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Richard T. Knowles Collection (2718) Finding Aid

Item Number: 27180000000
 File
Approximately three and a half linear feet of slides, correspondence, scrapbooks, orders, military publications, photographs, speeches, presentations, diplomas and certificates, and narratives relating to the career of Richard T. Knowles from his time in WWII to his retirement in 1974, including WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and his years in Korea after the Vietnam War. Much of the material pertains to the creation and implementation of the air assault concept which came to fruition in the early years of the Vietnam War. There is also a substantial amount of materials related to Knowles' time in Vietnam between 1965 and 1967, where he served as Assistant Division Commander for the 1st Cavalry Division, Chief of Staff for the II Field Force Vietnam (FFV), Brigade Commander for the 196th Light Infantry Brigade, and Commanding General of Task Force Oregon.

Materials of note include briefing and presentation notes, correspondence, journal article drafts, military publications, and directives related to the development of air assault doctrine between 1963 and 1965. Also of interest are scrapbooks, slides, reports, correspondence, directives, and news clippings related to General Knowles' time in Vietnam, including combat reports and correspondence with General Harold Moore regarding Knowles' role in the Battle of Ia Drang. The scrapbook titled "Task Force Oregon" includes photographs, fact sheets, and news releases from Knowles' time in command of Task Force Oregon in 1967. Slides and photographs include depictions of American servicemen in action, aerial photos of terrain, and photographs of Knowles with various distinguished visitors including Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and General William Westmoreland. Correspondence covers a wide variety of topics, and includes the folder "Correspondence - General Knowles - July 1969-Dec," which consists of correspondence from General Knowles' time as the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. It includes letters from concerned citizens about the Vietnam War that were sent to President Nixon or Congress. These letters were forwarded to General Knowles for response, and his replies are included as well.

Dates

  • 1939-1995, bulk dates are 1963-1974

Biographical / Historical

Richard T. Knowles was born in Chicago, Illinois, on December 20th, 1916, son of John T. Knowles and Elma Diechel. He attended Calumet High School in Chicago, and worked for the Chicago Herald-Examiner before attending the University of Illinois from 1938 until 1942. As a student at Illinois, Knowles was a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadet, a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, and the captain of the varsity tennis team.

Upon graduating from the University of Illinois, Knowles was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army on May 23rd, 1942. He was assigned to the field artillery branch, and trained at Fort Sill, Oklahoma from June until August 1942. He served in the European Theater of the Second World War from October 1944 to September 1945 with the 16th Tank Destroyer Group. He returned to the United States in the autumn of 1945 as the Executive Officer of the 692nd Tank Destroyer Group, with whom he would later be appointed Commanding Officer.

Between 1946 and 1949, Knowles served with the Eighth Army in Japan as a member of the 37th Field Artillery Battalion. He briefly returned to the United States as the Executive Officer of the 1st Field Artillery Observational Battalion at Fort Sill. Upon the outbreak of war in Korea, Knowles was soon involved as a member of the 96th Field Artillery Battalion, with whom he served as Executive Officer and later Commanding Officer. He was in Korea from July 1950 to June 1951, participated in the Battle of Inchon, and received the Silver Star for his actions in leading a counterattack against North Korean forces within his battalion’s perimeter.

From July 1959 to July 1962, Knowles served with the U.S. Army Element, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), the headquarters for NATO’s Allied Command Europe. During this period, he served as the Military Assistant to the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army Element. In 1962, Knowles moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he served briefly with the 3rd Missile Command.

In February 1963, he was assigned to the 11th Air Assault Division (AAD) as the Commander of Division Artillery. The 11th AAD was established that same month as the Army’s Airmobile Test Unit, a response to the recommendations of the U.S. Army Tactical Mobility Requirements Board (also known as the "Howze Board" after its president, Lieutenant General Hamilton Howze).

