.

After graduating from Hollywood High School, he enrolled in the University of California, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in Political Science. While in college, he served in both the Navy and Army Reserve. He was commissioned in 1953 in the infantry.

After completing the Infantry Basic course and Airborne and Ranger school, he served as a platoon leader, and later commanded four different companies; most officers only command a company once. During this time he also served as a nuclear weapons test and evaluation officer and as a liaison officer involved in the planning for an invasion of Cuba.

After promotion to Major, he attended the Command and General Staff College, then went to Georgetown University and received a master's degree in International Affairs before being sent to the Armed Forces Staff College. Upon graduation he was chosen for early promotion to Lieutenant Colonel and received orders to Vietnam.

In Vietnam, his first assignment was as Deputy Chief of Staff of the 1st Cavalry Division, and then was given command of the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry, a unit that had been badly mauled by recent combat.

After Vietnam, he attended the National War College, and then was assigned to the Office of the Coordinator of Army Studies, working for Vice Chief of Staff General William E. DePuy, and assisting in developing policies for transition to an all volunteer force.

He was assigned next to the 101st Airborne Division as the G-3, then took command of the division's 2nd Brigade. While at Fort Campbell, he was selected for flag rank. His first assignment as a general officer was as Assistant Division Commander, 2nd Infantry Division, and during his time in that billet, the Axe Murder Incident, where U.S. Army officers were slain at Panmunjon, occurred.

His next assignment was as Deputy Commander, Combined Arms Development Agency, where he helped lay the groundwork for the National Training Center. He was then picked for command of the 4th Infantry Division, followed by being Director of Requirements for the Army Staff.

He was chosen to command the Combined Field Army in Korea, and then the Fifth United States Army, headquartered at Fort Sam Houston. He received his fourth star in 1987, and took command of all U.S. forces in Korea.

Menetrey retired from the army in 1990, living between Colorado Springs, Colorado and Marathon, Florida. He worked as a consultant. General Menetrey died on 10 January 2009 after an extended battle with Alzheimers Disease. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. He is survived by his third wife.

General Louis C. Menetrey, 1929-2009
Louis C. Menetrey – General, United States Army


General “Lou” Menetrey was born in Hollywood, California on August 19, 1929. In 1953, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the regular Army and awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from the University of California, Los Angeles. He held a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from Georgetown University and an honorary Doctorate in Political Science from Kyung Hee University, South Korea. His military education includes completion of the Infantry School, United States Army Command and General Staff College, the Armed Forces Staff College and the National War College.

General Menetrey served in a variety of important and progressive command and staff positions during his military career. He began his military career as a member of first the Naval Reserves (1947) and then the Army Reserves (1952). Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, he was commissioned through the Reserve Officers Training program as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry in the United States Army. He entered active service at Fort Benning Georgia in June of 1953 where he completed the basic Infantry course, the Airborne school and the Ranger school. His first duty assignment was in Germany as a platoon leader in the 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division.

In 1967-1969 he was assigned to the Republic of Viet Nam where he served as Assistant Chief of Staff, 1st Cavalry Division; Commander, 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry; and G-3,1st Infantry Division.

After service in Washington, D.C. where he served as Coordinator of Army Studies, in 1972 General Menetrey began a three year tour with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he served as Division G-3; Brigade Commander; Commander, Headquarters Command; and Assistant Division Commander.

General Menetrey was next assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea as Assistant Division Commander. In 1976, he was assigned to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas as Deputy Commander, Combined Arms Combat Development Activity.

In 1978, he assumed command of the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Carson, Colorado. In 1980, he went to Fort Hood, Texas where he was Commanding General, TRADOC Combined ArmsTest Agency and in 1981, to Washington D.C. where he was Director of Requirements for the Department of the Army.

In 1983, after promotion to Lieutenant General, it was back to Korea as Commanding General, Combined Field Army (ROK/US). Then, in 1985, he assumed command of the 5th United States Army at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

From 1987 through 1990, in his last active duty assignment, General Menetrey was the Commander in Chief of all forces in Korea, a Joint, Unified and Combined Command, which included United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, Commander U.S. Forces and Commander, Eighth United States Army, Korea. His duties as Commanding General, Eighth U.S. Army, made him only the second man in history to have commanded three different U.S. Armies. Eighth Army included the Trans-Korean pipeline and all the military oil shipping terminals and storage areas in Korea.

Among the awards and decorations received by General Menetrey are the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Distinguished Flying Cross (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Bronze Star Medal with V Device (with two Oak Leaf Clusters), 17 Air Medals, Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Army Distinguished Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Commendation Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Combat Infantryman Badge, Senior Parachute Badge, Air Assault Badge, Army General Staff Identification Badge and numerous state and foreign awards and decorations.

General Menetrey retired from active military duty in July of 1990 after 43 years of distinguished service to his country. He became a consultant and speaker on military and strategic matters to several large organizations, government and private. In 1991, he became President of Environmental Marketing Options, Inc., a Colorado firm that designed remedial solutions to mandated environmental laws and regulations. In 2000, he moved to Bluewater Bay in Niceville, Florida and resided there until his death on January 14,2009.

General Menetrey is survived by his wife, A. Jane Menetrey; his children: Linda Hammond, Susan (Jon) Riedel, Kathleen (Rick) Bifulco; and Louis R. (Lisa) Menetrey; his brother, Walter Menetrey, ten grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

Headquarters, US Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 237 (January 23, 1969)


The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Louis C. Menetrey (0-71395), Lieutenant Colonel (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2d Battalion, 28th Infantry, 3d Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.

Lieutenant Colonel Menetrey distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 1 April 1968 as a Battalion Commander during a reconnaissance-in-force mission northwest of Ben Cat. Learning that one man had become separated from the rest of the unit during an encounter between a small security element and the Viet Cong, Colonel Menetrey personally led a platoon into the hazardous area. He and his men located an enemy base camp and received intense fire. Once he had successfully rescued the missing soldier, he brought two additional companies into the battle.

Repeatedly exposing himself to the communists' barrage, Colonel Menetrey directed artillery, air strikes and maneuvers of his troops keeping the enemy entrapped and under constant pressure. With complete disregard for his own welfare, he moved to the forefront of the action and led repeated assaults on the enemy strongholds. On one occasion he assisted in moving a wounded tank commander to safety and then directed tank fire from an exposed position, killing several Viet Cong. After being knocked down by a claymore mine, he led a charge which eliminated the enemy troops who had detonated the device.

His aggressive and skillful leadership resulted in the severe defeat of the Viet Cong force. Lieutenant Colonel Menetrey's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 08/19/1929
  • DATE OF DEATH: 01/14/2009



  • DATE OF BIRTH: 01/02/1941
  • DATE OF DEATH: 05/04/1988


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 03/20/1929
  • DATE OF DEATH: 11/06/1978

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