Zais, Melvin, GEN

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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
00G3-Army General Officer (G3)
Last MOS Group
General Officer
Primary Unit
1973-1973, Allied Land Forces Southern Europe (LANDSOUTH)
Service Years
1937 - 1973



Ten Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Zais, Melvin, GEN USA(Ret).
Contact Info
Home Town
Fall River
Last Address
Beaufort, SC

Date of Passing
May 07, 1981
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Sec 1 Grave 150-F

 Official Badges 

Joint Chiefs of Staff US European Command Allied Forces Central US Army Retired

Army Staff Identification Belgian Fourragere Infantry Shoulder Cord US Army Retired (Pre-2007)

Meritorious Unit Commendation 1944-1961

 Unofficial Badges 

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Place of birth Fall River, Massachusetts
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1937-1973
Rank General
Commands held 1st Infantry Division
101st Airborne Division
XXIV Corps
Third Army
Battles/wars World War II
Vietnam War

General Melvin Zais (May 8, 1916, in Fall River, Massachusetts - May 7, 1981) was a United States Army general.

General Zais attended the University of New Hampshire and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science. In 1937 he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve. He attended the U.S. Command and General Staff College, and was also a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College, and the National War College. He was promoted to Brigadier General, June 1, 1964; Major General, May 1, 1967; and Lieutenant General, August 1, 1969.He was named Commanding General, Allied Land Forces, Southeast Europe, Turkey, effective August 1973 following his promotion to General on July 13th the month prior.

He was a veteran of World War II and Vietnam War. His assignments included Commander, 1st Infantry Division, United States Army, Vietnam, 1966; Director of Individual Training, Office, Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, U.S. Army, Washington, D.C., 1966-68; Commanding General, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile), U.S. Army, Vietnam, 1968-69; Commanding General, XXIV Corps, U.S. Army, Vietnam, 1969-70; Director for Operations, J-3, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C., 1970-72; Commanding General, Third Army, 1972-73.

Personal Story - Submitted by: FA Hudson, Ronald (MajHud), MAJ
I was at LZ Nancy on April 13, 1970, when that base was overrun by NVA. I was attached to HHB 1st/39th FA, 108th Artillery Group. In the morning after the attack and after we had killed or captured any Sappers remaining in our area, I was near the Bn. CP when the Generals helicopter came in with the big blue heart on its side. There were several of us near the Aid Station when Gen. Zais walked over to us and as we rose to told us to sit down. He asked how we were and did anyone have any needs. A courageous troop said we hadn't seen a PX in months. He said he would see what he could do. That afternoon a Ch47 flew in and a group of starched rear type troops piled out. They set up a perimeter and a cash register and we went through the line buying everything they had! He was my hero that day. Our battalion was awarded the Valorous Unit Citation for that action. I hope this info is of some interest. Ronald L. Hudson


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General Melvin Zais, a native of Fall River, Massachusetts, graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1937 with a Bachelor of Art in Political Science. He began his military career after graduation as a U.S. Army Reserve Second Lieutenant.

He was recalled to active duty in 1940 after a year in civilian life and served at Fort Benning, Georgia where he volunteered for the original paratroop battalion in the Army, the 501st Parachute Infantry Battalion.

After graduation from the Command and General Staff College in 1943, General Zais organized and trained the 3rd Battalion, 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment and led them into combat in Italy and France. Service as Regimental Executive Officer during combat in Belgium and Germany was followed by command of the Regiment upon its return to Fort Bragg.

General Zais was selected as Brigadier General on June 1, 1964. Between 1964 and 1966, he became Deputy Commanding General, Field Force and Assistant Division Commander of the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam. His second tour in Vietnam was served as Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division and XXIV Corps during the period of July 1968 to June 1970. He assumed command of the Third United States Army at Fort McPherson, Georgia in June 1972 which position he held until June 1973. He was named Commanding General, Allied Land Forces, Southeast Europe, Turkey, effective August 1973 following his promotion to General on July 13th the month prior.

His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal on five occasions; the Silver Star twice; the Legion of Merit four times; the Distinguished Flying Cross twice; the Bronze Star Medal; the Joint Service Commendation Medal; the Army Commendation Medal twice; the Purple Heart; and numerous foreign awards and honors.

General Zais had two sons with Marjorie Aileen Emert Zais, Barrie E. and Mitchell M. Zais both of whom are officers in the United States Army. Marjorie Zais passed away and General Zais subsequently married Patricia V. Light at Fort Myer, Virginia, becoming the stepfather of David R. and John P. Light.