Knowles played an important role in developing fire support doctrine as well as equipment standards within the airmobile concept. He was an advocate for the adoption of the M-102, a lightweight 105mm howitzer. In training fire support personnel with the 11th AAD, he emphasized the need to be able to establish fire support coordination quickly upon landing, as well as the ability to integrate close air support with ground-based fires. He also warned fire support officers that they would need to be prepared to place greater reliance on aerial fire power than was customary.

Knowles was assigned as Assistant Division Commander (ADC) of the 11th AAD in February 1964, and was frocked as a Brigadier General in July. In this role, he also served as the division’s Material Readiness Officer, which gave him responsibility for equipment procurement issues. In addition to the M-102 howitzer, Knowles was also a key advocate in the division’s adoption of the M-16 rifle. He received the Legion of Merit for his work with the 11th AAD between February 1963 and June 1965. Knowles also trained as a pilot, receiving the “Army Aviator” designation in June 1965.

In June 1965, the 11th AAD merged with the 2nd Infantry Division to form the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). Knowles deployed as ADC of the 1st Cavalry Division to Vietnam in August 1965. He remained in this role until February 1966, and played a key role in coordinating operations during Operation Long Reach (also known as the Pleiku Campaign, and including the Battle of Ia Drang) in October and November of 1965. He received a Bronze Star “for heroism in ground combat on 16 November 1965.”

From February to November of 1966, Knowles served as the Chief of Staff of the II Field Force Vietnam (II FFV). In November, he assumed command of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade (LIB) while the brigade was in the middle of conducting Operation Attleboro, after the previous commander had been relieved. He commanded the 196th LIB until June 1967, also overseeing the unit during Operation Cedar Falls and Operation Gadsden. Knowles frequently piloted his own helicopter, and his helicopters were damaged by ground fire on three separate occasions during his time with the 196th LIB.

Knowles was frocked to Major General in June 1967, and assumed command of Task Force Oregon the same month. Task Force Oregon had been formed in April 1967 and served in I Corps Tactical Zone under the command of the III Marine Amphibious Force (III MAF). Knowles commanded the Task Force until August 1967, during which time one of its composite brigades—the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division—conducted Operation Malheur II.

General Knowles returned to the United States in August 1967, and in November he was assigned to serve as the Army’s Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Operations. He served in this capacity until 1970, and was commended by Assistant Secretary of Defense Barry Shillito for his work in support of Operation GRAPHIC HAND – the military’s efforts to assist the U.S. Postal Department in carrying out essential duties during the postal workers strike of March 1970.

From 1970 until 1972, General Knowles served as Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was reassigned to South Korea in 1972, where he served as Commanding General of I Corps Group—a combined command comprised of both American and South Korean units—until July 1973. He then served as the Deputy Commanding General of the Eighth Army until his retirement from the Army as a Lieutenant General in July 1974.

After retiring, General Knowles moved to Roswell, New Mexico, where he opened an antiques store (named “The General’s Store”). In 1983, he won election as a Republican to the New Mexico Legislature as Representative of District 57 in southeastern New Mexico. He served in the Legislature until 1998, where he built a reputation for tact and bipartisan cooperation. He was the Republican floor leader in 1987-1988, and was a member of the House Appropriations and Finance Committee, Legislative Finance Committee, as well as panels on business, education, ethics, and others.

General Knowles passed away on September 18, 2013. His wife, Elizabeth Kay Knowles, preceded him in death. He is survived by four children—Richard J. Knowles, Diane Buchwald, Katherine Buck, and Rebecca Crosby—as well as nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren. The New Mexico Military Institute has named a legislative scholarship program in his honor.
Title
Finding Aid
Author
Nathan Cross
Date
2017-07-28
Length (Linear Feet)
3.5
Language of description
English
603
Slides

VAS086464-VAS087066
Slides collected by Knowles throughout his career in the U.S. Army which depict: graphics of Army unit organization and the Air Assault II exercise, and ceremonies in Fort Benning, Georgia. From Knowles' time in Vietnam there are aerial photographs of American bases; terrain and the impacts of American bombardment for bomb damage assessment, maps, and troops in action, including infantry, mortars, artillery, helicopters, and providing medical care to Vietnamese civilians. Other slides show visits from dignitaries such as General William Westmoreland and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. Locations include Chu Lai, the Tra Bong Valley, Tay Ninh, and Nui Ba Den. Named operations include Operation Gadsden, Operation Lincoln, Operation Cedar Falls, and Operation Junction City. Also included are slides of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

