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United States Senator from New Hampshire (2011–2017)

Kelly Ann Ayotte (/ˈeɪɒt/; born June 27, 1968) is an American attorney and politician who served as a United States Senator for New Hampshire from 2011 to 2017. She is a Republican.

Born and raised in Nashua, New Hampshire, Ayotte is a graduate of Nashua High School, Pennsylvania State University and Villanova University School of Law. She worked as a law clerk for the New Hampshire Supreme Court before entering private practice. She also worked as a prosecutor for the New Hampshire Department of Justice, and briefly served as the legal counsel to New Hampshire Governor Craig Benson, before returning to the Department of Justice to serve as Deputy Attorney General of New Hampshire.

In June 2004, Governor Benson appointed Ayotte as Attorney General of New Hampshire, after the resignation of Peter Heed. She became the first and only woman to serve as New Hampshire's Attorney General, serving from 2004 to 2009, after she was twice reappointed by Democratic governor John Lynch. In July 2009, Ayotte resigned as Attorney General to pursue a bid for the U.S. Senate, after three-term incumbent Judd Gregg announced his retirement from the Senate.

In September 2010, Ayotte won a close victory over lawyer Ovide M. Lamontagne in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. She then defeated Democratic congressman Paul Hodes in the general election with 60% of the vote and was sworn into the U.S. Senate as a member of the 112th Congress on January 3, 2011. Ayotte was mentioned as a possible running mate for Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.[2][3] An August 2013 Newsmax magazine cover story named Ayotte No. 1 among the 25 most influential women in the GOP, calling her "an emerging force in Congress."[4]

In 2016, Ayotte was defeated in her bid for reelection by Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan by a very narrow margin of 1,017 votes (0.14%).[5] After President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court, the administration chose Ayotte to lead the White House team escorting the nominee to meetings and hearings on Capitol Hill.[6] Ayotte was chosen by Senator John McCain to deliver a Bible reading at his memorial service in Washington D.C. on September 1, 2018.


Early life, education, and career[edit]

Ayotte was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, on June 27, 1968, the daughter of Kathleen M. (née Sullivan) and Marc Frederick Ayotte. Her father's family is of French-Canadian descent.[7] Ayotte attended Nashua High School and received a B.A. from Pennsylvania State University in political science.[8] While at Penn State, she was initiated into the Delta Gamma sorority.[9] In 1993, Ayotte received a J.D. from Villanova University School of Law, where she had served as editor of the Environmental Law Journal.[10]

Ayotte clerked for Sherman D. Horton, associate justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, for one year. From 1994 to 1998, she was an associate at McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton, a Manchester law firm.[11]

In 1998, Ayotte joined the office of the New Hampshire Attorney General as a prosecutor. In 2001, she married Joseph Daley, a fighter pilot in the New Hampshire Air National Guard.[12] In 2003, Ayotte became legal counsel to Governor Craig Benson. Three months later, she returned to the Attorney General's office as Deputy Attorney General.[13] In June 2004, Governor Benson appointed Ayotte as Attorney General of the State of New Hampshire after Peter Heed resigned.[14] Ayotte had both of her children while serving as the first and only female New Hampshire Attorney General.[15]

New Hampshire Attorney General[edit]

Clean air emissions standards[edit]

Ayotte joined Attorneys General from eight other states to sue federal regulators over a rules change that made clean air emissions standards for power plants less strict and eliminated clean air reporting and monitoring requirements.[16][17]

In 2005, the court agreed with Ayotte and the others that the Environmental Protection Agency must measure changes in the emissions from power plants and could not exempt power plants from reporting their emissions.[17]

Prosecution of murder cases[edit]

As assistant attorney general, Ayotte prosecuted two defendants for the 2001 Dartmouth College murders in Etna, New Hampshire.

As attorney general, Ayotte prosecuted the high-profile case surrounding the 2006 murder of Manchester police officer Michael Briggs in the line of duty. It resulted in a conviction and death penalty sentence. Members of Briggs's family praised her leadership in television ads for her 2010 Senate campaign.[19][20]

Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England[edit]

Main article: Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England

In 2003, the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire found the Parental Notification Prior to Abortion Act, a New Hampshire law requiring parental notification of a minor's abortion, unconstitutional, and enjoined its enforcement. In 2004, New Hampshire Attorney General Peter Heed appealed the ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which affirmed the district court's ruling. In 2004, Ayotte appealed the First Circuit's ruling to the Supreme Court, over the objection of incoming Democratic Governor John Lynch. Ayotte personally argued the case before the Supreme Court.

