COL (Retired) John Reitzell

Distinguished Member of the Regiment

Col. Reitzell served in the 82nd Airborne, the 4th Infantry Division, the 2nd Infantry Division and the 2nd Armored Divisions, November Company Rangers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade and commanded the famed 1st Battalion 509th Parachute Infantry and is in that unit's Hall of Fame. His assignments began at the platoon leader level and increased in responsibility through Brigade Command. He commanded two Infantry Battalions of over 700 Soldiers and a Brigade of over 2,500. In combat Col. Reitzell served as a commander in Light Infantry, Parachute Infantry, and Ranger Infantry. He served as the aide-de-camp for the Commander of the 2nd Armored Division, MG George Patton IV. After a tour at the United States Air Force Academy as 'the Army guy' where he was the Officer in Charge of the United States Air Force Parachute Team, The Wings Of Blue, Col. Reitzell spent 1982-83 in Korea as the operations officer of the 'Frontline Brigade' on the DMZ. What followed were multiple years in 'black' Special Ops at Ft. Bragg, where he deployed on 36 'real world' operations in support of the US Counter Terrorism mission. Operations such as the invasion of Grenada, the response to the hijacking of TWA 847 and the seizing of the cruise ship Achille Lauro by terrorists are examples of these missions. Tom Clancy chronicles Col. Reitzell's participation in the Achille Lauro response in the 'Chase' Chapter of his book "Shadow Warriors". New York Times best selling author W.E.B. Griffin has dedicated his series of "Presidential Agent" novels on the rising threat of terrorism to John. Col. Reitzell retired in 1997 as the Chief of Staff of the United States Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, and was inducted into the Madison County, Alabama Hall of Heroes in 2003.

While commander of the 1-509th he established and trained the Battalion to the 'one shot, one kill' at 150 meter standard. He established a NCO training program that became an Army standard known as the 'Reitzell 12 tenets'. He also used the Battalion to do 'How To' videos for light infantry units based on experiences at JRTC.

John speaks professionally for the Young America's Foundation and has addressed college students on 14 campuses since January 2007. He is the associate producer of a new documentary in conjunction with retired LTG Jerry Boykin. This free documentary highlights the Soldier malady known as 'moral injury'. Titled 'Honoring the Code' it is an attempt to slow the veteran suicide rate and premieres in Birmingham, Alabama on March 3rd.

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