Click here to view all Slides
126
Photographs

2 photographs of Knowles being promoted to Lieutenant General by General William Westmoreland
38 command portraits of Knowles
1 command portrait of Major General Charles V. Wilson
1 photograph of Vice President Hubert Humphrey visiting with Red Cross personnel
4 photographs of Knowles at staff meetings in Vietnam, including with LtGen Robert Cushman, Gen Harold Johnson, and Gen Earle Wheeler
1 photographs of Knowles with Gen Westmoreland in Vietnam
1 photograph of staff officers in Vietnam
65 photographs of unidentified social events
1 photograph of an unidentified staff meeting
1 photograph of Knowles with Colonel Robert B. Tully
2 photographs of Knowles giving a speech to a veterans organization
3 photographs of Knowles receiving the Distinguished Service Medal from Admiral Thomas H. Moorer
3 photographs of Knowles presenting an award to an unidentified Sergeant First Class
1 photograph of UH-1 helicopters and a soldier holding a radio handset, with signed Christmas greeting card attached to photograph's backing
2 photographs of admirals and generals seated at a table, with the photographs' backings signed by those in the pictures, including Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, General William C. Westmoreland, and General Robert E. Cushman

Click here to view all Photographs
6
Scrapbooks

2718scrapbook1580 - My Tour with 11th Air Assault Division Artillery
2718scrapbook1581 - Task Force Oregon: Richard T. Knowles, Major General, U.S. Army, Commanding
2718scrapbook1582 - Farewell Tour - Republic of Korea
2718scrapbook1583 - To LTG Richard T. Knowles From 38th ADA Brigade
2718scrapbook1584 - Memories of the Republic of Korea - Eighth Army
2718scrapbook1585 - 25th ROK Armed Forces Day: 1973.10.1

Click here to view all Scrapbooks
7
Museum Objects

2718museum4904 - Plaque from Ia Drang 1965 Veterans with 1st Cavalry Division insignia
2718museum4905 - Plaque from 3/17 Cav - Christmas 1964
2718museum4906 - Plaque from 11th Air Assault Division Artillery
2718museum4907 - Car Staff Flag - 11th Air Assault Division
2718museum4908 - Framed Colonel's insignia
2718museum4909 - Statue of Paratrooper
2718museum4910 - Large Flag with Red Pegasus

Click here to view all Museum Objects
  • Box 1: [1] [TTU - Southwest Collections Building, Stacks [D109.1]]
  • Box 2: [2] [TTU - Southwest Collections Building, Stacks [D109.1]]
  • Box 3: [3] [TTU - Southwest Collections Building, 2nd Floor, Stacks, D096.1 [D096.1]]