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   1968-1969, 101st Airborne Division

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 101st Airborne Division Details

101st Airborne Division
In 1974, the 101st Airborne was reorganized as an air assault division.
Command Element
Parent Unit
Infantry Divisions
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Last Updated: Dec 21, 2008
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1733 Members Also There at Same Time
101st Airborne Division

Barsanti, Olinto Mark, MG, (1940-1971) Major General
Abood, Edmond Peter, COL, (1944-1981) Lieutenant Colonel
Beckwith, Charles Alvin, COL, (1952-1981) Lieutenant Colonel
Herndon, Arthur Robert, CPT, (1957-1969) Captain
Holland, Joseph Phillip, CPT, (1964-1968) Captain
Jenkins, Kenneth Bruce, CPT, (1966-1968) Captain
McGaha, Harold Furman, CPT, (1958-1968) Captain
Pape, John Charles, CPT, (1962-1969) Captain
Snell, Robert Michael, CPT, (1966-1969) Captain
Wisdom, Jesse Allan, CPT, (1965-1970) Captain
Woodside, Michael Lee, CPT, (1963-1969) Captain
Clough, Tony, 1LT, (1968-1970) First Lieutenant
Conkle, Joe Thomas, 1LT, (1967-1969) First Lieutenant
Darling, John Edward, 1LT, (1968-1970) First Lieutenant
Dimock, James Albert, 1LT, (1967-1969) First Lieutenant
Driver, John Cecil, 1LT, (1965-1969) First Lieutenant
Eutsler, Johnny Neil, 1LT, (1966-1969) First Lieutenant
Fletcher, Lawrence Eugene, 1LT, (1968-1970) First Lieutenant
Frick, Edsall A., 1LT, (1966-1968) First Lieutenant
Jenks, James Joseph, 1LT, (1966-1968) First Lieutenant
Johnson, Phil David, 1LT, (1967-1969) First Lieutenant
Kalsu, James Robert, 1LT, (1968-1970) First Lieutenant
King, Bruce Thomas, 1LT, (1967-1969) First Lieutenant
McClain, Wilofard A., 1LT, (1959-1969) First Lieutenant
Meiggs, Richard Ray, 1LT, (1966-1968) First Lieutenant
Palm, Terry Alan, 1LT, (1968-1970) First Lieutenant
Pelzmann, Gerald F., 1LT, (1966-1968) First Lieutenant
Ruth, Terry Austin, 1LT, (1966-1968) First Lieutenant
Shields, Russell Allen, 1LT, (1968-1970) First Lieutenant
Traylor, Marthell, 1LT, (1967-1968) First Lieutenant
Willeford, Jimmy Wayne, 1LT, (1967-1969) First Lieutenant
Hall, Warren Stuart, 2LT, (1969-1970) Second Lieutenant
Kenney, Joseph Hayden, 2LT, (1964-1969) Second Lieutenant
Saunders, Bruce, 2LT, (1968-1969) Second Lieutenant
Stetter, Ronald Thomas, 2LT, (1966-1968) Second Lieutenant
Tolette, Richard Ross, 2LT, (1967-1968) Second Lieutenant
Walkabout, Billy Bob, 2LT, (1967-1970) Second Lieutenant
Yarbrough, Dan Burgess, 2LT, (1967-1969) Second Lieutenant
Gollem, Dave, CW4, (1957-1982) Chief Warrant Officer 2
Hickman, David Allen, CW2, (1967-1969) Chief Warrant Officer 2
Pfordt, Charles Christian, CW2, (1965-1969) Chief Warrant Officer 2
Schoepke, Anton John, CW2, (1968-1970) Chief Warrant Officer 2
Dunaway, George (Soldier's So, SMA, (1943-1970) Command Sergeant Major
Haugen, Alan Robert, 1SG, (1953-1968) First Sergeant
Ross, Phillip Keith "Top", 1SG, (1954-1968) First Sergeant
Button, Howard Earl, SFC, (1951-1968) Sergeant First Class
Dian, Don Faurot, MSG, (1948-1968) Sergeant First Class
Fordham, Russell Carrell, SFC, (1955-1969) Sergeant First Class
Holeyfield, Robert Erie, SFC, (1952-1968) Sergeant First Class
Mora, Ramiro Michael, SFC, (1954-1968) Sergeant First Class
Galbreath, Terrell Robert, SSG, (1968-1970) Staff Sergeant
Haugh, James Curtis, SSG, (1959-1968) Staff Sergeant
Pryor, Melvin Sr., SFC, (1956-1968) Staff Sergeant
Sims, Clifford Chester, SSG, (1961-1968) Staff Sergeant
Book, Randy, 1SG, (1968-1994) Sergeant
Cervantes, Gerald, SGT, (1966-1968) Sergeant
De Vore, Craig Jesse, SGT, (1966-1968) Sergeant
Diehl, Stanley Gene, SSG, (1968-1970) Sergeant
Grimmett, Jon Leslie, SGT, (1966-1968) Sergeant

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