Kelly Ayotte with her two children, at her third and final swearing-in as the first and only woman to serve as New Hampshire Attorney General

The Supreme Court unanimously vacated the district court's ruling and remanded the case back to the district court, holding that it was improper for the district court to invalidate the statute completely instead of just severing the problematic portions of the statute or enjoining the statute's unconstitutional applications.[21] In 2007, the law was repealed by the New Hampshire legislature, mooting the need for a rehearing by the district court.[22]

In 2008, Planned Parenthood sued to recover its attorney fees and court costs from the New Hampshire Department of Justice.[23] In 2009, Ayotte, as attorney general, authorized a payment of 0,000 to Planned Parenthood to settle the suit.[24]

New Hampshire Institute of Politics[edit]

Ayotte served as a board member of the Public Advisory Board at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College while Attorney General.[25] In March 2011 she returned to the Institute as a senator to talk to political science students.[26]

On May 28, 2013, Ayotte attended a forum at Saint Anselm College to explain the Never Contract With the Enemy Act (S. 675), which she co-sponsored with Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).[27] She was accompanied by Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen. They addressed military contractor fraud and how to prevent funds paid to military contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq from winding up in the hands of parties hostile to the United States.[28]

U.S. Senate[edit]

2010 election[edit]

Main article: United States Senate election in New Hampshire, 2010

Kelly Ayotte's son, Jake, age 2, helps her cast her ballot

Ayotte resigned as attorney general on July 7, 2009, to explore a run for U.S. Senate in 2010.[29][30] The crowded Republican primary field included former congressional and gubernatorial candidate Ovide M. Lamontagne, businessman and owner of NH1 News William Harrison Binnie, and State Representative Tom Alciere. Ayotte had never run for office, but won the primary election on September 14, 2010.[29][31] In the general election, Ayotte defeated Democratic nominee U.S. Representative Paul Hodes, Libertarian nominee Ken Blevens, and Independent Chris Booth with 60 percent of the vote.[32]


Senator Ayotte speaking for 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney

Ayotte was endorsed by John McCain, Sarah Palin, John Thune, Tom Coburn, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, and Rick Santorum.[33] According to one senior GOP aide, "The addition of a Republican woman from New England who's young, who's a mom … all of these things broaden the Republican party's appeal and say to different segments of the population, 'This party has folks in it that are just like you.'"[33]

2016 election[edit]

Main article: United States Senate election in New Hampshire, 2016

Kelly Ayotte kicks off her 2016 campaign as her daughter, Kate, cheers in the background

In 2016 Ayotte ran for reelection to the U.S. Senate against Maggie Hassan, New Hampshire's sitting governor.[34]

In February 2016, the Koch Brothers-linked conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity announced that Ayotte was the lone vulnerable Republican U.S. Senator the group would not be supporting in 2016, due to Ayotte's support for the Clean Power Plan to combat climate change.[35]

On May 4, 2016, an Ayotte spokeswoman said Ayotte "intends to support the Republican nominee" for U.S. President but did not plan to make an endorsement.[36] In October 2016, after lewd sexual comments Republican nominee Donald Trump made in a 2005 video came to light, Ayotte said that as a mother and a former prosecutor who had worked with victims, she could no longer vote for Trump[37] and would write in Mike Pence for president.[38]

Ayotte narrowly lost the election to Hassan.


Ayotte poses for a selfie at her annual supporter picnic

Ayotte was endorsed by the New Hampshire Troopers' Association, the New England Narcotics Enforcement Officers' Association, and the Manchester Police Patrolmen's Association.[39]

Ayotte was endorsed by the New Hampshire Union Leader, the Nashua Telegraph, the Caledonian-Record, and the Portsmouth Herald. The Herald endorsement was notable as it had endorsed Ayotte's opponent, Maggie Hassan, in Hassan's prior runs for office.[40]


Jobs and the economy[edit]

Ayotte partnered with Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, to offer the Manufacturing Skills Act and the Manufacturing Universities Act. Both bills were aimed at better preparing students for 21st century jobs and connecting graduates with employers who have jobs sitting open for lack of skilled workers.[41][42]

She helped include provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act to boost STEM education, particularly among girls and underrepresented minorities, and to support career and technical education in schools.[43][44]

Ayotte strongly opposed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's proposal to pass significant at-sea monitoring costs to New Hampshire's fishermen and brought NOAA officials to New Hampshire to hear from fishermen impacted.[45] NOAA later backed off forcing fishermen to pay the full cost.[46]

National security[edit]

Ayotte served on the Senate Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, and was widely regarded as a leader on national security and foreign policy.[47][48][49]

Ayotte led legislative efforts to keep terrorists at Guantanamo Bay rather than closing that base and transferring them to U.S. soil.[50]

She has been an outspoken critic of the Iran nuclear deal, noting that Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.[51] She proposed strict new sanctions on Iran.[52]

Ayotte was critical of the Obama administration's response to ISIS, and released a comprehensive plan to destroy ISIS.[53]

Heroin epidemic[edit]

Ayotte was one of four senators, two Republicans and two Democrats, who introduced the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, federal legislation to support local solutions and implement a comprehensive federal strategy to tackle the heroin and prescription opioid abuse epidemic.[54] The bill was structured around prevention, treatment, recovery, and support for first responders.

