Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara speaks at a presentation of a documentary about his life in government at the University of California Berkeley campus January 4, 2004. McNamara graduated from the University of California Berkeley in 1937 with degrees in economics and philosophy, and went on to earn a master's degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1939.
Robert McNamara with John F. Kennedy at Hyannis Port, Mass. in 1961.
President Kennedy confers with Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, right, at the White House during the culmination of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, left, inspects Vietnamese civil guards during a visit to training operations at Song Mao, Vietnam.
Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, center, and U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Maxwell Taylor, left, confer with President John F. Kennedy prior to their visit to South Vietnam to review U.S. military efforts, in September 1963. McNamara was the first Republican appointed to the Kennedy cabinet in 1960.
From left, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, President Lyndon B. Johnson and Secretary of State Dean Rusk listen to the new U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam, General Maxwell Taylor, on Sept. 11, 1964. About one month earlier, President Johnson had asked for and received approval from Congress to take "all necessary action" against the Communist regime in North Vietnam. At the time, McNamara pledged his full support for the operation.
Robert McNamara holds a press conference about Vietnam at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 7, 1965. Before accepting President Kennedy's invitation to be Secretary of Defense, McNamara worked as a manager at Ford Motor Company from 1946 to 1960. After holding the office for less than five weeks, McNamara stepped down as president of Ford Motors in 1960 and accepted a salary as Secretary of Defense that was almost 1/15th of what he was making at Ford.
Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara displays a Chinese-made machine gun seized in South Vietnam on a Vietcong fighter, during a press conference on April 26, 1965. In a joint operation with South Vietnamese forces, American troops overran a network of trenches and tunnels in a Vietcong stronghold 30 miles east of Saigon on June 29, after American troops went onto the offensive for the first time in Vietnam.
Robert McNamara, left, Tom Braden, and Joseph Alsop, right, laugh together at a party in Washington.
Gerald Martineau-The Washington Post
McNamara, left, is welcomed to the U.S. Marine airfield at Chu Lia, South Vietnam, by Colonel John D. Noble, commanding officer of Marine Aircraft Group-12, during the Vietnam War on July 18, 1965. The Chu Lai airfield was the launching base for Marine attack squadrons.
Ssgt R. W. Savatt, Jr.-AFP/Getty Images
McNamara sits in a U.S. Army "Huey" helicopter during his one-day visit to the U.S. Marine airfield at Chu Lia, South Vietnam on July 18, 1965. In 1995, McNamara published "In Retrospect", a book discussing the mistakes he felt he was responsible for during the Vietnam war, conveying his strong sense of guilt and regret about Vietnam.
Ssgt R. W. Savatt, Jr.-AFP/Getty Images
Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and General William Westmoreland, Vietnam Assistance Command Commander, visit troops in Vietnam, September 1965. McNamara resigned as Secretary of Defense in 1968, largely because of his frustrations with the war. He was then president of the World Bank until 1981.
Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, left, meets with South Vietnamese chief of state Nguyen Van Thieu, right in 1966. Thieu led his nation in the war that shattered Vietnam and severely divided the United States.
Robert McNamara takes a call during a meeting.
Y.R. Okamoko-Lyndon Baines Johnson Library
Robert McNamara announces his retirement, with his wife by his side, in February 1968.
Robert McNamara in 1968.
Wally McNamee-The Washington Post
Robert McNamara and his wife greet the Mrs. L. K. Jha, wife of the Indian ambassador.
Harry Naltchayan-The Washington Post
Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara, left, shakes hands with Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap, who was Vietnamese communist army Commander in Chief during the Vietnam War, in Hanoi in Nov. 1965. McNamara was a member of a U.S. delegation led by the Council on Foreign Relations visiting Hanoi to discuss a proposed conference on the Vietnam War.
Hoang Dinh Nam-AFP/Getty Images
Robert S. McNamara in "Fog of War", a documentary released by Sony Pictures Classics in 2003 and nominated for an Oscar. The film is a portrait of McNamara, who discusses his regrets about the Vietnam War.
Photo By Claire Folger/ Sony Pic-photo by Claire Folger/ Sony Pic
Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and Diana Masieri talk with journalists after their wedding in St. Francis Basilica in Assisi, Italy, Sept. 16, 2004. McNamara married Italian-born widow Masieri in a private ceremony. The 88-year-old McNamara had been single since his first wife died of cancer in 1981.
Photo Editors Chris Dunn, Steve Cook
Producer Chris Dunn
Text Editor Amanda Lilly and Channing Turner