Friends and colleagues of the late Maj. Gen. John Renner, a former Fort Jackson commanding general, are raising funds for a memorial in his honor at his alma mater, the University of Arizona.
Renner, who served as the Fort Jackson’s 35th commanding general from 1989-91, lost his battle with leukemia Jan 6 at age 70. He is buried in Fort Jackson National Cemetery.
At the time of Renner’s death, Fort Jackson’s commanding general, Maj. Gen. James M. Milano, said “the Army, the nation and Fort Jackson and Columbia lost a great leader."
Renner was born June 21, 1940, in Phoenix and grew up in Glendale, Ariz., where he was a high school athlete and scholar.
He attended the University of Arizona on a football scholarship, playing tight end for the Wildcats for four years. He was also named an Academic All-American.
Renner was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army in 1962 through the University of Arizona’s Army ROTC program. He served two tours in Vietnam, first as a company commander with the 25th Division and later as a district senior adviser in the Mekong Delta.
Renner was wounded twice in Vietnam, each time receiving the Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest award for valor in combat, and the Purple Heart. His other decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Bronze Star with a V device, the Air Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
Renner’s career included several notable assignments such as deputy commander of Allied Land Forces for Southeastern Europe in Izmir, Turkey; assistant commander of the 1st Infantry Division; commander of the 1st Infantry Division Forward in Germany; and commander of the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.
After his 1994 retirement from the military after 32 years of service, Renner remained in Columbia and was active in the community. Friends and colleagues, through the University of Arizona Foundation, have set a goal of $50,000 for the memorial fund, according to a news release. Contributions will be first used to pay for the cost of a bronze bust of Renner, which will be in the ROTC building at the university. Creation of the bronze is underway and should be finished by the end of this summer.
The funds raised over and above the cost of the bronze bust and related expenses will be used to establish the Maj. Gen. John Renner Memorial Endowment for Army ROTC to provide scholarships for students enrolled in the Senior Army ROTC program at the university.