Ayotte also co-sponsored bills to better care for infants born addicted or in withdrawal and help expectant and new mothers struggling with addiction get treatment.[55][56] She backed successful efforts to better look after kids in schools who are struggling with addiction issues at home and to stop the flow of drugs across the southern border.[43][57]

College affordability[edit]

She offered the Student Loan Relief Act to allow borrowers to refinance their student loans at interest rates lower than the federal rate.[58]

Ayotte cosponsored legislation to establish a single, simplified income-driven student loan repayment option and to make it easier for employers to assist their employees with loan repayment.[59][60]

Ayotte was a vocal proponent of reauthorizing the Perkins Loan program, as she argued roughly 5,000 New Hampshire students relied on it.[61]

Ayotte supported making the money that parents save for their kids' college tax-free.[62]

Military and veterans issues[edit]

Ayotte routinely included provisions in annual defense authorization bills that support the important work being done at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Pease Air National Guard Base, and by the New Hampshire National Guard. She is also strongly opposed to further rounds of the base realignment and closing commission.[63]

Ayotte included provisions in the Veterans' Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014 to allow New Hampshire veterans to receive medical care closer to home.[64] Ayotte has pushed back on cuts to veterans' benefits.[65]

She was the only member of the New Hampshire delegation to vote against a budget proposal the singled out veterans' benefits for cuts.[66] She has offered and cosponsored legislation to give veterans access to cutting edge prosthetics, strengthen mental health services for veterans and their families, and improve the support system for military families.[67][68][69]

Fiscal policy and taxes[edit]

Ayotte supported comprehensive tax reform to simplify the tax code and lower rates. She has said she believes it would help bring back trillions of dollars parked overseas.[70]

In December 2015, Ayotte voted to suspend the Medical Device Tax, which she says threatens nearly 3,500 manufacturing jobs in New Hampshire.[71] She is also a leading opponent of the Internet sales tax.[72]

Ayotte supported a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and helped pass the Senate's first balanced budget in fourteen years.[73]

Ayotte offered a variety of legislation to eliminate wasteful spending and duplicate or unnecessary programs.[49]

Women and family policies[edit]

Ayotte offered the Gender Advancement in Pay Act to implement New Hampshire's equal pay law at the federal level, as explained under in "Labor issues".[74]

Ayotte and Democratic New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen co-sponsored a bill to combat pregnancy discrimination in the workplace and ensure expectant mothers can continue working during their pregnancy.[75]

She offered and cosponsored legislation to make it easier for employers to offer flex-time to working parents and to expand access to affordable childcare.[76][77]


Ayotte sponsored 217 bills, including:[78]

112th Congress (2011–2012)[edit]

  • S. 944 and S. 982, bills to keep the Guantanamo Bay detention camp open, to prohibit prisoners held there from being released back to their country of origin, and to prohibit the construction or modification of any facilities used to house any individual under detention at Guantanamo, introduced May 11 and 12, 2011
  • S. 1704, a bill to reduce the number of strategic airlift aircraft used by the United States Air Force from 316 to 301, introduced October 13, 2011
  • S. 1996, a bill to require the Congressional Budget Office to release macroeconomic reports alongside its budget reports for major bills and resolutions (which the bill defines), introduced December 15, 2011, reintroduced in the 113th Congress as S. 184
  • S. 2320, a bill to treat Clark Veterans Cemetery in the Republic of the Philippines as a permanent military cemetery in a foreign country under the purview of the American Battle Monuments Commission, and to have the Commission restore and maintain the cemetery, introduced April 19, 2012. While this bill did not become law, an agreement has since been made between the U.S. and Philippine governments to do what the bill intended.[79]

113th Congress (2013–2014)[edit]

