General Donn Starry and the Army of His Times

Mike Guardia

New biography of General Donn Starry, armor officer who worked to transform the Army after Vietnam, and created the AirLand doctrine.
Publication date:
June 2018
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
Illustration :
32 pages of photos
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781612005447

Dimensions : 228 X 152 mm
Available in 6-8 weeks
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• General Donn Starry shaped the contours of American tank warfare in Vietnam and was one of the "intellectual giants" who worked to correct many of the post-Vietnam issues in the US Army
• Graduated from West Point in 1948 and served in the US Army for 35 years during the Cold War. During his career he served with many well-known names, Creighton Abrams, George Patton IV, Fred Franks, who all feature in the book
• Throughout his career he moved to fix problems he came across, and thus directed dramatic changes in the way the Army operated
• Starry recognised the problems with the Army's doctrine of Active Defense and while Commanding General, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command, he developed the concept of AirLand Battle, integrating air and land forces, which was well received in the Army and used to great effect in Desert Storm
• As head of TRADOC, Gen. Starry founded the Combat Studies Institute at Fort Leavenworth
• This first biography of General Donn Starry features many interviews with Starry, his family, fellow veterans, and extracts from his personal papers

Although he missed combat in World War II and Korea, Donn Starry became one of the most influential commanders of the Vietnam War, and after Vietnam was one of the "intellectual giants” who reshaped the US Army and its doctrines. Throughout his career he worked to improve training, leadership and conditions for the men who served under him.

Starry was a leading advocate for tank warfare in Vietnam and his recommendations helped shape the contours for American armor in Southeast Asia—and paved the way for his success as commander of 11th Armored Cavalry during the invasion of Cambodia.

When commander of Fort Knox and the Armor Center and School in the 1970s, Starry redeveloped armor tactics and doctrine and improved training. In his 16 months as commander of V Corps, he thoroughly tested the doctrine of "Active Defense,” then used his observations to create a new doctrine "AirLand Battle," which paved the way for overwhelming victory in the Gulf War. Like most battlefield commanders from the Vietnam era, Starry's legacy is often overshadowed by the controversy of the war itself and the turmoil of the immediate postwar Army. However, with the invasion of Cambodia and the development of AirLand Battle, it is hard to imagine anyone who has had a greater impact on modern maneuver warfare.

In this new biography of General Donn Starry, armor officer Mike Guardia examines the life and work of this pioneering, crusading officer using extracts from interviews with veterans and family, and from Starry's personal papers.


I reckon this biography should be required reading for serving officers: the style is thoroughly engaging, and the lessons are timeless and of relevance to all aspects of leadership. This is probably the finest biography I've reviewed.
Miniature Wargames - Chris Jarvis