- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 14, 2004

William B. Rosson, 86, retired Army general

SALEM, Va. (AP) — William B. Rosson, a retired four-star Army general and a former board member of the National D-Day Memorial Foundation, died of a heart attack Dec. 12. He was 86.

Gen. Rosson, whose military honors spanned World War II to the Vietnam War, suffered a heart attack at his home in Salem, said his widow, Bertha Mitchell Rosson.

An Iowa native, Gen. Rosson grew up in Oregon. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 1940 and later received a master’s degree in international relations from Oxford University.

He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army and fought in 10 campaigns in North Africa and Europe in World War II. He received the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second-highest decoration for valor, and rose to lieutenant colonel by the war’s end.

He later served on the Army General Staff at the Pentagon, in Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s NATO headquarters in Paris and on the staff of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

In the Vietnam War, Gen. Rosson served a tour as Gen. William Westmoreland’s chief of staff.

He retired in 1975 as commander in chief of the U.S. Southern Command in the Panama Canal Zone.

Gen. Rosson’s many awards included the Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, a Purple Heart and the Doughboy Award, the infantry’s highest award.

He retired to Florida, but later moved to Salem when he married Bertha Mitchell.

Mike Shelton, former mayor of Bedford, where the D-Day Memorial is located, credited Gen. Rosson’s vision in helping to create the memorial.

“I think a lot of what you see in the memorial is a direct reflection of General Rosson,” he said. “He’s got a deep, deep imprint in that memorial.”

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