Retired Army Lt. Gen. Leroy Lutes, 89, who was one of the foremost logistical planning and operations officers of World War II, died Wednesday at the Manor Care nursing home in Arlington. He had congestive heart failure.
From 1942 to October 1945, Gen. Lutes was director of operations of the Army Service Forces. The ASF prepared the over-all general logistic plans for support of the Army throughout the world during the war.
Although based in Washington, Gen. Lutes toured the Southwest Pacific and Pacific theaters, was a delegate to the Cairo Conference, and served with Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower for two months prior to the cross-channel invasion of Normandy and for another two months during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944-5.
Gen. Lutes described his job as making sure "the men have enough to eat, enough clothes to wear, and enough bullets to shoot." He also said that the secret was not only in getting the material but in making sure it got to the right place when needed. "It's a little like trying to have everything ready for dinner at the same time," he explained.
In October 1945 he was promoted to the command of the Army Service Forces and became responsible for the return and demobilization of overseas forces. He then became the first director of logistics of the General Staff of the Army.
Gen. Lutes was staff director of the Munitions Board in the office of the secretary of defense for two years before being named commander of the Fourth Army, with headquarters in San Antonio, Tex., in 1949. He retired from active duty in 1952.
After working in San Francisco for the Mansfield Tire & Rubber Company for five years, he retired a second time and had lived in Washington since 1957.
Gen. Lutes was a native of Cairo, Ill., and began his Army career with the National Guard in 1906. He received a Regular Army commission as a second lieutenant in 1917 after serving on the Mexican border with the Guard.
He was a graduate of the National and Army war colleges, the Command and General Staff School, and directed supply plans for the 1940 and 1941 Army maneuvers in Texas and Louisiana.
Gen. Lutes held two Distinguished Service Medals, the Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star Medal.
His first wife, Martha M. Lutes, died in 1953.
Survivors include his wife, Helen Kenney Lutes of Washington; a son by his first marriage, retired Army Col. Leroy Jr., of Alexandria; two grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Heart Fund, to the American Cancer Society, or to a charity of one's choice.