Following a life lived with enduring love for his family and country, GEN (US Army Retired) William W. “Bill” Hartzog passed away suddenly on Oct 15, 2020 in Potomac, MD at the age of 79. GEN Hartzog was born to be a soldier, and proudly served over thirty-five years in the United States Army.
His reputation as a leader and mentor guided by honor, integrity, vision, selfless service and humility will endure in an Army made better by his service. His family and friends also knew him as a most loving husband, father, and “papa” who always provided thoughtful guidance and unwavering support with ample humor along the way.
GEN Hartzog was born in Wilmington, NC on Sept 21, 1941 to Elizabeth and William Hartzog. After graduating from The Citadel, he was commissioned in the US Army in 1963. He subsequently commanded Infantry, Airborne, and Armored units from platoon to Army level throughout his career; and also served in a number of notable staff positions.
GEN Hartzog was deployed twice to Vietnam, first in 1967. Annual Charlie Company reunions reinforce the profound bonds forged during this formative deployment. He also served as an instructor at the United States Military Academy where he met the love of his life, the former Roberta (Bobbe) Fitton. They were married Nov 8, 1970 at the West Point Cadet Chapel.
GEN Hartzog’s last dozen years of active duty included serving as the Assistant Commandant of the Infantry School, the J3 of the United States Southern Command during Operation Just Cause in Panama, Commanding General of US Army South, and as Commanding General of the 1st Infantry Division. He was Deputy Commander in Chief of the Atlantic Command during the 1994 Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti, and was the Commanding General of US Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe from 1994-1998. In this position, he was responsible for the development of the Army’s doctrine, training and combat capability for the future in beginning to transition a cold war force into an Army for the information age.
Following retirement from a distinguished career as a professional soldier in 1998, he remained an active business leader with Burdeshaw Associates LLC, lecturer, advisor to government and industry on a broad range of Defense issues including the most recent Presidential Transition Team, and a member of several advisory management boards. He also served in various positions at the Army Historical Foundation to include as President and Vice Chairman.
During this tenure he invested significant energy on the conception and fundraising for the National Museum of the United States Army opening in Nov 2020. His relentless efforts demonstrates an unwavering belief in the importance of preserving the history of the American Soldier and promoting public understanding and appreciation of the Army and its members to our Nation. The opening of this overdue tribute to America’s Army, soldiers, and families is testament to his leadership.
GEN Hartzog graduated from both the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the US Army War College. He earned a Master’s degree in psychology from Appalachian State University and an honorary Doctorate from The Citadel. He authored numerous articles, as well as the book American Military Heritage.
His many recognitions include membership to the Orders of Aaron and Hur, St. Barbara, St. George, St. Maurice and Mercury. He is a distinguished Eagle Scout, and received South Carolina’s Palmetto Award as well as awards from Appalachian State University and Kansas State University. He received the Doughboy Award in 2017 for outstanding contributions to the US Army Infantry.
His US military decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with four oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star for valor with oak leaf cluster, the Soldier’s Medal, and the Purple Heart. He earned the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and was a senior parachutist. He also held international awards from Germany, Venezuela, Panama, and the Republic of Vietnam.
GEN Hartzog, an avid ‘tinkerer’ of classic automobiles, rebuilt numerous “oldies but goodies”. He also enjoyed running, and completed five marathons. A devoted man of faith, he was ordained as an Elder to serve his church community.
GEN Hartzog is survived by his wife of 50 years Bobbe, daughter Robyn (Phillip Wise), son William (Mari Samuelsen), granddaughter Charlotte, beloved family and treasured friends.
The family will not be holding an in-person public visitation due to the ongoing pandemic. A funeral service at Arlington National Cemetery will take place at a later date.
Please visit dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/alexandria-va/william-hartzog-9860597 to leave thoughts and memories of GEN Hartzog and find further updates.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in GEN Hartzog’s name to either:
the Army Historical Foundation (supporting the National Museum of the United States Army) at https://armyhistory.givingfuel.com/in-memory-of-general-hartzog or by mail (noting GEN Hartzog’s name in the memo line) at Army Historical Foundation, 1775 Liberty Drive, Suite 400, Fort Belvoir, VA 22060 or to the General William W. Hartzog, ’63, Armed Forces Scholarship through The Citadel Foundation, 171 Moultrie Street, Charleston, SC 29409 or at http://foundation.citadel.edu.