Retired Gen. Crosbie E. Saint, a former III Corps and Fort Hood commander, died at age 81 in Bethesda, Maryland.
Saint, who commanded the corps from June 1985 to June 1988, received his fourth star after leaving Fort Hood and taking command of U.S. Army Europe from 1988 to 1992. He died on May 7, according to the Army.
“We received news of the passing of Gen. Saint, a former III Corps commander, with sadness,” Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, current corps commander, said on a Facebook post. “The Phantom Corps extends heartfelt thoughts and prayers to Gen. Saint’s family and friends as we mourn his passing.”
According to a release by U.S. Army Europe, Crosbie Edgerton Saint was born Sept. 29, 1936 and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1958. He received his commission as a second lieutenant in the Armor branch. He served two tours in Vietnam and five tours with U.S. Army Europe. He was a lieutenant on border duty when the Berlin Wall was erected and was commanding general of U.S. Army Europe when the wall fell.
To the enlisted men who were under his command, Saint was known as a “soldier’s soldier,” said retired Command Sgt. Maj. William “Joe” Gainey, who served as the III Corps and Fort Hood command sergeant major at start of the War on Terror and later retired as the first senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“I didn’t have the honor to serve with him directly, but I served with a lot of soldiers who did,” said Gainey, who still lives in the Fort Hood area. “What I heard from soldiers was that he was an amazing leader. Only enlisted (soldiers) can call an officer a ‘soldier’s soldier,’ and they’re called that because they care about the little people. These are leaders who dismounted, got down on the ground and fought alongside them.”
Saint was truly interested in ensuring all of his soldiers were trained to the highest standards, said retired Lt. Gen. Pete Taylor, a former III Corps and Fort Hood commander who lives in Harker Heights.
“He was the III Corps commander when I commanded (National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California), and he always came out to visit when one of his brigades was training there,” he said. “He did a lot for III Corps when he commanded — he was very interested in training and supported our efforts at NTC. Sometimes he was tough on me as a commander to make sure he had the best training for his units.”
He was also tough on his own people, ensuring they got the most out of their training, Taylor said.
“He was revered by a lot of people in the Army, to include me,” he said. “He stayed active even after he retired. I would see him every year at the (Association of the U.S. Army) convention. His nickname was ‘Butch,’ same as (retired Lt. Gen. Paul Funk), so we called him Gen. Butch Saint. He was quite a gentleman and he did a lot for this community while he was here.”
Of interesting note, Saint was the brainchild behind the the “Phantom Warior” statue seen in the III Corps headquarters atruim. The inspiration for the statue came about when Saint assumed command of III Corps and Fort Hood in 1985. He wanted to provide a critical symbol to convey his vision of the heavy maneuver force.
In April 1986, an agreement between artist Frank Frazetta and Saint allowed III Corps to use “The Death Dealer” as a III Corps symbol. “The Death Dealer” was Frazetta’s iconic 1973 fantasy painting. The figure was referred to as the “Phantom Warrior” and has served as the III Corps symbol since.
The statue was unveiled in September 2009.
Saint will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, at a date to be determined.
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