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This year’s Honorary SMA is a decorated 4-star who survived a terror attack

Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey will bestow the title of “Honorary SMA” on a World War II veteran during his Monday luncheon at AUSA.

This year’s distinction goes to 94-year-old retired Gen. Frederick Kroesen, SMA spokesman Master Sgt. Tyrone Marshall told Army Times. Kroesen retired in 1983 after 39 years of service, ending his career as the vice chief of staff of the Army.

Official photo for Gen. Frederick Kroesen (Wikimedia Commons).
Official photo for Gen. Frederick Kroesen (Wikimedia Commons).

But the four-star, who boasts three Combat Infantryman Badges, two Silver Stars and a Distinguished Flying Cross, is best known for surviving a 1981 terrorist attack while he was commander of U.S. Army Europe.

General Frederick Kroesen, presides over a change of command ceremony while serving as U.S. Army Europe commander on July 1, 1982 in Grafenwoehr, Germany (Wikimedia Commons).
General Frederick Kroesen, presides over a change of command ceremony while serving as U.S. Army Europe commander on July 1, 1982 in Grafenwoehr, Germany (Wikimedia Commons).

On Sept. 15, 1981, Kroesen was riding through Heidlberg, Germany, with his wife when a rocket-propelled granade exploded in the trunk of their armored Mercedes, the New York Times reported at the time.

The assassination attempt had been coordinated by the Baader-Meinhof gang — known as the Red Army Faction in English — a left wing, Soviet-sympathizing terrorist group active in West Germany during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Kroesen and his wife survived the attack with only minor cuts, according the New York Times.

The retired general, now an AUSA fellow, is the third recipient of Dailey’s honorary SMA title. Former honorees include retired Lt. Gen. David Grange Jr. and retired Gen. Gordon Sullivan.

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