Major General Joseph C. Lutz
Soldier And Leader
who Never Forgot to
Take Care of His Soldiers
Are Our Heritage
MG. Joe Lutz served from Special Forces A Team and B Team Commands to Head all U.S. Army Special Operations Forces as the First Commander of the 1st Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He later retired as the Chief of Staff, U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill AFB, Florida, where he was active in Special Forces Association LX.
Retired Army Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Lutz, who played a key role in getting increased recognition for
Special Operations in the U.S. Military, died Sunday, 9 May 1999 in Florida. He was 66.
In 1982, he signed the orders that brought the Army’s 1st Special Operations Command into existence at Fort Bragg. He was the first commanding general of 1st SOCOM, which was the forerunner of the present-day U.S. Army Special Operations Command. USASOC now oversees Special Forces, Rangers, civil affairs, psychological operations and special operations aviation units and answers directly to Army headquarters at the Pentagon.
In 1987, Gen. James J. Lindsay selected Lutz to serve as chief of staff of the newly created U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base at Tampa, Fla. The command oversees all special operations forces in the Army, Navy and Air Force.
‘‘The success that U.S. SOCOM and the special operations community enjoy today would not have been as great without the inspirational leadership and foresight of Joe Lutz,’’ said a statement from U.S. Special Operations Command. ‘‘He carried the message throughout the Department of Defense community that special operations are essential to national security policy and must be supported.’’
Lutz was born on April 17, 1933, in Indianapolis, Ind. He was a distinguished military graduate of the ROTC program at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis., and joined the Army in 1955.
He initially trained in armor and later volunteered to serve in Special Forces. During his career, he commanded at every level of armor and Special Forces. He was a Special Forces adviser and commander in Vietnam and returned to Southeast Asia as a joint plans officer in Thailand.
Lutz commanded the 1st Squadron of the 17th Cavalry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg and the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Bliss, Texas.
He was commanding general of the John F. Kennedy Center for Military Assistance and commandant of the Institute for Military Assistance at Fort Bragg.
He was instrumental in the creation of a separate Special Forces career branch within the Army in the mid-1980s. The enhanced status put Special Forces on a level with the infantry, armor and artillery among Army career fields. He also was influential in the design of its branch insignia for Special Forces.
He was deputy commanding general of 7th Corps, U.S. Army Europe, and chief of the Joint U.S. Military Aid Group in Greece.
Since his retirement in 1990, Lutz had remained active in military and community affairs. He was a consultant with Sverdrup Inc. and was chairman of the Special Operations Memorial Foundation.
He was a member of the Special Forces Association Chapter LX, Special Operations Association, 82nd Airborne Division Association and an honorary brigade commander of the Phantom Airborne Brigade, a parachute organization for retired military and senior civilian personnel.