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Passing of General John. W Vessey


Dear friends of Minnesotan’s Military Appreciation Fund,

We are deeply saddened by the loss of General (Ret.) John W. Vessey Jr. (June 29, 1922 – August 18, 2016). General Vessey and MMAF founder Gene Sit were close friends for many years, united in their love for this country and equally passionate about recognizing the sacrifices our men and women in uniform make every day for our country. When Gene first had the idea to start MMAF, the first person he called was General Vessey and we are grateful for his longtime support of the organization.

General Vessey epitomized everything good about being a military general, successful leader and patriotic American. His entire life was one of service and leadership and everyone who knew him benefitted from that relationship.

Born in Minneapolis and a proud member of the Minnesota National Guard at age 16, General John W. Vessey was the longest serving active service member in U.S. history and the only soldier to attain every rank the Army had to offer.

In 1944, then-First Sergeant Vessey earned a battlefield promotion to Second Lieutenant for his tenacity and valor during the Battle of Anzio, which succeeded in toppling fascist Italy and paved the way for Allied victory in World War Two. Later, during the Vietnam War, then-Lieutenant Colonel Vessey earned the Distinguished Service Cross for his leadership in defense of a fire support base during Operation Junction City.

In 1982, General Vessey became the tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Reagan, and later championed the search for prisoners of war and service members listed as missing-in-action as a special emissary to Vietnam for the Clinton Administration.

Further reading about Gen. Vessey can be found here:



KSTP TV coverage of General Vessey's passing. 

General Vessey will be dearly missed, but his patriotism will live on through Minnesotans’ Military Appreciation Fund.