Lanham, C. T. (Charles Trueman), 1902-1978.Alternative names
Charles Trueman Lanham (1902-1978) was born in Washington, D.C. He received his commission in the infantry from West Point in 1924, and later saw duty in the Panama Canal Zone from 1927 to 1930. He was an instructor at the Infantry School from 1932 to 1934, and served with the National Guard Bureau from 1935 to 1938. He graduated from the Command and General Staff School in 1939, then at the training branch of the War Department in 1941 and 1942. He was head of visual aids at headquarters of Army Ground Forces in 1942. In 1943 and 1944, he served as commanding officer of the 272nd Infantry, 69th Infantry Division, then the 22nd Infantry, 4th Infantry Division in 1944 and 1945. He reached the rank of brigadier general in March 1945, and served as assistant division commander of 104th Division in 1945. After World War II, his assignments included commanding general of 1st Infantry Division in 1953 and 1954, and deputy commandant of Armed Forces Staff College from July 1954 until his retirement as major general in December 1954.
From the description of Lanham, C. T. (Charles Trueman), 1902-1978 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10571180
General Charles T. Lanham, a decorated WWII General and good friend of author Ernest Hemingway, was an accomplished author, trainer, and after retiring from the military began a second career as a public relations executive. Prior to commanding the 4th Infantry Division throughout WWII, he served in Washington as a military theorist, writer, and editor. After the war General Lanham served in Europe as commander of the 7th Division before being transferred to General Eisenhower’s staff as the Public Relations Liaison for Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). Utilizing his PR experience, the retired general had a successful career as business executive for Market Relations, Penn-Texas, and the Xerox Corporation.
Major General Charles “Buck” Trueman Lanham was born in Washington, D.C. in 1902. He was a graduate of the West Point Class of 1924. As a newly commissioned lieutenant, Lanham married Mary Gaban. The two had one daughter, Shirley, and remained married until Mary passed away in 1969. A career Infantry officer, he was a longtime contributor and editor of Infantry Journal. General Lanham distinguished himself as a writer of military training, theory, and organization. His authorship went beyond military matters and Harper’s Weekly published several of his works of poetry. The general’s recognized abilities as a military trainer and theorist caused the army brass to deny him field posts throughout the 1930s. As part of his duties in the early 1940s, he wrote and supervised the creation of a series of training films. Already forty years old and colonel when given his first command, he joined the 22nd Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division on the beaches Normandy. While in France, the 22nd Infantry Regiment’s attached Collier’s war correspondent was Ernest Hemingway. The two writers became close friends until Hemingway’s death.
General Lanham’s unit, along with the 2nd Armored Division, spearheaded the Normandy breakout and was the first unit into Paris, to penetrate the Siegfried Line, and to enter Germany. The 22nd Infantry was engaged in the Battle of Huertgen Forest, sustaining eighty percent casualties in nearly three weeks of combat. The unit was pulled off the frontline to be refitted and supplemented with replacements, but was rushed back into combat during the Battle of the Bulge. In February, Lanham was promoted to Brigadier General and transferred to the 104th as Assistant Commander. He served with the unit until the end of the war, meeting up with the Soviets at the Molde River.
WWII ended, General Lanham returned to Washington to be General Omar Bradley’s Chief of the War Department’s Troop Information and Education Staff. In this position, he directed training and personnel policies for the entire military, and oversaw the unification of the branches. During this period, Lanham’s training materials were criticized as too liberal and not anti-communist enough. This did not adversely affect his career, however, and in 1946 he was named Director of Staff of the Personnel Policy Board under Secretary of Defense Forrestal.
General Lanham served as chief of the military aid group for Belgium and Luxembourg until 1951 when he was named chief of public relations for Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. During his time with the SHAPE, he served as General Eisenhower’s public relations person for both military and political affairs. In January 1953, he was promoted to Major General and named commander of the 1st Infantry Division in West Germany. After a year, General Lanham returned to the United States to serve as deputy commandant of the Armed Forces Staff College before retiring in 1954.
Starting with Market Relations Network, Lanham began a second career as a public relations executive for a number of companies. Later in 1954, he joined Penn-Texas Corporation as chairman of several of the company’s subsidiaries, including Colt’s Patent Firearms. The conglomerate went through a rapid expansion under the guidance of the Silberstein family, with who Lanham was closely aligned. The company’s attempt to acquire the Fairbanks, Morse and Company through a proxy and hostile takeover resulted in a public and acrimonious legal battle. Lanham resigned in 1958 following a disagreement with the Silbersteins over the direction of the company.
Lanham attempted to start his own company, Lanham-Patterson-Wilson, Inc. before joining Xerox two years later as vice president for government relations. He retired from Xerox in 1970, spending his time in Chevy Chase, Maryland with his second wife, Jane Gay, before succumbing to cancer and passing away in 1978.
From the guide to the Charles T. Lanham Papers, 1916-1978, 1944-1978, (Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special Collections)
- Motion pictures in military education
- United States.--Army--Public relations
- Public relations and law--United States
- Corporations--United States
- World War, 1939-1945--Photographs
- United States. Army--Officers--Correspondence
- World War II
- Husband and wife--20th century--Correspondence
- Public relations--20th century
- American history/20th century
- World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American
- Directors of corporations--20th century--Correspondence
- World War, 1939-1945--Poetry
- United States. Army. Infantry Division, 4th
- United States (as recorded)