Inventory

  • University of Illinois - Student Life: Fraternity newsletters; Rosters; Campus newsletters; Textbook list; Geometry study guide - 1939 through 1942
  • University of Illinois - Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Records: Training Orders; Letters of Instruction; Rosters; Song sheets; Camp McCoy newsletters - 1940 through 1942
  • Personal Administrative Military Records: Statement of Personal History; Promotion orders; Assignment orders; Hazardous duty certifications; Flight physical report; Security clearance; Campaign medal authorization - 1944 through 1968
  • Development of Air Assault Doctrine - Planning diagram; Briefing and presentation notes - 1964 through 1965
  • "Presentation to Retired Officers Association" - subject was the exercise "Air Assault II" - given December 15, 1964
  • Notes and outline for presentation titled "Developing the Air Assault Doctrine" - given at the U.S. Army Infantry School, February 1, 1965
  • Outline for presentation to the American Institute of Astronautics & Aeronautics, given in Los Angeles on March 25, 1965
  • Diagram on transparency sheet title "Tentative Phasing Schedule," which depicts the planned manpower strengths and testing schedule for the 11th Air Assault Division between 1963 and 1965
  • Development of Air Assault Doctrine - Directives, Regulations, Press Briefings, Report by Gen. Hamilton Howze, Army journal articles, Table of Organization & Equipment (TOE) for Airmobile Division - 1964 through 1965
  • Copy of a recommendation (undated) written by Gen Hamilton Howze titled "The Requirement for Air Fighting Units"
  • Table of Organization and Equipment No. 67T (Tentative): Airmobile Division - July 1965
  • Development of Air Assault Doctrine - Fire Support Doctrine: Planning diagram; Presentation notes; article by John Evans; Correspondence with William Becker - 1964
  • Notes for briefing titled "Firepower Briefing for Dr Stockfisch" (undated)
  • Notes for presentation titled "Fort Sill Presentation - 12 Feb 1964"
  • Proposed article for "Artillery Trends" journal titled "Supporting Air Assault Operations" by Lt Col John M. Evans
  • Development of Air Assault Doctrine - Equipment: Data sheets, transparencies, safety diagram - 1963, undated
  • Development of Air Assault Doctrine - Reflections: Journal article by Gen Kinnard; "Air Assault - Historical Perspective" presentation - 1982 through ca. 1995
  • Flight Training Records; "Army Aviator" designation - 1965 through 1970
  • Army Aviation Publications and Directives - 1964 through 1969
  • 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam: "Tactical Tips" from Headquarters, Field Force Vietnam; Pay change form; "Saber" newsletter clipping - 1965 through 1969
  • 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam - Pleiku Campaign and LZ X-Ray: Correspondence with Gen Harold Moore; Casualty reports for November 9-20, 1965 - 1965 through 1983
  • Typed casualty reports for the 1st Cavalry Division from November 1965 with handwritten updates and edits
  • Knowles' account of the events of the Pleiku Campaign, especially those surrounding LZ X-Ray - this account is ten pages long, includes a tactical map written in Vietnamese, and was mailed to Gen Harold Moore in June 1983.
  • 1st Cavalry Division Veterans Events: Speech notes by Gen Knowles and Gen Kinnard for veterans' reunions - 1989 through 1990
  • Chief of Staff, II Field Force Vietnam (II FFV): Report from III Corps Tactical Zone (CTZ) Senior Advisor; Leave orders - 1966
  • 196th Light Infantry Brigade (196th LIB) in Vietnam: Correspondence with F. Clifton Berry; Officers Roster; "Enemy Losses" reports; Newspaper Clippings; "The Charger" newsletter clipping - 1966 through 1986
  • Correspondence Regarding Vietnam - Incoming and Outgoing, Various Recipients - including Col Delbert Bristol, Col John Bellinger, and Maj James Bouldin - 1970 through 1972 1970 through 1972
  • Defense Acquisitions: Press briefing on acquisition policy, September 25, 1964; Presentation by De Havilland Aircraft; Correspondence with Boeing, Northrop, and Sikorsky - 1964 through 1971
  • Letter from John H. Fisher of Northrop Corporation discussing the "automating" of technology within Tactical Operations Centers (TOCs) to improve coordination and communications as well as Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaisance (ISR) operations
  • Correspondence - Incoming and Outgoing, Various Recipients - 1964 through 1970
  • "Correspondence - General Knowles - July 1969-Dec" - Incoming and Outgoing, Various Recipients - July 1969 through December 1969
  • Correspondence - Incoming, Various Senders - including General Harold Moore, General William Westmoreland - 1969 through 1974
  • Correspondence - Outgoing, Various Recipients - including General Harry Kinnard - 1964 through 1990
  • Correspondence - Promotion Congratulations - Incoming and Outgoing, Various Recipients - 1964 through 1972
  • Award Citations, Certificates, and Evaluations: Evaluation letter; Legion of Merit citation; Flight school diploma; commendation letter - 1956 through 1970
  • Award Citation Written for Brian L. Bell - 1970
  • National Military Policy and Strategy: Speeches by Gen Hugh Harris, Gen Edwin Messinger, Stanley Resor, Melvin Laird, Helen Bentley, and Frank Pace; "Command Comment" issues - 1964 through 1973
  • Reference Materials: Department of the Army Pamphlet No. 22-1 "Leadership"; DoD PA-6 "Your Personal Affairs"; Lineage of 3rd Battalion, 17th Cavalry Regiment - 1948 through 1969
  • Diplomas and awards (1959, 1968, No Date)
  • Oversize
  • Clippings (1939, 1944)
  • Certificates and awards (1942, 1964-1966)
  • Clipping from Boneyard Blast, University of Illinois satirical student newspaper (November 4, 1939)
  • Diplomas and awards (1956, 1968)
603
Slides

