Richard A. Szymczyk
Colonel, United States Army
Born November 15 1924 –Died September 30, 2000
Richard Anthony "Dick" Szymczyk was born in Buffalo, New York on 15 November 1924 and was appointed to West Point from the 44th Congressional District. His West Point classmates recall: "From the first day of Beast Barracks when no one could pronounce his name, until the time he is a general, Dick has been, and is, known as a great guy.The fact that Szymczyk is hard to pronounce never worried any of us, because there is probably not a cadet in the corps who does not know his ready simile, friendly words, and effective leadership well enough to call him by his first name."
During his cadet days Dick went out for Golf all four years; was on the Pointer staff and the Ring Committee plebe year; with the Catholic Choir plebe, yearling, and cow years; with the Russian Club yearling, cow, and first class year; and was a Cadet Captain his first class year serving as Regimental Adjutant.
Upon graduation Dick went in the Artillery and after completing the Basic Artillery Course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma reported to the 469th Field Artillery Battalion right on base as Battery Executive Officer where he served until 1952. He then joined the 867th Field Artillery Battalion as Battery Commanding Officer in Germany where he served until 1956. In 1957 Dick returned to the Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma for the advanced course and then was assigned to Defense Language Institute, Monterey, California from 1957 to 1958.
Dick's next assignment was to the Foreign Language Department, USMA where he served until 1961 when he was named Public Information Officer for the 8th Army in Korea where he served until 1962.
Returning to stateside Dick earned a Master of Arts degree from American University in 1963 and attended the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1964. From 1964 to 1966 Dick served as United States Army in Russia and in Germany; then from 1966 to 1968 Dick served, first as Liaison Officer, then as Executive Officer, then as Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Military Liaison Mission, Commander in Chief, Group Soviet Forces in Germany.
Next Dick was named Branch Chief of the General Staff, Department of the Army from 1968 to 1970 when he was named Deputy Chief and later Chief of the Intelligence Division at Military Assistance Command, Vietnam where he served until 1971.
Next Dick was named Deputy Chief of the China and Asia Division at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) where he served until 1973. Then from 1973 to 1975 Dick served as Chief of the Western Area Division at DIA when he was named Vice Deputy Director, Intelligence Research Directorate at DIA. Then from 1976 to 1978 Dick served as Defense Attache at the US Embassy in Warsaw, Poland.
Dick's last military assignment was as Senior Research Fellow at National Defense University, Fort McNair where he served until 1980 when he retired as a Colonel from the United States Army after a distinguished career.
On retirement he was decorated with the Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services; the Defense Meritorious Service Medal for conspicuously meritorious service on joint staffs or other joint activities of the Department of Defense; two Meritorious Service Medals for conspicuously meritorious performance of duty in a non-combat situation; two Joint Service Commendation Medals; and two Commendation Medals for distinguished service.
Dick and his wife Marian made their home in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Dick died on September 30, 2000 of a massive heart attack.
Posted: 24 April 2008