Vinson, Carl

1974 TLS from the retired Georgia US Rep, longtime chair of the House Armed Services Committee, unable to participate in an Army War College oral history program

Price: $15.00

Description:
(1883-1981) Georgia US Rep (D) 1914-65, "The Father of the Two-Ocean Navy”, youngest member of Congress (30) when he sworn in on Nov. 3, 1914. In the House, Vinson was a champion for national defense and especially the Navy and Marine Corps. He joined the House Naval Affairs Committee after WW I, becoming ranking Democratic member in the early 20s, the only Democrat appointed to the Morrow Board, which reviewed the status of US aviation in the mid-20s. In 1931, Vinson became chairman of the House Naval Affairs Committee. In 1934, he helped push the Vinson–Trammell Act authorizing replacement of obsolete vessels and a gradual increase of ships within the limits of the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty and the 1930 London Naval Treaty. He was primarily responsible for additional naval expansion legislation, the Naval Act of 1938 (“2nd Vinson Act”), the 3rd Vinson Act of 1940, and the Two-Ocean Navy Act of 1940. These programs helped the Navy as the US entered WW II, as new ships matched Japan’s latest ships. After WW II, the House Naval Affairs Committee merged with the Military Affairs Committee to become the House Armed Services Committee (mirroring the creation of the Dept. of Defense). With the GOP winning control of Congress in the 1946 election, Vinson served as ranking minority member for 2 years before becoming Chairman in early 1949. He was Chairman, except for another 2-year GOP interregnum in the early 50s, until his 1965 retirement. As Chairman, he adopted the "Vinson rule" which limited the number of questions a junior member of the committee could ask to 1/year of committee service. As chairman, Vinson oversaw Cold War modernization of the military and was chairman when Congress authorized procurement of the 1st nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in the late 50s. A staunch segregationist, he signed “the Southern Manifesto” opposing integration in 1956. He retired from Congress in January 1965. His grandnephew, Sam Nunn, served as Georgia US Senator for 24+ years. At his death, he was the last living member of the House who was serving at the time of the US declaration of war against Germany in 1917. A nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was named the USS Carl Vinson, whose launching Vinson attended on March 15, 1980, at 96. Vinson Massif, Antarctica's highest mountain, is named after him, also Mount Vinson and Vinson Plateau. He was awarded the prestigious Sylvanus Thayer Award at West Point and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Special Distinction in 1964. TLS on his10 x 8 ½ personal letterhead, Milledgeville, Ga., October 7 1974, to Major General DeWitt C. Smith Jr., Commandant, Army War College. Vinson deeply regrets that his health is such that it is impossible for him to participate in the Senior Office Oral History Program, but appreciates the high honor of being invited. DeWITT C. SMITH,JR. (1920 -1985) US Army officer, former deputy Army Chief of Staff, twice (and longest-serving) Army War College commandant 1974 -77, 1978-80. In 1942, he joined the Army, commissioned a 2nd lieutenant, served with the 4th Armored Div. in combat after Normandy to the end of the War. Wounded 3 times, he was awarded the Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars, and 3 Purple Hearts. Discharged 1946, he returned to active duty in Korea and stayed in the military. He was an aide to Chief of Staff Maxwell Taylor, served in the "Old Guard" at Fort Myer, and was a battalion XO and commander in Germany. He served at the Pentagon before going to the Army War College. He led a combat brigade of the 1st Infantry in Vietnam. In 1970, under his leadership, Fort Carson, Colo. was made an initial test site for the modern volunteer Army concept. After his stints at the War College, he retired in 1980.

Condition: Very good, some binder knocks at right edge
Type:Letter






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