General Maxwell R Thurman (1931-1995)

Thurman received a bachelor degree in chemical engineering from NC State University and was commissioned as a 2nd Lt., Field Artillery, through the ROTC program. During his Army career he held a variety of prestigious positions.

His combat duty included serving with the 11th Airborne Division during the 1958 Lebanon crisis, and two tours in Vietnam where he commanded the 2nd Battalion, 35th Field Artillery, during the Tet offensive. He also commanded the 82nd Airborne Division Artillery and light artillery and rocket units in Europe. As Commanding General, US Army Recruiting Command in 1979, he reversed a negative post-Vietnam impression of the Army and with the slogan “Be all you can be”, he attracted a new generation of high quality recruits. This, and his role as the Army’s Vice Chief of Staff from 1983 to 1987, along with his role of Commanding General, US Army Training and Doctrine Command, helped shape the post Vietnam Army and transform it into the high quality, ready to fight force of today.

Before retiring from the Army in 1991, as Chief, US Southern Command in Panama, he derived the plan and commanded the forces of “Operation Just Cause”, successfully invading Panama and ousting strong-man Manuel Noriega.

"My brother coined the phrase 'Be all you can be' for recruitment for the volunteer army. He would have exhorted the same sentiment for the researchers supported by Thurman-Zumwalt Foundation." - Lt General J Roy Thurman, US Army (ret.)




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