Colonel Leo J. Meyer (October 6, 1917- January 12, 2006)
In October 1937 Leo Meyer enlisted into Company ‘B’, 102nd Engineer Regiment, New York National Guard.
In October 1940 the 102nd Engineer Regiment, 27th Division, New York National Guard, was called to active federal service by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The division moved from New York to Fort McClellan, Alabama for training. During the next fourteen months the division participated in maneuver exercises in Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alabama. Meyer was assigned duties as ‘B' Company Clerk (Cpl) and Company Supply Sergeant (Sgt), 1st Battalion and Regimental Message Center Chief (S/Sgt), and Regimental Sergeant Major (M/Sgt).
Five weeks after his 24th birthday, in November 1941 Meyer reenlisted as a Regular Army Master Sergeant; two days after becoming the Regiment’s Sergeant Major. Twenty-four days later the United States entered into the Second World War. On 14 December 1941 the 27th Division was deployed to California and by early March to the Territory of Hawaii in the Pacific Theater of Operations.
From November 1941 to November 1942 Meyer served as 102nd Engineer Regimental Sergeant Major in Alabama and the re-designated 102nd Engineer (Combat) Battalion Sergeant Major in the Pacific Theater of Operations. In March 1943 he graduated from the U.S. Army Air Forces Officer Candidate School in Miami Beach, Florida. After commissioning, Lieutenant Meyer was assigned to the 26th College Training Detachment, Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio. He returned to New York City on a three day pass and married Veronica P. Lynch of Rego Park, New York, on May 9th, 1943. In May 1944 Meyer transferred to Childress Army Air Field, Texas. After several months involved with preparing air crewman to fight in the war, Meyer volunteered for the Infantry and was sent to Fort Benning for training. Later, during a cadre assignment at the Infantry Replacement Training Center, Camp Blanding, Florida, he volunteered for another combat zone tour. In June 1945 he was serving in Company ‘A’, 34th Infantry, 24th Infantry Division in the Philippines. During Operation Victor V on Mindanao, Meyer earned his first Combat Infantryman Badge, two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart.
In 1946 after serving in occupied Japan, Captain Meyer returned to civilian life. He reenlisted in the Organized Reserve Corps and by June 1947 he was back on active duty as a Regular Army Master Sergeant. While working as an instructor to the Organized Reserve Corps he received his high school GED and applied for the Regular Army Warrant Officer Program and simultaneously, reinstatement of his Army of the United States officer's commission. He received both and put the warrant acceptance in his hip pocket.
As an Infantry First Lieutenant he was assigned to the 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. He served in the 3rd Battalion 7th Infantry in Korea earning his second Combat Infantryman Badge and Purple Heart with Task Force Dog during the final 5 days of the battle of the Chosin Reservoir.
Post Korea assignments were as an advisor to the Massachusetts National Guard in Quincy, Massachusetts; Sub-area Staff Officer, Western Region, USAREUR in Bad Kreuznach, Germany; Operations Officer at the Army Disciplinary Barracks in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania; and Post Operations Staff Officer, Fort Dix, New Jersey.
In 1961 Major Meyer reached 20 years active federal service and mandatory retirement for reserve officers on the active duty list. He was not ready to hang up the uniform and pulled his Regular Army Warrant Officer acceptance letter from his hip pocket and reverted to Warrant Officer.
As a Warrant Officer he was assigned as an Intelligence Technician in Military Intelligence, Counter Intelligence Corps. From 1961 to 1968 Meyer served in the 1st US Army Support Group New York City, New York; 108th Intelligence Corps Group Camden, New Jersey; 401st Intelligence Corps Detachment Honolulu, Hawaii; and the 116th Military Intelligence Group Washington, D. C. In 1967 he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Military Science from the University of Maryland. In 1968 he volunteered again for service in a combat zone.
In 1968 Chief Warrant Officer 4 Meyer was assigned to Headquarters, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, in Nha Trang, Vietnam. In his 27th year in the active Army and at age 51, Meyer graduated from “jump school”, earning his jump wings and Green Beret. He earned his 3rd Combat Infantryman Badge for action during Operation Rooster II in the Rung Sat Special Zone with the 5th Mobile Strike Force B55. In March 1969, while in Vietnam, he was promoted to Colonel in the Army Reserve.
From 1969 to 1971 CWO4 Meyer was assigned in Washington, D.C. with the 116th Military Intelligence Group. In 1971, at the end of more than 33 years in an Army uniform, he retired as a Colonel.
In 1984 Leo Meyer was one of two hundred and thirty men awarded three Combat Infantryman Badges (CIB), honored by the US Army National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, Georgia. A monument at the museum is dedicated to all the men who are recipients of three Combat Infantryman Badges.
Colonel Meyer was inurned at Arlington National Cemetery in May 2006. At the time of his death he was survived by his wife of more than 62 years, two children and two grandchildren.
Colonel Meyer was posthumously inducted into the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame on March 27, 2009.
INDIVIDUAL AWARDS AND BADGES
Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) 3rd award
Bronze Star Medal 3rd award
Purple Heart 2nd award
Meritorious Service Medal
Joint Services Commendation Medal
Army Commendation Medal 3rd award
Navy Commendation Medal w/combat V
Good Conduct Medal
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/3Battle Stars
WWII Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal (Japan)
National Defense Service Medal 2nd award
Korean Service Medal w/4 Battle Stars
Vietnam Service Medal w/3 Battle Stars
Armed Forces Reserve Medal w/Silver Hour Glass (2nd award)
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry Medal w/Bronze Star
Philippine Liberation Ribbon w/Bronze Service Star
United Nations Service Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Republic of Korea War Service Medal
U.S. Parachutist Badge
Vietnamese Special Forces Parachutist Badge
Distinguished Unit Citation for the battle of SEGOK
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry w/Palm
Vietnam Civil Actions Medal 1st Class
MEYER, LEO J
COL US ARMY
DATE OF BIRTH: 10/06/1917
DATE OF DEATH: 01/12/2006
BURIED AT: SECTION 8-J ROW 9 SITE 2
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
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