Honoring Brigadier General Earl C. Acuff USA (Ret.) the Former Commandant of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadetsby Representative Robert J. Wittman
Posted on 2013-03-12
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Mr. WITTMAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Brigadier General
Earl C. Acuff, USA (Ret.), the Commandant of the Virginia Tech Corps of
Cadets from 1973 to 1980, who passed away on February 13, 2013. A
native of Iowa, Earl Acuff learned to box as a young boy and became a
Golden Gloves champion while in high school; he earned a full football
scholarship to the University of Idaho, where he met his wife, Mary-
Low, and enlisted in ROTC. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Earl Acuff
was shipped to the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, where he served as the
executive officer to the 1st Intelligence Combat Platoon. He provided
strong leadership as the unique unit scouted Japanese forces in the
Aleutian Islands without resupply or personal contact with the outside
world; after the war, the unit mapped the entire western coastline of
Earl Acuff briefly left the military, working as a bush pilot, a big game guide, and a high school teacher in Anchorage before he was asked to rejoin the United States Army to teach Arctic survival skills. General Acuff went on to serve as commander of the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry, 7th Infantry Division, and led the fight to defend Hills 255 and 266 during the Korean War. His extraordinary valor resulted in his being awarded a Purple Heart, second Combat Infantryman Badge, a Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, and a Bronze Star with four Oak Leaf Clusters and V for Valor. He was a Master Parachutist who provided important insight as the United States Army revaluated its Ranger training program; in 1965 he became the oldest man to successfully graduate as a United States Army Ranger at the age of 47.
Earl Acuff then earned a master's degree from George Washington University and worked for the United States Department of State before rejoining the battlefield as commander of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division Republic of Vietnam, where he earned his third Combat Infantryman Badge. In 1969 Earl Acuff became the Deputy Post Commander at the U.S. Army Infantry School.
One year later, he joined the faculty at Virginia Tech as a military science instructor. In 1974 Earl Acuff was promoted to Brigadier General and became the commandant of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, where he continued the proud tradition of training young men and women to become the nation's military leaders.
[[Page E273]] Earl Acuff also began a competitive career in racquetball, earning 20 gold medals at major national and international tournaments and induction into several halls of fame.
Brigadier General Acuff was predeceased by his wife, Mary-Low, and son, William, and will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by his children, Thomas, Dan, Ardis, Rodney, Janice, Teresa, and Dawn, and their families; and numerous other family members, friends, and admirers.
Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in remembering Brigadier General Acuff and his dedicated service to the nation.