Waldo E. Laidlaw – Major General, United States Army

Major General Waldo E. Laidlaw, 5th Commander of White Sands Proving Ground/Missile Range, was born on 20 September 1903. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, he began his military career in 1920 while at Hughes High School, serving with the 147th Infantry of the Ohio National Guard. He entered West Point in 1922, and upon graduation, in 1926, was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry.


In 1931, after serving five years as an Infantry Officer in the 10th and 31st Infantry Divisions, at Fort Thomas, Kentucky, and in the Philippines, General Laidlaw transferred to the Ordnance Corps. He received special schooling in Ordnance subjects at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in mechanical engineering in 1931) and in June of that year, was promoted to First Lieutenant.

From 1931 until 1937, General Laidlaw was stationed at Picatinny Arsenal, where his duties involved the development and manufacture of ammunition. In June 1936, he was promoted to Captain.

From 1937 to 1939, General Laidlaw served with the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Bliss, Texas, and in the Office of the Chief of Ordnance. His duties during this period mainly concerned troop training and organization. From June 1939, to July 1942, he was first Assistant Chief and then Chief of Military Organizations and Publications Division, Office of the Chief of Ordnance. He was promoted to Major in February 1941, and to Lieutenant Colonel in February 1942.

General Laidlaw was Ordnance Officer of the Overseas Supply Division of the New York Port of Embarkation from July 1942 to July 1945. There he directed the shipment of all ordnance material to the European and Mediterranean Theaters. He was promoted to Colonel in October 1942.

In July 1945, General Laidlaw was assigned similar duties in Connection with the war in the Far East. Until December 1945, he served as Overseas Supply Division Officer at the San Francisco Port of Embarkation. He was then transferred to the European Command at Bad Nauheim, Germany, where he served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Logistics. He returned to the United States in July 1947.

From September 1947 to June 1951, General Laidlaw served as Chief of the Ordnance Section, Fourth Army Headquarters, Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He then served one year at The Ordnance School, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, first as Assistant Commandant and then as Commandant. During this time, he was promoted to Brigadier General (April 1952) and also served as Deputy Maneuver Director of LOGEX-52, the Army’s annual logistical exercise held at Camp Pickett, Virginia.

In July 1952, General Laidlaw was assigned as Deputy Commanding General of the Ordnance Ammunition Center at Joilet, Illinois. He assumed the command two months later, and remained there for nearly two years. In June 1954, he was transferred to the Caribbean Command, where he served as Chief of Staff to Major General Lionel C. McGarr, Commanding General of all Army forces in the Caribbean, and as Assistant Division Commander, 23rd Infantry Division (26 June 1954 – February 1956). Laidlaw was promoted to Major General, on 21 December 1955.

General Laidlaw took command of White Sands Missile Range in February 1956. One of the most vital projects begun at White Sands Missile Range under General Laidlaw’s command was the preparation for and testing of the NIKE ZEUS anti-missile-missile; the only anti-ICBM weapon being developed in the Free World at that time.

General Laidlaw retired from active service on 30 June 1960 after 40 years military service.

General Laidlaw died on 3 Oct 1987.


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 02/09/1907
  • DATE OF DEATH: 06/09/1969

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