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Major General Oliver W. Dillard.

Oliver W. Dillard enrolled at the Tuskegee Institute at age 15. The Army had just started the Tuskegee Airman Program and he proudly wore the uniform of an ROTC cadet. In 1945, Private Dillard was drafted, and he reported to Fort McClellan, Alabama, for basic training.

Dillard was sent to Bavaria to serve as an Administrative Specialist in the 349th Field Artillery Group. After completing Officer Candidate School in 1947, Second Lieutenant Dillard emerged as honor graduate of his Infantry Officers Basic Course.

Lieutenant Dillard was assigned to the all-Black 365th Infantry Regiment at Fort Dix, New Jersey, as platoon leader and battalion operations officer. In 1950, he was assigned to the 24th Infantry Regiment, one of the famous Buffalo Soldier units, in Japan. Half way into the voyage from San Francisco to Japan, North Korea invaded South Korea, and America was at war. Lieutenant Dillard immediately headed to Pusan, South Korea with the 24th Infantry Regiment where he served as the Intelligence Officer for 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division.

In 1954, Captain Dillard returned to Germany with the 4th Infantry Division, this time as company commander, and later as the Regimental Communications Officer. In 1957, Major Dillard attended Command and General Staff College, one of only three Black officers in his class.

In 1960, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission, and later as the Operations Officer, to the U.S. Military Mission in Monrovia, Liberia. Leveraging his Korea, Germany, and Africa experiences, the Army assigned Dillard to the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (ACSI) to lead the Foreign Intelligence Assistance Section, Special Warfare and Foreign Assistance Branch in Washington, D.C. from 1962 to 1964.

In 1964, Lieutenant Colonel Dillard became the first Black officer to attend the National War College. In 1966, he was selected to command the 2nd Battalion, 5th Combat Support Training Brigade. The following year, he assumed command of the Brigade, and was promoted to colonel in 1969.

Colonel Dillard served with U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV), as a Province Senior Advisor for Kontum Province. After two years of distinguished service, Dillard returned to Washington, D.C., as the Deputy ACSI, the first Black officer in this position. He was promoted to Brigadier General, only the fifth Black general in Army history and arguably the first Black general officer serving in Military Intelligence. BG Dillard returned to Saigon for duty as MACV Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, Civil Operations and Rural Development Support, the precursor to the counterinsurgency program used in Iraq. Following the signing of the Paris Peace Accords, he left Vietnam when MACV disbanded.


BG Dillard served as the first Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence (DCSINT) for the new U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort McPherson, Georgia. In 1974, he served as the 2nd Armored Division's Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver at Fort Hood, Texas, where he worked diligently for operations and intelligence integration. From 1975 through 1978, Dillard served as the DCSINT, U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army in Heidelberg, Germany. His use of U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command assets ensured a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding and countering Soviet forces at the height of the Cold War. As his final assignment, Dillard served as the Commanding General, U.S. Army Readiness Region II at Fort Dix until 1980, when he retired.

Major General Dillard worked himself up from private in a segregated Army during World War II to Major General in an all-volunteer Army, defending America for almost 35 years. MG Dillard's awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster; the Silver Star; the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters; Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster; Air Medal; the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster; the Purple Heart; the Good Conduct Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge. General Dillard and his wife, Helen, live in Florida and are the proud parents of four children.
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Title Annotation:The Military Intelligence Corps 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees
Publication:Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin
Date:Jul 1, 2012
Previous Article:Colonel Joseph M. Blair III.
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