Leon L. Van Autreve
4th Sergeant Major of the Army
Leon L. Van Autreve, the fourth sergeant major of the Army, was sworn in on July 1, 1973, and served until his term ended in June of 1975. He was born in Eeklo, Belgium, on Jan. 29, 1920.
He entered the Army in August 1941 from Delphos, Ohio. After basic training at Fort Belvoir, he served overseas with the 9th Infantry Division and participated in the invasion of Port Lyautey, Africa. He was discharged in August 1945 and enlisted again in March 1948. After a tour in Germany from 1950 to 1954, he served as an instructor with the ROTC at the University of Toledo until 1958. From ROTC duty he was assigned to CONRAC Armor Board at Fort Knox, Ky., remaining there until reassignment to Korea in 1960. Upon completion of his tour in Korea, Van Autreve returned to Fort Belvoir and was promoted to sergeant major in 1962. He served as sergeant major of the 91st Engineer Battalion from 1962 until 1963.
From 1963 to 1964, Van Autreve was stationed in Indonesia; from 1964 to 1967 he was in Germany as sergeant major, 317th Engineer Battalion, and 1967 to 1969 in Vietnam as sergeant major of the 20th Engineer Brigade. In July 1969 he was selected for assignment to Alaska as the command sergeant major, where he remained until he was selected as the sergeant major of the Army.
Van Autreve has attended George Washington University, University of Toledo, University of Maryland and Alaska Methodist University, and has been a member of Phi Alpha Theta.
Van Autreve awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with Two Oak Leaf Clusters), Soldier's Medal, Bronze Star Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Commendation Medal (with Oak Leaf Clusters), Air Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Campaign Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and Parachute Badge.