Richard M. Lee – Major General, United States Army

Major General Richard M. Lee, 94, who commanded the Old Guard, the oldest Infantry Regiment in the U.S Army, at Fort Myer, Virginia, from 1960 to 1962, died November 24, 2011, at his residence in Washington, D.C. of congestive heart failure.


Born in 1917 in Moscow, Idaho to Judge William E. Lee and Madeline Shields Lee, General Lee moved to Washington, D,C, in 1929. He graduated from the University of Maryland in 1940 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in pre law. Upon graduation he entered Harvard Law School. After a year and a half in law school, World War II began, and he was ordered to duty in the Army as a Second Lieutenant of infantry.

His World War II service included assignments with the 9th and 89th Infantry Divisions. After the war he served with the 83rd Infantry Division and Headquarters of U.S. Forces in Austria.

After his return to the United States in 1948, General Lee was assigned as the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment.

In September 1949, MG Lee entered the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He graduated in 1951 with a Master's degree in Public Affairs. Following a tour on the Army General Staff from 1951 to 1954, he was assigned as Battalion Commander, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment in Japan.

In July 1955, he was named aide-de-camp to General Lyman Lemnitzer, Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Forces in the Far East. Completing that assignment in 1957, he returned to the United States to attend the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. Upon graduation from the War College, he served in the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army until 1960, when he was selected to serve as the fiftieth commander of the First Battle Group, 3rd Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).

In 1962, MG Lee was assigned as the Operations and Planning officer of the U.S. Corps (Group) in the Republic of Korea. In 1964, he was again assigned to the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army, this time as Deputy Secretary of the General Staff for Action Control. In 1966, he was assigned as Deputy Senior Military Advisor to the Commanding General, Republic of Vietnam II Corps. Completing that assignment in July 1967, Gen. Lee returned to Washington, where he served as Director of Plans and Programs for Military Assistance in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. In January 1971, he returned to the Far East as Chief of Staff, U.S. Forces in Japan.

In June 1972, General Lee became the eighth Army Officer to serve as Deputy Commandant of the National War College. He retired from the Army on September 1, 1974.

After retiring from the Army, MG Lee joined the American Enterprise Institute. He authored two books about the Civil War, “Mr. Lincoln's City,” and “General Lee's City.” He was a member of the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C., a Founding Member of the National Museum of the U.S. Army, and a member of the American Legion.

General Lee is survived by his wife, Marianne C. Lee of Washington, D.C., two daughters from his first marriage, Susan C. Lee and Katherine Serk (Michael), both of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a brother, Judge William S. Lee of Laguna Beach, California. His first wife, Helen C. Lee, died in March 1983.

A memorial service will be held on December 13, 2011 at 2 p.m. in the Knollwood Memorial Chapel at 6200 Nebraska Avenue NW, Washington D.C. A reception will follow in the Gold Room at 3 p.m. A funeral service with full military honors will be held on February 27, 2012 at 1 p.m. at Arlington National Cemetery, in the Old Post Chapel. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, that contributions be made to: the Knollwood Memorial Chapel, 6200 Oregon Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20015.

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