CLAYTON, Ga. — Retired four-star Army Gen. John H. Michaelis, whose courage on the battlefields of Korea earned him the nickname "Iron Mike" and who served as a commandant of cadets at West Point and an aide to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, has died. He was 73.
An Army spokesman said Michaelis died Thursday of heart failure at Rabun County Hospital in Clayton.
After entering the Army in 1931, Michaelis rose quickly through the commissioned ranks during World War II, emerging as a colonel. His exploits as head of the famed Wolfhound Regiment in Korea led to his promotion to brigadier general in 1951 and to full general at his retirement in 1972.
Often Decorated, Wounded
Michaelis was known for his courage on the battlefield. He was often decorated and often wounded.
During World War II, Michaelis assumed command of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment just before the launching of the Normandy invasion on June 6, 1944. He later led his regiment in an airborne assault on Holland, during which he was wounded twice. After recovering, Michaelis returned to active duty in 1944 as chief of staff of the 101st Airborne Division during its heroic stand at Bastogne, France.
After being hospitalized again with combat wounds, Michaelis was assigned in 1945 to the War Department general staff, where he rose to senior aide to Eisenhower in 1947.
When the Korean conflict began in June, 1950, Michaelis took command of the 25th Regimental Combat Team, the Wolfhound, which he led until February, 1951. He received a battlefield promotion to brigadier general and was awarded, among many other decorations, the Distinguished Service Cross.
5th Army Commander
After returning to the United States in 1952, Michaelis became commandant of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He later commanded the 5th Army at Ft. Sheridan, Ill., where many Vietnam recruits were trained.
Michaelis enlisted in the Army as a private after graduation from high school in Pennsylvania and was admitted to West Point after serving as an infantryman.
He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery at a date yet to be announced.