Cherished AER Board Member, WWII, Vietnam Veteran passes

Retired Lt. Gen. Richard Trefry

It is with great sadness that Army Emergency Relief bids farewell to retired Lt. Gen. Richard Trefry, who passed away Feb. 25 at the age of 98.

Trefry served his country his entire adult life, starting as an enlisted Soldier during World War II. AER is thankful for his decades-long contributions to the organization as a member and emeritus member of the board.

“At AER meetings and social events, you could not miss Lt. Gen. Trefry in his bright red coat as he shared his amazing Army stories from World War II right up to the present,” said retired Lt. Gen. Raymond Mason, AER director. “His wise counsel to the board and myself was always spot on and much appreciated. However, it was his sense of humor that really shined. His star has been dimmed, but his light and dedication to our Nation, the U.S. Army, and especially to Soldiers and military Families will be remembered and cherished forever.”

Trefry enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943 and served three years before attending the United States Military Academy. He commissioned in 1950 as a field artillery officer.

He led field artillery units in Germany; Korea; Fort Sill; Vietnam; and Fort Hood, Texas. He taught Soldiers at Fort Sill; Fort Belvoir, Virginia; and future leaders at his alma mater, according to the United States Field Artillery Association.

Trefry’s leadership extended beyond the field artillery branch and he was selected to serve in key positions across the world — Army Headquarters in Hawaii; Deputy Chief of the Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group in Bangkok, Thailand; Defense Attaché in Vientiane, Laos; Director of Human Resources Development in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel; Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel; and Director of Management, Office of the Chief of Staff.

He served as Inspector General of the United States Army from 1977 to 1983, his last assignment in uniform. Trefry’s contributions to his country continued after his retirement, serving as senior fellow of the Institute for Land Warfare; Military Assistant to the President of the United States during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm; and program manager for the Army Force Management System, according to information from the Association of the U.S. Army, an organization for which he was a senior fellow since 1984.

Trefry was a wonderful, humble person and a walking Wikipedia when it came to the Army, retired Col. Eldon Mullis, AER deputy director, said.

“He was extremely dedicated Army Emergency Relief and its mission of taking care of Soldiers and Army Families,” Mullis said.

In lieu of flowers, the Trefry Family requests donations be made to Army Emergency Relief.

Read Lt. Gen. Richard Greenleaf Trefry’s obituary

A group of eight people stand in front of a festive backdrop and pose for a photo.
Retired Lt. Gen. Richard Trefry (far left) poses for a photo with other members of the Army Emergency Relief board during the organization’s holiday party in December 2022. (Photo by Amanda Kim Stairrett, AER)