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WEBER, LAVERN ERICK (1923-1999)

Born in Lone Wolf, Oklahoma, on September 3, 1923, LaVern E. Weber served as director of the U.S. Army National Guard and as chief of the National Guard Bureau. He actively promoted the recruitment of minorities and was a leader in the formation of the policy in which the National Guard assumed a more critical role in the army's structure and missions.

Weber briefly attended the University of Oklahoma before receiving a commission in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve through Officer Candidate School during World War II. He graduated from Oklahoma's East Central State College (now East Central University) in 1948 before joining the Oklahoma National Guard as a second lieutenant. He was mobilized in 1950 with the Forty-fifth Infantry Division for the Korean War and saw combat with the 180th Infantry Regiment.

After the war Weber served in command and staff assignments in the Oklahoma National Guard before Gov. Henry Bellmon appointed him adjutant general in 1965. Weber became director of the Army National Guard in 1971 and served in that position until appointed chief of the National Guard Bureau in 1974. He became the first National Guard Bureau chief to attain the rank of lieutenant general. He later served as deputy commanding general of mobilization for the U.S. Army Forces Command and as military executive of the Defense Department Reserve Forces Policy Board.

Throughout his career Weber was committed to equal opportunity and the modernization of the National Guard. He died accidentally on his ranch near Perry, Oklahoma, on December 30, 1999.

SEE ALSO: OKLAHOMA NATIONAL GUARD, WORLD WAR II.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 18 January 2000. Perry (Oklahoma) Daily Journal, 3 January 2000. "LaVern E. Weber," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

David L. Frazier

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