Major General Niles J. Fulwyler, U.S. Army, ret.
Major General Niles J. Fulwyler, U.S. Army, ret., 85 of Meridian died Saturday, January 11, 2014 at home of natural causes.
A funeral Mass will be held on January 24, 2014 at 10 a.m. at Holy Apostles Catholic Church in Meridian, Idaho. General Fulwyler will be interred at the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery with full military honors. Interment will occur at 12 noon January 24.
Major General Niles J. Fulwyler was born on a ranch November 13th, 1928 in Homedale, Idaho, the son of Niles and Mary Fulwyler. After the death of his father in 1936, he and his mother eventually moved to Bellefontaine, Ohio with his stepfather Clarence Hone. He graduated from high school and attended Bowling Green State University in Ohio, in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science. General Fulwyler also held a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from American University in Washington, D.C.
Upon graduating from college, General Fulwyler was commissioned a second lieutenant of field artillery in the Regular Army. This commenced 34 years of active duty in the Army. During this time, he served at various military installations in the United States and overseas.
General Fulwyler served in a number of important career building assignments during his military service preparatory to his assignments as a general officer. His early assignments were with the Army's first guided missile units. In 1962, he was selected for advanced civilian schooling where he was enrolled in the master's program in international relations at the American University in Washington, D.C. In 1964, he received his degree of Master of Arts with "Distinction".
After attendance at the Army's Command and General Staff College, he was assigned to the United Nations Command in Korea, where he served as a staff officer on various Armistice Commission issues. After a tour in headquarters, Department of the Army, and attendance at the Army War College, General Fulwyler saw combat in Vietnam on two tours of duty, first as an artillery battalion commander of the 101st Airborne Division, and later as a staff officer in a corps headquarters. He was instrumental in planning and executing some of the heaviest tactical and strategic bombing of the war as part of the defense against the North Vietnamese invasion of South Vietnam. As battalion commander, he saw combat in the Ashau Valley where he was wounded and received the Purple Heart.
From Vietnam, General Fulwyler was assigned back to Washington, D.C. where he was assigned to the Office of the Army Chief of Staff, and later to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense where he participated in the initial planning and discussions with the Soviet Union on mutual balanced force reductions in Europe. After this, he was assigned to the Foreign Service Institute, Department of Defense, where he participated in a series of seminars and studies involving various national and international issues. He traveled extensively throughout the United States and the world.
As a general officer, General Fulwyler held a variety of important command staff positions culminating in his final assignment as commanding general, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, the Army's largest overland test facility in the U.S. During his service as a general officer, he was the Army's recognized authority on nuclear and chemical matters. He served as chief of the Nuclear Activities Branch for the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe, and later as the director of the Nuclear and Chemical Directorate, Department of the Army and also as commanding general of the U.S. Army Nuclear and Chemical Agency. As commanding general of the White Sands Missile Range, he was responsible for the testing and evaluation of many of the Army's major weapon systems and component of systems.
After 34 years of service, General Fulwyler retired in June 1986 and was awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal and the Army Distinguished Service Medal for his service to the Department of Defense and the Army. Other awards and decorations, which he received, include the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Purple Heart, and numerous other service medals. In 1984, he was awarded the George Washington Gold Medal from the Valley Forge Freedom Foundation for patriotic speech.
Upon retirement, General Fulwyler retired to Santa Fe, New Mexico where he became a consultant to Los Alamos National Laboratory and to a number of other corporations dealing with defense issues. In 2001, he returned to his native state of Idaho to be near his beloved family.
Survivors include nieces Barbara Smith, her husband Carroll of Nampa; Donna Schmidt, Nampa; Sandi Thompson, her husband Jay of Nampa; Laura Lee, her husband J.R., Irrigon, OR; Cherie Mecham, her husband Hal of Caldwell; Lonnie Johnson of Caldwell; Shirley Cassidy of San Anselmo, CA; nephews Douglas Fulwyler, his wife Norma of Vale, OR; Joe Fulwyler, his wife Fay of Wasco, CA, Dr. Robert Fulwyler, his wife Pat of Boise; Richard Fulwyler, his wife Virginia of Salem, OR; Chester Fulwyler, his wife Sheila of Pocatello; Curtis Fulwyler, his wife Donna of Richland, WA; William Fulwyler, his wife Denise of Pasco, WA; numerous grand nieces and nephews and his former Army aide-de-camps who were like sons to him, Trent Keeble, his wife Emily of Houston, Texas and Randy Grunow, his wife Cathy, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. Also three godchildren who he deeply loved, Sara Polsonetti, Beverly, MA; Daniel Grunow, Albuquerque, NM and Kyle Keckler of Boise. He is also survived by his beloved sheltie sheep dog Rafe.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Wounded Warriors Project, www.woundedwarriorproject.org , the White Sands Museum Foundation, P.O. Box 171, White Sands, NM 88002, or to Pet Haven, Canyon County Pet Haven Inc., 333 W. Orchard Ave., Nampa, Idaho 83651 firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in Idaho Statesman on Jan. 19, 2014