HALL OF FAME
E-Mail: Museum Director
White Sands Missile Range
Page 5 of 33
General Waldo Laidlaw
Feb 1, 1956 - Jun 30, 1960
Major General Waldo E. Laidlaw, 5th Commander of
White Sands Proving Ground/Missile Range, was born on 20 September 1903. A
native of Cincinnati, Ohio, he began his military career in 1920 while at
Hughes High School, serving with the 147th Infantry of the Ohio National
Guard. He entered West Point in 1922, and upon graduation, in 1926, was
commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Infantry.
In 1931, after serving five years as an Infantry
Officer in the 10th and 31st Infantry Divisions, at Fort Thomas, Kentucky,
and in the Philippines, General Laidlaw transferred to the Ordnance Corps.
He received special schooling in Ordnance subjects at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (receiving a Bachelor of Science Degree in
mechanical engineering in 1931) and in June of that year, was promoted to
From 1931 until 1937, General Laidlaw was stationed at
Picatinny Arsenal, where his duties involved the development and manufacture
of ammunition. In June 1936, he was promoted to Captain.
From 1937 to 1939, General Laidlaw served with the 1st
Cavalry Division at Fort Bliss, Texas, and in the Office of the Chief of
Ordnance. His duties during this period mainly concerned troop training and
organization. From June 1939, to July 1942, he was first Assistant Chief and
then Chief of Military Organizations and Publications Division, Office of
the Chief of Ordnance. He was promoted to Major in February 1941, and to
Lieutenant Colonel in February 1942.
General Laidlaw was Ordnance Officer of the Overseas
Supply Division of the New York Port of Embarkation from July 1942 to July
1945. There he directed the shipment of all ordnance material to the
European and Mediterranean Theaters. He was promoted to Colonel in October
In July 1945, General Laidlaw was assigned similar
duties in Connection with the war in the Far East. Until December 1945, he
served as Oversea Supply Division Officer at the San Francisco Port of
Embarkation. He was then transferred to the European Command at Bad Nauheim,
Germany, where he served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Logistics. He
returned to the United States in July 1947.
From September 1947 to June 1951, General Laidlaw
served as Chief of the Ordnance Section, Fourth Army Headquarters, Fort Sam
Houston, Texas. He then served one year at The Ordnance School, Aberdeen
Proving Ground, Maryland, first as Assistant Commandant and then as
Commandant. During this time, he was promoted to Brigadier General (April
1952) and also served as Deputy Maneuver Director of LOGEX-52, the Army's
annual logistical exercise held at Camp Pickett, Virginia.
In July 1952, General Laidlaw was assigned as Deputy
Commanding General of the Ordnance Ammunition Center at Joilet, Illinois. He
assumed the command two months later, and remained there for nearly two
years. In June 1954, he was transferred to the Caribbean Command, where he
severed as Chief of Staff to Maj. Gen. Lionel C. McGarr, Commanding General
of all Army forces in the Caribbean, and as Assistant Division Commander,
23rd Infantry Division (26 June 1954 - February 1956). Laidlaw was promoted
to Major General, on 21 December 1955.
General Laidlaw took command of White Sands Missile
Range in February 1956. One of the most vital projects begun at White Sands
Missile Range under General Laidlaw's command was the preparation for and
testing of the NIKE ZEUS anti-missile-missile; the only anti-ICBM weapon
being developed in the Free World at that time.
General Laidlaw retired from active service on 30 June
1960 after 40 years military service.
General Laidlaw died on 3 Oct 1987.