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Major General John C. Raaen, Jr.'s U.S./Colt M15 Semi-Automatic General Officer's Pistol
This is the second of the .45 caliber General Officer's pistols to be customized at Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois. Presented to Major General John C. Raaen, Jr., USA SN GO2
Major General John Carpenter Raaen, Jr. the son of a career Army officer, was born at Fort Benning, Georgia on April 22, 1922. He graduated from Frankford High School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1939. Raaen was appointed a member of the Class of 1943 at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, where he served as Cadet Captain and Regimental Supply Officer. Upon graduation, he received a commission as Second Lieutenant, Corps of Engineers.
After his initial assignment to the Engineer School at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, he joined the 55th Armored Engineer Battalion, 10th Armored Division at Fort Benning, where he served as a battalion staff officer and platoon leader. In October 1943, Lieutenant Raaen was assigned to the newly activated 5th Ranger Infantry Battalion at Camp Forrest, Tennessee.
During this period of his career, he underwent extensive commando and amphibious assault training in Florida, England, and Scotland. He participated in the Normandy invasion on June 6, 1944, serving as a Headquarters Company Commander at Omaha Beach. He received a Silver Star and Combat Infantryman Badge for his actions on D-Day. He served with the 5th Ranger Battalion in France, Belgium, and Germany until December 1944, when he was evacuated to the United States for treatment of injuries received during the Saar Campaign.
His combat service also earned the European-African-Middle East Campaign Medal with arrowhead and three campaign stars, a Distinguished Unit Citation (5th Rangers - Normandy), and a Meritorious Unit Citation. Captain Raaen married Emily Berry in June 1945, and one month later, he was posted to West Point as an Ordnance Instructor. He remained in this assignment for three years before attending the U.S. Naval Academy Post-Graduate School in Annapolis, Maryland. Upon completion of his studies, he spent an additional two years at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where he received a Master of Arts Degree in Physics in 1951.
Newly promoted to the rank of Major, he reported to the Pentagon as Executive Officer, Ammunition Development Branch, Office of the Chief of Ordnance. From September 1954 until July 1955, Major Raaen attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas before beginning a two-year assignment to Korea in August 1955, first as Executive Officer, Eighth Army Ordnance Section, then as Commander, 83rd Ordnance Battalion (Ammunition).
In January 1957, Major Raaen returned to the United States to begin his tour as an Ordnance Board Project Officer at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland. After promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in early 1959, he was assigned as a Staff Officer on the Military Liaison Committee to the Atomic Energy Commission, Germantown, Maryland. After serving in this capacity for three years, he attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort Leslie J. McNair, Washington, DC. After completing the course in June 1963, Lt. Col. Raaen began a two-year assignment to Berlin, Germany, where he served in succession as Ordnance Officer, Assistant Chief of Staff, G1 (Personnel), and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Berlin Brigade.
He also served as Commanding Officer of the U.S. Army Ammunition Depot at Miesau, West Germany, but this assignment was curtailed after two months, at which time he returned to the United States as Commander of the U.S. Army Research Office in Durham, North Carolina. While serving in this assignment, he was promoted to Colonel on October 12, 1965. Colonel Raaen returned to Aberdeen Proving Grounds in January 1967 as Commander of the three Army Materiel Command laboratories at the post Ð the Ballistics Research Laboratories, the Human Engineering Laboratories, and the Coating and Chemical Laboratory.
During his tour, he consolidated these facilities and the Nuclear Defense Laboratories, Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland, as the Aberdeen Research and Development Center. In January 1969, he began an 11-month assignment to Headquarters, United States Army, Vietnam, where he served in turn as Chief, G4 (Ammunition Division), Chief, G4 (Supply Division), and Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, G4 (Supply Division). During his service in Southeast Asia, he earned the Vietnam Service Medal with 4 campaign stars. In December 1969, Colonel Raaen was assigned to the Pentagon as Director of Ammunition, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Army General Staff. He was promoted to Brigadier General in July 1970.
In June 1971, he was assigned to Headquarters, Army Mobility Equipment Command, St. Louis, Missouri, as Commanding General, where he received his second star one year later. Major General Raaen became Commanding General, Headquarters, Army Weapons Command at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois in December 1972. General Raaen had received an issue Colt .32 caliber General Officer Pistol, but he exchanged this for a rare Colt .45 caliber M15 General Officer Pistol, Serial Number GO2, in May 1973 while he served in this assignment. In July 1973, he organized and assumed command of the U.S. Army Armament Command, which consisted of the recently merged Weapons and Munitions Commands. After three years at Rock Island Arsenal, Major General Raaen was assigned to Washington as Acting Deputy Director, Defense Supply Agency in October 1975.
From June 1976 until his retirement in April 1979, he served as Commander, Defense Fuel Supply Center. In addition to his combat awards and decorations, Major General Raaen also received the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Bronze Star with "V" device and Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Army Commendation Medal.