By Mr. Eric AtkissonApril 15, 2008
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas - Former U.S. Army South commander Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Lawson Magruder III will be inducted into the Army Ranger Hall of Fame this summer, in recognition of "an exemplary 32-year career that left a lasting mark of Ranger excellence in every assignment and at every level of command" according to the official citation.
Magruder's impressive career began in 1969 as a Distinguished Military Graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, followed by combat service in Vietnam as an infantry rifle platoon leader and later as a company commander in the 82nd Airborne.
A 1974 honor graduate of Ranger School, Magruder was hand-selected to be the first commander of Company B, 2nd Battalion (Rangers), 75th Infantry in 1975. During his command, Magruder built the company from the ground up and developed the tactical, airborne, cold-weather and administrative procedures that became the battalion standard for years to come. His company's first-time-pass rate at Ranger School was the highest in the battalion.
Later in his career, Magruder incorporated his experience as a Ranger company commander into the tactics curriculum of the U.S. Army Infantry School, fielded "Best Ranger" teams from the 25th Infantry Division and 10th Mountain Division, and integrated Ranger tactics, techniques and procedures into the training of light infantry and airborne units at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La and the Jungle Operations Training Center in Panama.
As a general officer he commanded Combined Joint Task Force Kismayo in Somalia, the Joint Readiness Training Center, U.S. Army South and Joint Task Force Panama, and the 10th Mountain Division (Light). He concluded his career in 2001 as the deputy commander and chief of staff of U.S. Army Forces Command, the Army's largest command.
His military awards include two Distinguished Service Medals, the Defense Superior Service Medal, four Legion of Merits, two Bronze Star Medals, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Ranger Tab, the Master Parachutist Badge and the highest peacetime awards from the countries of El Salvador, Colombia, Belize and Argentina.
Since retiring, Magruder has served as a vice president for Battelle Memorial Institute and as the executive director for the University of Texas at San Antonio's Institute for the Protection of American Communities. He has been active in building business opportunities in San Antonio and the Southwest region and has coached senior leaders in the North American construction industry, the commander and staff of U.S. Army North, students of the Army's Command and General Staff College, and National Guard battalion and brigade commanders preparing for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Most recently, he helped form a leader-development group called True Growth Associates.
"I can't think of anyone more deserving of this great honor than Gen. Magruder," said Maj. Gen. Keith M. Huber, the current commander of U.S. Army South. "In everything he's done, both during his Army career and afterward, he's proven himself to be a true leader of the highest caliber and an inspiration to others."
The formal ceremony for induction into the Ranger Hall of Fame will be held June 11 at Fort Benning, Ga. Previous inductees include famous statesmen like President Abraham Lincoln and Gen. Colin Powell, Medal of Honor recipients like Sgt. 1st Class Randall Shughart and Master Sgt. Gary Gordon, and honorary inductees like actor Tom Hanks.