WILLIS DALE CRITTENBERGER, JR. Major General, U.S. Army (Ret.) West Point, 1942: The Long Grey Line Welcomes Another Soldier and Patriot! MG Willis Dale Crittenberger, Jr. "Crit" died peacefully August 26, 2014 at 95. Pre-deceased by his beloved wife Kitty (Katharine Clayton Crittenberger), and son of LTG Willis Dale Crittenberger, Sr. and Josephine Frost Woodhull Crittenberger, he was born in 1919 in Baltimore, Maryland. Crit spent a lifetime in the military, first as an Army brat, then as a West Pointer and officer for 40 years. Crit fought for his country and its freedom in three wars, making sacrifices for "Duty, Honor, Country." He served in Germany during WWII and lost two brothers to the ravages of WWII and Vietnam. Among the best of "The Greatest Generation," he faced enemies with the fortitude to win, and embraced friends with the warmth of the gentleman he was. Crit met his beloved Katharine Clayton ("Kitty") in Heidelberg, Germany after WWII, and their nine day whirlwind romance began their 64-years of companionship and adoration for one another. This journey spanned the U.S. and several continents. They retired to McLean, Virginia where they spent 36 years before moving to Knollwood in Washington, D.C. in 2006. Bastogne's Battle of Bulge launched Crit's distinguished career, where he assumed command of the 420th Armored Field Artillery Battalion's Battery C on Christmas Eve. He was quickly promoted to Lt. Col. "By Order of General Patton," who also awarded him a Legion of Merit. A military aide to President Truman and later to Secretary of the Army Kenneth Royall, Crit's later postings abroad included Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Germany and Austria. Of note, he commanded the II Field Force Vietnam Artillery. Pentagon postings included Chief of Army War Plans Division and Director of Army Strategic Plans and Policy. On the Joint Staff as the International Negotiations Deputy, he later served as Vice J-5 and on the U.S. MBFR Delegation in Vienna, Austria as the Chairman's Representative. Two German tours included postings as Chief of Plans and Operations for NATO's Central Army Group and Director of Plans and Operations for U.S. Army Europe. He was also Assistant Division Commander of the 2nd Armored Division, at Ft. Hood, Texas and capped his career at the Defense Intelligence Agency as Deputy Director for Attaches and Human Intelligence, and as the Agency's Chief of Staff. After retirement, Crit engaged in a wide range of activities, including serving as the VP of an Indiana Newspaper Corporation, and activities drawing on his military experience such as the Executive Director of Military Colleges and Schools, the National Defense Advisor to the DAR, the VP of the National War College Alumni Association, a VP of the National Association of the Uniformed Services, and a Director of the Army and Navy Club. A three times Class Trustee on the AOG, he was also an officer at local, state, and national levels in several patriotic and genealogical societies, and a member of others. As Vice Chair, he successfully campaigned to fund and place a monument to the Armored Forces outside Arlington National Cemetery gates. Among Crit's many honors were the Army Distinguished Service Medal, five awards of the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars for Valor, one Bronze Star for Merit, four Air Medals, the Army Commendation Medal and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Commendation Medal. He proudly wore the French and Belgian Croix de Guerre medals, and several South Korean awards including their Presidential Unit Citation. His II Field Force Vietnam Artillery received the U.S. Meritorious Unit Award; Crit received South Vietnamese awards including their Cross of Gallantry. An early recipient of the Army's General Staff Identification Badge and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Badge, Crit was especially proud of his WWII 420th Armored Field Artillery Battalion when awarded the U.S. Distinguished Unit Award with streamer marked BASTOGNE. He leaves behind three daughters and their families - Katharine Clayton Crittenberger; Virginia Crittenberger Albright, her husband the Honorable Clarence H. "Bud" Albright, Jr. and their children Tripp and Caroline; and Jacqueline Crittenberger Gay and her sons Harper, Frost, and Coleman. He is also survived by his brother-in-law Phil Clayton and his wife Sandy, many accomplished nieces, nephews, their families, and dear friends. Crit was proud of his five grandchildren with whom he shared his interests in life, the value of family, friends, and respect for "Duty, Honor, and Country." On September 20 a memorial service will be held at Knollwood,6200 Oregon Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC, at 1 p.m., followed later with a service at Ft. Myer and interment at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. There, he will join the company of ten family members. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions are made to either the Fisher House Foundation (support for military families), 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420, Rockville, MD 20850 or Capital Caring (hospice), Resource Development Department, 2900 Telestar Court, Falls Church, VA 22012. On September 20a memorial service will be held at Knollwood, 6200 Oregon Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC, at 1 p.m., followed later with a service at Ft. Myer and interment at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. There, he will join the company of ten family members. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions are made to either the Fisher House Foundation (support for military families), 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420, Rockville, MD 20850 or Capital Caring (hospice), Resource Development Department, 2900 Telestar Court, Falls Church, VA 22012.
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