Former CGSC Commandant Lt. Gen. John H. Cushman died Nov. 8 at 96 in a retirement facility in Washington, D.C. According to reports, his son, John H. Cushman Jr., said the cause was a stroke.
Cushman’s father was an Army brigadier general and he followed in his father’s footsteps, graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
He first served in the Corps of Engineers and transferred to the infantry in 1951. He graduated CGSC in 1955 and then spent three years on the faculty – until 1958. He served three tours of duty in Vietnam, the first in 1963 as a member of the Army Concept Team in Vietnam (ACTIV), then later that year he became an advisor in Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) to the South Vietnamese 21st Infantry Division. After returning from Vietnam he attended the War College after which he served in leadership positions with the 101st Airborne Division, ultimately assuming command of the 2nd Brigade in 1967 and deploying them to Vietnam. As a brigadier general in 1970 he returned to Vietnam for a third tour, this time as an advisor again. Cushman earned several commendations for his actions during his tours in Vietnam, including the Bronze Star, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Silver Star (two awards).
Maj. Gen. Cushman commanded the 101st Airborne Division from 1972-73. In August 1973, he assumed command of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, a job which also made him the commandant of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
As commandant, Lt. Gen. Cushman oversaw the development for student use of “First Battle,” a two-sided wargame. Adapting it as “Korea First Battle,” with commanders from corps to regiment directing their own forces against attackers organized and thinking like their North Korean adversary, and with participation by USAF and ROK air forces, he exercised the defending commanders and their staffs in real time air/land wargames of their actual war plans, the first of their kind. These exercises gave commanders an experience of war without fighting, providing them lessons learned. At a time when political leaders were considering the removal of U.S. ground forces from Korea, these wargames showed how essential those forces were.
In 1976 Cushman was promoted to lieutenant general and assumed command of I Corps (ROK/US) Group, the Korean-American field-army-size formation defending the Western Sector of Korea’s DMZ.
Retiring from the Army in 1978, Lt. Gen. Cushman became a writer and consultant on command and control and the operations of theater forces. Among his many publications is Thoughts for Joint Commanders, self-published in 1994. After retirement he lived with his wife in Washington, D.C., who preceded him in death in 2015. He is survived by seven children, a brother, 19 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren.