Group to General Robert J. Wood, US Army
Group to General Robert J. Wood, US Army: Distinguished Service Medal, machine-engraved “Robert/J./Wood”; Legion of Merit, with one oak leaf cluster, wrap brooch, numbered “13851″;; Purple Heart. Slot brooch, unnamed, numbered “294111″; American Defense Service Medal, clasp “Foreign Service”; American Campaign Medal; Europe-Africa-Middle Est Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal; France Croix de Guerre, 1939, with gold star; Italy Cross Al Valore Militare, reribboned. With a dog tag (T-41); bullion West Point blazer patch; “Chief Oozlefinch” patch and numerous shoulder sleeve insignia from throughout his career. General Wood also received the Order of the British Empire, officer grade, for his services in Italy (location unknown).
General Robert Jefferson Wood was born in Petersburg, Virginia in June 1905. Graduating from West Point in 1930, he was commissioned into the Coast Artillery Corps. During World War II, he served in the G-3 section of the Fifth Army staff, under Major General Alfred Gruenther, who became his mentor. Following the war, he attended the National War College and was military aide to Secretary of Defense James Forrestal. In 1951, Wood was part of the Advanced Planning Group that created Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), becoming Staff Secretary of the Planning Group, again under Lt Gen Gruenther. Wood later became the Deputy Defense Advisor to the US Ambassador to NATO, in Paris. In 1956, he became the Commanding General of Fort Bliss and Commandant of the Antiaircraft Artillery and Guided Missile School. A year later, he became Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development. In 1960, as a lieutenant general, he took command of the Army Air Defense Command. In 1962, Wood became Director of Military Assistance with the rank of general. General Wood retired in 1965, but was recalled to serve in a study of future military base locations, retiring again in 1969. General Wood died in July 1986 and is buried at West Point.
The Oozlefinch is a mythical bird, first seen by the Coast Artillery Corps. It is seen as the protector of all Army missilemen. The “Chief Oozlefinch” is, by tradition, the senior Army missileman and head of the Army’s Antiaircraft Artillery and Guided Missile School.