Lawrence Vivians Greene – Brigadier General, United States Army

A Personal Tribute to a Friend of the 15 th Infantry Regiment
Contributed by Dave Adams, Editor, the Dragon, 15 th Infantry Regiment Association

I have learned of the passing of Brigadier General Lawrence V. Greene. General Greene passed away November 16, 2006 after a brief illness and from complications of Alzheimer’s in Atlantic Beach, Florda. On January 31, 2007, General Greene was interred at Arlington National Cemetery next to his first wife, Margaret (nee) Lindsey and their son, First Lieutenant Larry Greene, (who was killed in action in Vietnam) with full military honors.


Lawrence Vivians Greene, or “Laddie” as he was known to family and friends, was born on August 29, 1917 into a
military family and lived the life of your typical “Army Brat.”  He entered West Point in 1937 and was a graduate of the famous Class of ’41.

Commissioned in the Cavalry, he was assigned to the 1 st Armored Division. He participated in the landings in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and Southern France, ending the war in Germany. A First Lieutenant in 1942, he was a battalion commander in 1945 at the age of 27.

His Army career led he and his family from post war America to Korea, Germany, and, finally to Vietnam. Laddie retired as a Brigadier General on 1 August 1971 after completing more than thirty years of distinguished service.

His decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, 2 Legions of Merit, Bronze Star, and the Army Commendation Medal.

The most frequent of our distinguished visitors was always Brigadier General Greene. As he did with my other peers, he never addressed me as Lieutenant Adams. It was always “Dave” or “Davy Boy”. He’d buy me a beer and we’d talk about anything other than “shop.”

At one point in time, he heard that I got the proverbial “Dear John” letter from my fiancée back in the ‘States. He came down to Kitzingen, bought our usual Kulmbacher beer, and imparted some “footlocker counseling” to me on women in general. It was his way of saying that everything was going to be OK. the world hadn’t ended with a letter from Waycross, Georgia. That’s the kind of man he was.

To many of us, he was a father figure and became even more so after January 30, 1968. On that date, his only son, First Lieutenant Larry D. Greene, was killed-in-action near Phu Yen, South Vietnam while serving with the 173rd Airborne. All of us to a man felt the pain and sorrow that the General, his wife, and daughter Page carried in their hearts. In some way, we all felt our own mortality.

It seems that after the Greene’s returned from Arlington, the General became even closer to us. Maybe he saw Larry in each of our faces or, perhaps, he felt more protective of us. I don’t know and I don’t care. All I know is that he needed us and we were there for him as he had been for us.

I never saw Mrs. Greene smile much after that and I remember one night on the patio of the Officer’s Club when Page put her head on my shoulder and cried not only for her lost brother, but for her mother and father as well. But, life went for the Greene’s and for us. Some went to ‘Nam? some were discharged and returned to the Land of the Big PX.” Some
continued and made the Army a career. As for the General, he rose to the occasion as always and commanding the Armor Training Center at Fort Knox and serving his last assignment on active duty also in Vietnam as the J1 at the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV). During weekly briefings to the MACV commander, he sat next to his younger brother who had been his classmate at West Point. They were known at MACV as “Big Greene” and “Little Greene.”

Many years later, I began to search for the General, but could never find him? not until somehow his nephew, Michael, found out about my search and informed me of his passing. Sadly, too, I learned that Mrs. Greene passed away in 1984 and Page followed in 2002. My prayer is that Laddie, Margaret, Larry, and Page are now reunited as a family once again on the shimmering waves of grass on Fiddler’s Green.

General Greene was not only a fine commander, dedicated soldier, patriot, and Christian gentleman. He was a mentor, a father figure, and if I may be so bold, a friend. I shall miss him.

DATE OF BIRTH: 08/23/1917
DATE OF DEATH: 11/15/2006

DATE OF BIRTH: 03/09/1919
DATE OF DEATH: 08/14/1984

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