VAS086464-VAS087066
Slides collected by Knowles throughout his career in the U.S. Army which depict: graphics of Army unit organization and the Air Assault II exercise, and ceremonies in Fort Benning, Georgia. From Knowles' time in Vietnam there are aerial photographs of American bases; terrain and the impacts of American bombardment for bomb damage assessment, maps, and troops in action, including infantry, mortars, artillery, helicopters, and providing medical care to Vietnamese civilians. Other slides show visits from dignitaries such as General William Westmoreland and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. Locations include Chu Lai, the Tra Bong Valley, Tay Ninh, and Nui Ba Den. Named operations include Operation Gadsden, Operation Lincoln, Operation Cedar Falls, and Operation Junction City. Also included are slides of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

Click here to view all Slides
126
Photographs

2 photographs of Knowles being promoted to Lieutenant General by General William Westmoreland
38 command portraits of Knowles
1 command portrait of Major General Charles V. Wilson
1 photograph of Vice President Hubert Humphrey visiting with Red Cross personnel
4 photographs of Knowles at staff meetings in Vietnam, including with LtGen Robert Cushman, Gen Harold Johnson, and Gen Earle Wheeler
1 photographs of Knowles with Gen Westmoreland in Vietnam
1 photograph of staff officers in Vietnam
65 photographs of unidentified social events
1 photograph of an unidentified staff meeting
1 photograph of Knowles with Colonel Robert B. Tully
2 photographs of Knowles giving a speech to a veterans organization
3 photographs of Knowles receiving the Distinguished Service Medal from Admiral Thomas H. Moorer
3 photographs of Knowles presenting an award to an unidentified Sergeant First Class
1 photograph of UH-1 helicopters and a soldier holding a radio handset, with signed Christmas greeting card attached to photograph's backing
2 photographs of admirals and generals seated at a table, with the photographs' backings signed by those in the pictures, including Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, General William C. Westmoreland, and General Robert E. Cushman

Click here to view all Photographs
6
Scrapbooks

2718scrapbook1580 - My Tour with 11th Air Assault Division Artillery
2718scrapbook1581 - Task Force Oregon: Richard T. Knowles, Major General, U.S. Army, Commanding
2718scrapbook1582 - Farewell Tour - Republic of Korea
2718scrapbook1583 - To LTG Richard T. Knowles From 38th ADA Brigade
2718scrapbook1584 - Memories of the Republic of Korea - Eighth Army
2718scrapbook1585 - 25th ROK Armed Forces Day: 1973.10.1

Click here to view all Scrapbooks
7
Museum Objects

2718museum4904 - Plaque from Ia Drang 1965 Veterans with 1st Cavalry Division insignia
2718museum4905 - Plaque from 3/17 Cav - Christmas 1964
2718museum4906 - Plaque from 11th Air Assault Division Artillery
2718museum4907 - Car Staff Flag - 11th Air Assault Division
2718museum4908 - Framed Colonel's insignia
2718museum4909 - Statue of Paratrooper
2718museum4910 - Large Flag with Red Pegasus

Click here to view all Museum Objects

Pub Credit Line
27180000000, Richard T. Knowles Collection, The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University

Added: 28 Jul 2017 [Updated: 02 May 2018]