|John Henry Geiger|
|National Commander, American Legion|
|Preceded by||Alfred P. Chamie|
|Succeeded by||Joe L. Matthews|
|Born||June 19, 1925|
Council Bluffs, Iowa, U.S.
|Died||January 10, 2011 (aged 85)|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Vivienne DeBaets Geiger|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1944-1945|
|Unit||4th Armored Division, 11th Armored Division|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Battle of the Bulge|
John Henry Geiger (June 19, 1926 – January 10, 2011) was an American Legion National Commander from 1971–1972 during the Vietnam War, he served during the Second World War in the 11th Armored Division and fought at the Battle of the Bulge. Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn named May 1 " John Geiger Day" in his honor.
John Geiger was born to Hugo and Martha Geiger in Council Bluffs, Iowa on June 19, 1925. He moved several times during his youth, living in Minden, Crespo, Belle Plaine, and Winterset Iowa. His father directed units of the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. His father Hugo was influential in bringing the American Legion to Iowa starting John's interest in the subject.
At age 17, Geiger joined the American Army. He served in the 11th Armored Division, 42nd Tank Battalion, and then the 4th Armored Division, 35th Tank Battalion. During Geiger's service, he participated in the Battle of the Bulge and the Army of Occupation in Germany. After the war ended Geiger returned to the United States.
Upon returning to the United States, Geiger went to the University of Illinois where he received an Architecture and an Engineering degree. Geiger returned to Iowa and started his own architecture firm, "John H. Geiger and Associates". In 1966, he was offered a position at United Airlines, which he accepted. While famed architect Helmut Jahn designed United's O'Hare Terminal 1 in 1987, Geiger who supervised its construction.
American Legion career
Geiger joined the American Legion before leaving active service in 1945. Geiger having experince with the Legion through his father succeeded, becoming Illinois Commander in 1960 and National Commander in 1971. His tenure as National Commander was marked with his campaign for better healthcare for veterans and opposition to blanket amnesty for draft dodgers. Geiger was also a staunch defender of presidential power during the Vietnam war saying, " Any limitations on the ability of the president as commander in chief to conduct military operations in southeast Asian would endanger the lives of our fighting men and make more difficult the achievement of a just peace". Geiger believed those who objected to President Richard Nixon's war policies were " divisive and defeatist and likely to encourage Hanoi in its demands". On 1 March 1971, Geiger spoke before the US Senate Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure of the Committee on Judiciary on the American Legion's opposition to draft dodging, he believed Amnesty would devastate morale of those who served in the war and dishonored the memory of the dead. A large project of Geiger's was the Three Letter Campaign as Geiger advised each member of the legion to write three letters: one to their congressman and one to each senator. The purpose of the campaign was to improve the GI Bill for veterans of Vietnam. He later served on the National Commander's Advisory Committee from 1978 to 1999.
- "Honoring a Legion icon". The American Legion. http://www.legion.org/library/15022/honoring-legion-icon. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
- "John Geiger". Chicago Sun Times. 13 January 2011. http://legacy.suntimes.com/obituaries/chicagosuntimes/obituary.aspx?pid=147773841. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
- Daday, Eileen (17 January 2011). "Des Plaines man who led national American Legion dies at 85". Daily Herald. http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110117/news/701179845/. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
- "PNC Geiger passes away". The American Legion. http://www.legion.org/library/94290/pnc-geiger-passes-away. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
- "The 'fifth pillar' of The American Legion". The American Legion. http://www.legion.org/library/94368/fifth-pillar-american-legion. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
- Rumer, Thomas A. (1990). The American Legion : an official history, 1919-1989. New York: M. Evans. p. 424. ISBN 0-87131-622-6.
- "JOHN H. GEIGER’S TESTIMONY BEFORE THE US SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE ON ADMINISTRATIVVE PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE OF THE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY, MARCH 1, 1972". https://www.gilderlehrman.org/sites/default/files/inline-pdfs/John%20Geiger%20Testimony%201972%20abridged.pdf. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
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