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Services for Melvin R. Laird, Distinguished Alumni of the Navy Supply Corps Foundation
Services for Distinguished Alumni Melvin R. Laird will be held this Friday,19 May 2017 at 1500 at Arlington National Cemetery. LTJG Laird will be honored by a ceremony at the Memorial Chapel followed by interment. If attending, strongly recommend being in place NLT 45 minutes before the ceremony. Directions, parking, and other information may be found at:
LTJG Melvin R. Laird is a former Navy Supply Corps Officer, WWII veteran, and awardee of The Purple Heart. He also served our nation as White House Domestic Advisor, Secretary of Defense, and Member of the House of Representatives from Wisconsin's Seventh District.
Melvin R. Laird graduated from Carleton College (MN) in 1942 and immediately enlisted in the Navy. He attended the Navy Supply Corps School at Wellesley College, MA in early 1944 - in the same class and company as Bruce Laingen. ENS Laird, assigned to the destroyer USS MADDOX (DD-731) as part of the Third Fleet, took part in five battles in the Pacific and was wounded twice. In 1946, while on shore duty in Cleveland, OH, Laird waged a successful campaign for the Wisconsin State Senate-filling the seat vacated by the death of his father. At the age of 23 he was the youngest state senator then in the U. S. Mr. Laird served in the Wisconsin State Senate from 1947 - 1952. While a member of the Senate, Mr. Laird attended the University of Wisconsin Law School and served as secretary-treasurer of the family-controlled Connor Builder Supply Company. In November 1952 Mr. Laird was elected to represent the 7th District of Wisconsin in the u.S. Congress. Mr. Laird was subsequently re-elected eight times. He served on the House Agricultural Committee, the House Appropriations Committee and the subcommittees on Defense; Health, Education, and Welfare; and Labor.
Mr. Laird resigned from Congress on January 21,1969 to become President Nixon's Secretary of Defense. Much of Laird's efforts as
Secretary of Defense were directed towards a resolution of the war in Vietnam and the Nixon administration's desire to "Vietnamize" the war
i.e. to replace American combatants with South Vietnamese troops. Melvin Laird resigned as Secretary of Defense at the end of Nixon's
first term in 1972. He returned to the White House five months later as a domestic advisor to President Nixon during the Watergate affair. After the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew in October, Laird was discussed as a possible successor. After his final departure from the Nixon administration at the end of 1973, Mr. Laird became a senior counselor for the Readers' Digest Association and served on the corporate directorships of several companies such as Metropolitan Life Insurance and Phillips Petroleum.
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