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Bruce Jacobs, Army major general

By — Adam Bernstein,

Bruce Jacobs, 85, a veteran of three wars who in 1985 retired from the Army at the rank of major general and became a top official of the National Guard Association of the United States, died Jan. 13 at his home in Kensington. He had myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone marrow disorder.

Gen. Jacobs joined the Army during World War II and served in the Pacific. He spent the next four decades in active and reserve duty and service in the Army National Guard, and many assignments focused on public affairs work. He was a Korean War veteran and went to Vietnam in the late 1960s as a special National Guard liaison officer.

In retirement, he spent 10 years with the National Guard Association, whose magazine he edited. He also served as executive director of the Historical Society of the Militia and National Guard, now called the National Guard Educational Foundation. He wrote several books of military history.

Gen. Jacobs was a native of Brooklyn. N.Y., and a graduate of New York University. He received a master’s degree in diplomatic history from Georgetown University. He also was a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa.

He was a past president of the Army and Navy Club in Washington, served on the National Battlefields Commission and played a key role in the creation of the memorial in Vierville, France, commemorating the National Guard’s role in the invasion of Normandy.

His decorations included the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.

His wife of 62 years, Shirley Klein Jacobs, died in 2009. Survivors include three children, Louisa Yates of Healdsburg, Calif., Martha Schilling of Edison, N.J., and Philip Jacobs of Bethesda; a sister; and four grandchildren.

— Adam Bernstein

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