Abrams, Creighton W., Jr.

Abrams, Creighton W. (Williams), Jr.

(1914–74) soldier; born in Springfield, Mass. The son of a railroad repairman, he graduated (1936) in the bottom third of his West Point class but became one of the boldest junior armored commanders of World War II. His tank unit played an important role in the relief of Bastogne, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge. In 1962, during racial unrest when James Meredith became the first black to enter the University of Mississippi, Abrams served as chief of staff of federal troops posted in Memphis, Tenn. Appointed to succeed William Westmoreland as U.S. commander in Vietnam in June 1968, he was effectively assigned to do little more than preside over the policy of "Vietnamization" that led to the gradual disengagement and eventual withdrawal of U.S. forces there.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.