OBITUARY

General Montgomery C. Meigs

January 11, 1945July 6, 2021

Montgomery C. Meigs – devoted husband, father, grandfather, American Soldier, teacher, mentor, and innovator - passed away in his home in Austin, Texas, on July 6, 2021, his 53rd wedding anniversary. He was surrounded by family, military keepsakes, treasured hunting trophies, and a wall of books, all symbols of his greatest passions.

He was born in Annapolis, Maryland on January 11, 1945, to Elizabeth Griggs Meigs a month after his father, LTC Montgomery C. Meigs, was killed in action near Rohrbach, France. His two retired naval officer grandfathers showered him with naval history and stories of ship and submarine warfare, and as the step-son of Ensign William K. Lampman he became a Navy junior at an early age. But he was tied by name to the Army, so that was the professional path he chose.

Monty, as he was known by his family and friends, graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1967, and following the basic armor officer course and ranger school, he headed to a squadron in Buedingen, Germany. This was the beginning of 18 years of service, spanning 4 decades, in the Federal Republic of Germany; arriving as a second lieutenant platoon leader and retiring as the four star Commanding General of U.S. Army Europe.

His assignments in Europe included troop commands in the 3/12 Cavalry and the 1/1 Cavalry, squadron command of the 1/1 Cavalry, and brigade command of the second brigade, First Armored Division. Later on, he served as Commanding General of the Seventh Army Training Command and the Third Infantry Division (reflagged as the First Infantry Division during his tenure). Monty patrolled the border during the cold war, facilitated partnership for peace exercises in the nineties, and commanded NATO forces twice in Bosnia-Herzegovina. At that time, U.S. Army Europe and MITRE Corporation developed Blue Force Tracker. This system provided commanders with a real time picture of where their units were on the battlefield, and was but one of the new technologies and innovations he employed to improve war fighting capabilities and soldier survivability.

In addition to his troop experience in Germany, Monty served a tour in the Republic of Vietnam as a 3/5 Cavalry troop commander. He also led his Germany-based Iron brigade in the first Gulf War, where they fought the largest tank battle since World War II.

Back in the U.S. he was afforded numerous opportunities to pursue academic interests. While at the National War College he wrote his book, Slide Rules and Submarines: American Scientists and Subsurface Warfare in World War II, which would become the intellectual foundation of the future counter IED fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. From the University of Wisconsin-Madison he received an MA and Ph.D. in history. He taught at West Point and spent a year at MIT as a Council on Foreign Relations Fellow. At Fort Leavenworth he commanded the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and was Commandant of the Command and General Staff College. During that time, he oversaw the revision of the Staff College’s leadership curriculum and the Army’s leadership manual.

GEN Meigs retired on January 1, 2003, and promptly began his second career as a professor of national security studies. From the LBJ School at U.T. Austin and the George Bush School at Texas A&M, to the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, he taught and mentored future leaders in our country’s security apparatus. Along-side his teaching, Monty relished his “gigs” with NBC and MSNBC as a military analyst. It was an extension of his teaching, as he reached out to the general public to explain what was happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, Monty was a devoted member of the Board of Trustees of the MITRE Corporation for over ten years.

Four years after his military retirement Monty was called back to the Pentagon, to lead a critical DOD effort to counter the threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. He began the critical work on the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) to provide intelligence, engineering expertise, and countermeasures to help military units break up the systems of networks that funded, manufactured, deployed and employed the IEDs. JIEDDO still exists today as JIDO, and has expanded to include other threats like unmanned aerial devices.

Monty’s long career of service to the Nation culminated as CEO of Business Executives for National Security, a unique nonprofit comprised of senior business leaders who recommend and apply best practices to address the nation’s pressing security challenges.

During these many adventures Monty was supported by his loving family: his spouse, Mary Ann Mellenbruch Meigs, and sons William and Matthew Meigs, and daughter-in-law Sarah Meigs. His grandchildren Elena, James and Thomas Meigs brought him great joy as he followed them over the years in their athletic and academic pursuits.

Decorations include the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Bronze Star with “V” Device and Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Purple Heart. Foreign awards include Officier de le Legion d’Honneur and Das Grosse Verdienst Kreuz mit Stern.

A funeral service at Arlington National Cemetery will take place at a later date. Please visit dig-nitymemorial.com/obituaries/austin-tx/montgomery-meigs-10258622 to leave condolences and memories of General Meigs.

Services

No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Memories

General Montgomery C. Meigs

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Lori Sussman

October 1, 2021

General Meigs was the epitome of Soldier, Statesman, and Scholar. It was my privilege to be his Executive Officer at JIEDDO. He took this extremely tough job because he lived the virtue of selfless service, wanting to do his part to mitigate the roadside bombings that devastated US troops. In this role, General Meigs used his robust understanding of driving change in large organizations to get critical innovations quickly to the field and save lives. Yet, as busy as he was, he always found time to mentor and coach those who worked with him. I am a better leader, educator, and friend because General Meigs was my mentor, teacher, and friend. We all miss him deeply, and our hearts go out to Mary Ann, his sons, and the rest of the family.

