Foundation hosts World War II veteran’s visit to CGSC

Foundation hosts World War II veteran’s visit to CGSC

The CGSC Foundation was privileged to host Lt. Col. Faye Knodle, U.S. Army National Guard, Retired, to Fort Leavenworth and the Command and General Staff College for a two-day visit Dec. 11-12.

LTC Knodel-LTGBrown
Lt. Col. Faye Knodle, U.S. Army National Guard, Retired, WWII veteran, is greeted by Lt. Gen. Bob Brown (right), the Commanding General of Fort Leavenworth and Commandant of the Command and General Staff College, along with Foundation Chairman retired Lt. Gen. John Miller, after the international badge ceremony in the Lewis and Clark Center, Dec. 11.
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Lt. Col. Faye Knodle converses with Foundation Chairman Lt. Gen. (Ret.) John Miller (center) and retired Lt. Gen. Richard Keller, the Foundation’s Senior Advisory Committee Chair, during the reception after the international badge ceremony in the Lewis and Clark Center, Dec. 11.
LTC Knodel-CEO-Willbanks
Dr. Jim Willbanks (left), director of CGSC’s Dept. of Military History, and Foundation CEO Doug Tystad (center) spend time with WWII veteran, retired Lt. Col. Faye Knodle, during the reception after the international badge ceremony in the Lewis and Clark Center, Dec. 11. (Photos courtesy CGSC Public Affairs)

Knodle is a World War II veteran of the 67th Armored Infantry Battalion. He crossed Omaha Beach on D+4 on June 10, 1944 as a platoon sergeant. He had been drafted in 1943 and after training was assigned to Britain for preparation for the European campaign. During his time in Europe, he participated in the fighting in the hedgerows of Normandy, was part of the break out and encirclement of the German Forces in France, was on the southern flank of the Third Army during the Battle of the Bulge, was part of the force that liberated Dachau concentration camp, and ended the war as the military governor of Branau, Austria, Hitler’s home town.

During the war, Knodle was given a battlefield commission by General George Patton. After the war, he returned to civilian life and held a number of positions in the Army Reserve and Army National Guard, reaching the rank of lieutenant colonel upon retirement. Knodle was an executive in a number of corporations including serving as a corporate Vice President and Member of the Board of Directors for Colt Industries. After retirement, he moved to Marietta, Ga., to be with his daughter.

Knodle remains active at 93, exercising at the gym almost every day. He said that although he doesn’t lift MUCH weight, he keeps his body fit, which he also attributes to keeping his mind alert and active.

The Foundation found out that Knodle was interested in visiting CGSC after his nephew mentioned it to the CEO after a presentation in October to Black and Veatch in Kansas City. The Foundation scheduled the visit to occur Dec. 11-12, to coincide with the International Badge Ceremony and CGSC Class 14-02 graduation. Knodle had last been at Fort Leavenworth in 2003 after his wife had passed away (she is buried in Kansas City). When he first arrived on this trip he was given a long driving tour of the post and accommodations at the Custer House distinguished visitors quarters.

“Thursday was a really busy day for him,” said Foundation CEO Doug Tystad. “His physical stamina surprised us all.”

Tystad said Knodle’s Thursday started at the Department of Command and Leadership awards ceremony where the director introduced him and he spoke with instructors and students. Then he attended the International Military Student badge ceremony where he was introduced. During the reception following that, he met Lt. Gen. Bob Brown, the Commanding General of Fort Leavenworth and Commandant of the Command and General Staff College who presented him with his Commander’s Coin. He also met Brig. Gen. Chris Hughes, the Deputy Commandant. In addition, he met a number of dignitaries from the area.

After the badge ceremony and reception, Tystad took Knodle to visit faculty in the Department of Military History. Four professors spent an hour and a half over lunch with him discussing his experiences. They were all impressed and had many questions about his experiences at Dachau and with meeting General Patton on two different occasions.

After lunch with the history department, the Simons Center Director, retired Maj. Gen. Ray Barrett, took him to the Frontier Museum for a tour. That evening, he met with five CGSC students at a downtown Leavenworth restaurant for dinner. The students were quite taken with his experiences and were able to trace leadership attributes from WWII to today through his anecdotes. The students were particularly interested in what they had heard of and perceived as toxic leadership by General Patton. Knodle had generally positive things to say about the general, noting that he was the only high level commander that met personally with unit officers when the 67th AIB was assigned to Third Army after a temporary assignment to 7th Army during the Bulge.

Friday morning Knodle attended the pre-reception for the class graduation with Lt. Gen. Brown and the guest speaker, as well as several other retired general officers. Retired Lieutenant Generals Richard Keller, the Foundation’s Senior Advisory Committee Chair, John Miller, Foundation Chairman, and Robert Arter, Foundation Chairman Emeritus and Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, were particularly interested in meeting with him. During graduation, Lt. Gen. Brown asked the colonel to stand and be acknowledged by the audience of 800 students, family and dignitaries.

After visiting with more students and others in the atrium after the graduation ceremony, Knodle was escorted to a classroom where one of the history professors he had met on Thursday introduced him to the class and answered a few of their questions. He departed Fort Leavenworth shortly thereafter to meet with his nephew and spend the remainder of the weekend with his sister in Kansas City.

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Knodle left behind several pictures of his experiences in WWII and more biographical information including his experience on the Colt Industries Board of Directors with retired Gen. Matthew Ridgway.

“The CGSC Foundation is honored to have been able to spend time with Lt. Col. Knodle,” said Tystad. “Everyone that met him and had the opportunity to talk with him came away impressed.”


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7 thoughts on “Foundation hosts World War II veteran’s visit to CGSC

  1. That is great to see Faye sharing his experiences. Sure wish he didn’t live so far away. Miss his jokes alot. He is an incredible man and step dad in-law.

  2. I met Faye a few years back when he was a young 91 on a bus trip from Rockford, Illinois to O’Hare airport. I tried to help him with his luggage but he wouldn’t let me. We had a great chat and I found out he actually grew up near where I was born SW of Rockford, Illinois. Great guy!

  3. This was truly one of the highlights of my dad’s life and I am very grateful that he was honored in this way before he died. He retired to the army in the sky on Saturday, June 20th. He was well loved and well respected. He loved his country and his family and served them both well.

  4. Faye was my older brother and we were so proud of him. He was an excellent military man. I always looked up to him.

  5. From the short time that we knew him, we were impressed with his Soldierly bearing and love of country. He was a credit to the Greatest Generation. On behalf of the Command and General College Foundation, we send our sympathy to his family and friends.

    While he was here, he had dinner with five students from the College. They truly enjoyed the time with him and learned about leadership in combat.

    We’re certain he will rest in peace knowing he served his country and his family well and faithfully.


    COL Douglas L. Tystad, US Army Retired
    CEO, CGSC Foundation, Inc.

  6. What a loss with the passing of LTC Knondle. He was living history and shared many of his stories with us while he was visiting the Foundation and CGSC. My condolences to his family. He was truly a Soldier!

  7. Faye was my Great uncle he was my hero he gave me many thins but he died in 2015 but every time I think of him I tear up

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