Ridgway, Matthew (Bunker)(1895–1993) soldier; born in Fort Monroe, Va. A 1917 graduate of West Point, he served in various overseas posts, and at the outbreak of World War II, was with the War Plans Division of the War Department. He commanded the 82nd Airborne Division in Sicily and Italy (1943) and in the Normandy invasion (1944), and led an airborne corps in northwest Europe (1944–45). Ridgway replaced MacArthur as commander of United Nations forces in Korea (1951), and he succeeded Eisenhower as head of NATO (1952)—thereby becoming the first American to hold the supreme commands in both the Pacific and Atlantic areas. As army chief of staff (1953–55), he argued successfully against commitment of U.S. forces in Vietnam. After retiring from the army, he served as chairman of the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research (1955–60).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.