Kris Drach

September 29, 2021

I loved and admired General Meigs. I first served under him as a brigade commander in the 1st Infantry Division in Germany and then in retirement I served as his strategic planner in the Joint IED Defeat Organization in the Pentagon (Crystal City). He was a true soldier statesman. There are many great senior military generals, but General Meigs was a giant among them. In addition to being a brilliant visionary, he was a tremendous leader. When breast cancer blew up my Army career he kept track of me and ultimately it was General Meigs who reached out and gave me a job, bringing me back into the fold. This is a gesture I will never forget as long as I live. Through the years I grew to know him and Mary Ann as dear friends. I am crushed by his early death, but I am blessed to have wonderful memories with him and Mary Ann--memories I cherish.

Kirsten Nigro

August 27, 2021

I first met Monty soon after he married my friend Mary Ann. We kept in touch over the decades and enjoyed one another's company tremendously. Monty was smart, wise, funny and very caring. We had many a wonderful conversation and a few good debates, as well! I visited Austin a few years ago and that was the last time I saw Monty. He was gracious, kind and as always, loved to tease me. I loved Monty and will miss him very much. My deepest condolensces to dear Mary Ann (marrying her was so indicative of Monty's wisdom, and good taste!) and to the Meigs family. Que los angelitos te cuiden, querido Monty.
PS My parents were very fond of Monty, as well. He and Mary Ann hosted them in Germany many years ago!

Sunni Brown

August 3, 2021

Dear Meigs' Family, I've just sent a letter including my deep gratitude and appreciation for Monty's life to the house on Bonnell Drive. Please pardon my delay in acknowledging this remarkable man. I was a student of his at LBJ and learned an enormous amount from him. My warmest regards to you each - the letter should arrive soon. Best, Sunni Brown

Frank Titus

August 1, 2021

RIP, Monty. You were a soldier’s soldier.

Barbara Douds

August 1, 2021

Dear Mrs. Meigs, William and Matthew,
I was deeply saddened to read in today’s Washington Post that General Meigs had died. I remember the day when you and General Meigs enrolled William at McLean High School and I was to be his counselor. General Meigs had a “presence” about him that exuded strength coupled with kindness and a twinkle in his eye. You were both always supportive of William who was a terrific young man. General Meigs piqued my interest in his family history, and I was impressed to learn of all their accomplishments in service to our country. General Meigs in all his interactions with me was a humble and kind man who wanted the best for his family. May you find comfort in knowing, General Meigs made the world a better place. May he in peace.

Sean and Lynda MacFarland

July 23, 2021

I was incredibly fortunate to work for General Meigs twice. First as an officer in 3ID/1ID and again as his aide de camp when he was USAREUR CG/ COMSFOR in Bosnia. I had recently signed in as GEN Shinseki’s aide when he arrived in Heidelberg and I didn’t want to move my family again so soon. Despite knowing me all too well from my time in his Division, he kept me on his personal staff as a “charity case” and I will be forever grateful for that. Try as he might, he was never able to convert me from a golfer to a hunter, though. When I left him to take command of a tank battalion in Vilseck, he jokingly told me not to be surprised if I heard his voice on the radio giving me commands from the tower when I was trying to qualify as a tank commander. I more than half expected to hear his distinctive voice through my headphones and was glad to get through my run without it. I think he knew that I didn’t need the added stress and stayed away. Later, as the JIEDDO Director, he made a point to visit me when I was commanding a 1st Armored Division BCT in Ramadi, Iraq. It was like having a family visit in the midst of the hardest fight of my career. Against all odds, I eventually rose in rank to three stars, in no small measure due to his help and mentorship earlier in my career. The lessons I learned from watching him deal with division and corps commanders, the SACEUR, and while commanding the campaign in the Balkans became touchstones that helped guide me through the challenges of senior command, when I was Deputy Commander for Operations in Afghanistan, as CG at the Division and Corps level, and as Commander of Operation Inherent Resolve, the campaign to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Likewise, Lynda learned a great deal from the example set by Mary Ann and many an Army family benefited from her legacy. My entire family was blessed to have crossed paths with the Meigs, but me most of all. So, thanks for everything, sir, and I’ll see you on the high ground.

Paul Mikolashek

July 22, 2021

General Meigs was one of the best commanders and leaders our nation has produced. He led with wisdom, determination and enthusiasm. He never passed up an opportunity to teach us about the full scope of the profession of being a Soldier. It is hard to fathom that he is gone from us, but he left a powerful legacy that will endure among those fortunate enough to have experienced his leadership.

P.T. and Jan Mikolashek

Denise Vowell

July 19, 2021

General Meigs was the finest officer I served with in over 30 years of military service. He embodied all of the qualities we look for in our military leaders, but what was most striking to me was the time and energy he expended on caring for the soldiers and families of his command. Once you were one of his soldiers, you were always one of his soldiers. MaryAnne, my heart goes out to you and your sons and grandchildren. He is sorely missed.

LTG(R) Ricardo and Maria Elena Sanchez

July 19, 2021

America has lost a magnificent leader, warrior and statesman. General Meigs was the epitome of a selfless leader with absolute integrity who gave all to ensure that his subordinates were successful while remaining true to his duty and commitment to our Mission, our Army and our National interests. I was blessed to have known him and remain indebted to him for his guidance and mentorship as we navigated the challenges of Kosovo, NATO and USAREUR during his tenure as our Commanding General. His commitment to excellence and diversity were unsurpassed. Our Army, Our Nation and especially our soldiers are much better off today because General Meigs crossed our paths and touched our lives. MaryAnn may the Lord bless you and the rest of the Meigs family with the strength, faith and perseverance necessary to bear the burden of his loss.

FROM THE FAMILY