Alexander Haig died today at the age of 85. He had a remarkable military career as a four-star general, Supreme Allied Commander, and Vice Chief of Staff of the Army. His career was puncuated by many commendations and awards for bravery and valor, including the Distinguished Service Cross and Silver Star with oak leaf cluster. After his many years in the military, he served as Chief of Staff for both Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and Secretary of State for Ronald Reagan. More from Fox News:
Former Secretary of State Alexander Haig, who served Republican presidents and ran for the office himself, has died.
Haig died Saturday at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore from complications associated with an infection, his family said. He was 85.
The four-star general served as a top adviser to three presidents and had presidential ambitions of his own. President Richard Nixon appointed him White House chief of staff in 1973. In that role, Haig helped the president prepare his impeachment defense and handled many of the day-to-day decisions normally made by the chief executive.
In later years, Haig spoke of Nixon in cautious terms.
“I found with President Nixon — and I’m sure there are similarities today — that these are very political beings,” he told Fox News in 1998. “They wouldn’t be in that office if they weren’t politically astute.”
Haig later served as secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan.
The Boston Globe has an article with a lot of very interesting and lesser known information. Here’s a portion:
Alexander M. Haig Jr., who as secretary of state declared “I’m in control here” when Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981, and as White House chief of staff seven years earlier was so much in control as to be effectively running the government during the final days of the Nixon administration, died today of complications from an infection, at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where he was surrounded by his family, according to two of his children, Alexander and Barbara.
A hospital spokesman, Gary Stephenson, said Haig died at about 1:30 a.m. He was 85.
President Barack Obama praised Haig as a public servant who “exemplified our finest warrior-diplomat tradition of those who dedicate their lives to public service.”
“I think of him as a patriot’s patriot,” said George P. Shultz, who succeeded Haig as the country’s top diplomat in 1982. “No matter how you sliced him it came out red, white and blue. He was always willing to serve.”
Richard Nixon once described General Haig as “the meanest, toughest, most ambitious s.o.b.” he’d ever known. Nixon, who was instrumental in Reagan’s appointing General Haig secretary of state, meant it as a compliment.
In the restrained, deliberate world of international diplomacy, General Haig stood out dramatically. His blend of forcefulness and volatility inspired both respect and wariness. So aggressive was his demeanor that Reagan administration rivals dubbed General Haig “CinCWorld” (for “commander in chief, world”).
The nickname punned on CinCEur, which had been General Haig’s designation as commander in chief of US forces in Europe, a position he held from 1974 to 1979.
General Haig’s rise to that position had contributed to his controversial image. Thanks to the sponsorship of Nixon and Henry Kissinger, whom he had served as deputy national security adviser, he rose from colonel, in 1969, to four-star general, in 1973. “Four stars in four years,” his biographer Roger Morris termed it, “promotions comparable only to Dwight Eisenhower’s in the tumult of World War II.”
Although General Haig saw combat in two wars and earned several medals for valor, so rapid an ascent fostered the belief he was a “political general” who owed his rank to the favor of civilian superiors. General Haig’s tenure as White House chief of staff during the final 16 months of the Nixon presidency did nothing to dispel that notion. Further underscoring his political reputation was his flirtation with running for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980 and his actively seeking it in 1988. (He withdrew after a dismal showing in the Iowa caucuses.)
General Haig’s interest in politics did not extend to oratory. The Washington Post’s George F. Will called him as “an aerobic instructor for the English language, making it twist and stretch.” His instructions took the form of “Haigspeak,” which uniquely combined periphrasis, convolution, and bureaucratese, with a healthy salting of neologisms. “Caveat” was a verb in Haigspeak, and “epistemologicallywise” an adverb.
Rest in peace, General Haig.