Stanley R. Resor Dec. 5, 1917 - April 17, 2012 Served as Army Secretary during the Vietnam War

Article excerpt

Stanley R. Resor, who served as Army secretary during some of the Vietnam War's darkest moments, including the massacre of civilians at My Lai, died April 17 at his home in Washington, D.C. He was 94.

He had complications from renal failure, said his son Edmund Resor.

Mr. Resor, a decorated Army veteran of World War II, was a corporate lawyer in New York and registered Republican when he joined the Johnson administration in 1965. He was recruited by his former Yale University classmate, Cyrus Vance, who was serving as deputy defense secretary.

By the time Mr. Resor resigned in 1971, he had been the longest- serving Army secretary since the civilian position was created in 1947.

President Lyndon B. Johnson named Mr. Resor under-secretary of the Army in March 1965 and promoted him to secretary the following July. He inherited a military branch in the midst of a rapid escalation of forces in Vietnam. As Army secretary, Mr. Resor had overall responsibility for the soldiers' welfare and handled administrative issues related to managing the growing force.

It was a tumultuous time for the Army. Drug abuse, racial discrimination and low morale seeped through the ranks, according to news accounts.

Mr. Resor was known for his quiet efficiency while dealing with such problems. He rarely gave interviews to the press and, according to the New York Times, held only two news conferences.

He was compelled to speak out in 1969 after a group of Army Special Forces soldiers were charged with murder and conspiracy in Vietnam.

The case involved Thai Khac Chuyen, a Vietnamese man who worked on top-secret missions with the Green Berets and the CIA, according to Time magazine. Once the soldiers discovered Chuyen was a double agent and aiding the enemy, he was drugged, interrogated and then shot to death. His weighted body was dumped into the South China Sea and never recovered.

Mr. Resor had approved putting the soldiers on trial but, according to the New York Times, was pressured to dismiss the charges against them at the behest of President Richard M. Nixon and CIA officials.

A few months later, Mr. Resor was called to testify on Capitol Hill after reports surfaced that an Army unit had killed unarmed civilians in the hamlet of My Lai on March 16, 1968.

On the orders of Army 1st Lt. …