Vessey, Last Head of Joint Chiefs to Fight in WWII, Retires

Associated Press

Gen. John W. Vessey Jr., an infantryman who won a battlefield commission in 1944 and went on to become the nation's top-ranking officer, retired Monday as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with personal Vessey ended his 46-year career by receiving his second Defense Distinguished Service Medal during a ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base, which was attended by Reagan, the nation's military leaders and guests from around the world.

Vessey, 63, is the last chairman of the joint chiefs to have fought in World War II. His successor, Adm. William J. Crowe Jr., was commissioned an officer in 1946, just after World War II ended.

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