  • S. 31, a bill to permanently ban state and local governments from imposing taxes on the access to the internet and on goods sold by means of the internet, introduced January 22, 2013.[80]
  • S. 263, a bill to prohibit federal agencies from hiring more than one employee for every three full-time employees who leave employment from that agency until the Office of Management and Budget determines that employment in that agency is at least 10% less than it was previously, and to prohibit members of Congress from receiving a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in their pay in years in which the federal government has a budget deficit, introduced February 7, 2013.[81]
  • S. 862, a bill to allow certain individuals to be exempted from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's minimum essential health care coverage requirements if one's religious beliefs would cause them to object to medical care provided under any of the requirements, introduced May 6, 2013.
  • S. 1406, introduced July 31, 2013, a bill to permit the Secretary of Agriculture to issue regulations for the issuance of permits for people hired for the management of horse shows, exhibitions, auctions, and sales, requiring all such individuals to be qualified to identify instances of soring. Individuals receiving the permits must be cleared of any potential conflicts of interest and preference is to be given to accredited veterinarians. The bill further makes it a crime for any person to sell, auction, exhibit, or race any sore horse, and bans Tennessee Walking Horses, Racking horses, and Spotted Saddle horses from being sold, auctioned, exhibited, or raced if they are equipped with any action device (which the bill defines) or equipment that would alter the gait of the horse. A companion bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives as H.R. 1518.[82]
  • S. 1764, a bill to prohibit the Department of Defense from retiring the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II until a sufficient number of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs have been constructed to replace the existing A-10s, introduced November 21, 2013.[83]
  • S. 1869, a bill to repeal the provision of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 that reduces the COLA to the retirement pay of members of the Armed Forces under age 62, and to require individuals claiming the refundable portion of the child tax credit to include their Social Security number on their tax returns, introduced December 19, 2013. The first part of this bill is identical to another bill, S. 1963, sponsored by Senator Mark Pryor.
  • S. 1977, which has the same provisions as S. 1869, but also requires the name and Social Security number of the qualifying child of the individual claiming the tax credit to be on the tax return, introduced January 30, 2014.
  • S. 2355 and S. 2377, bills to exempt from the federal income tax any benefits received from a disability program for public safety officers if such disability was acquired as a result of an injury sustained in the line of duty, introduced May 20 and 21, 2014.

Committee assignments (114th Congress)[edit]

  • Committee on Armed Services
  • Committee on the Budget
  • Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
    • Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security (Chairwoman)
    • Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet
    • Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard
    • Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security
  • Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship


During her time in the Senate, Ayotte received a number of awards for her legislative activity from a variety of civic organizations and interest groups, including the National Retail Federation,[84]CCAGW PAC,[85] the AARP,[86]Save the Children,[87] the New Hampshire Veterans of Foreign Wars,[88] the National Association of Police Organizations,[89] and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.[90]

After the Senate[edit]

Ayotte has been named to several corporate boards of directors, including Caterpillar Inc., News Corp., BAE Systems, Boston Properties, Blink Health, Bloom Energy, and Blackstone Group.[91]

Political positions[edit]

Ayotte has been described as both a conservative Republican and a centrist.[92] After her 2010 election, the Associated Press referred to Ayotte as "a conservative Republican" and two years later, NBC News described her "unique identity in the Senate as a Northeastern conservative Republican woman."[93][94][95][96] She demonstrated centrist tendencies in her voting record, including working with Democrats on some issues.[97][98][99]The New York Times described her as a moderate Republican.[100] The Lugar Center at Georgetown University ranked Ayotte as the 11th most bipartisan member of the U.S. Senate during the 113th Congress.[101] The American Conservative Union gave her a 64% lifetime score and the progressive Americans for Democratic Action gave her a 35% score; the nonpartisan National Journal gave her a composite score of 67% conservative and 33% liberal based on her voting record.[102]

Immigration policy[edit]

Ayotte voted for the comprehensive immigration reform bill (the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013) brought forward by the bipartisan Gang of Eight, calling it a "a thoughtful, bipartisan solution to a tough problem."[103][104] She has been a vocal critic of the practice of sanctuary cities and voted to withhold federal funding from municipalities that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials.[105]

Ayotte did not support Hillary Clinton's proposal to bring an additional 65,000 Syrian refugees to the United States, unless stricter vetting was implemented to "guarantee to the American people that none of the individuals that are being brought to the United States have any connections to ISIS."[106]

Economic policy[edit]

Minimum wage[edit]

Ayotte opposes increasing the minimum wage,[107] and opposes federal legislation to index the minimum wage to inflation, reflecting adjustments in the cost of living.[108] Ayotte said she supports the current federal minimum wage, but that "each state should decide what is best" when it comes to raising it.[109]

Social Security[edit]

In 2010, Ayotte said she was open to raising the Social Security retirement age for younger workers in an effort to avoid long-term insolvency, but does not support changes for people at or near retirement.[108][110]

Labor issues[edit]

Ayotte opposed passage of the Employee Free Choice Act ("Card Check"), which would have amended the National Labor Relations Act to allow employees to unionize whenever the National Labor Relations Board verified that 50% of the employees had signed authorization cards, therefore bypassing a secret ballot election.[111]

In April 2014, the Senate debated the Paycheck Fairness Act. The bill would have punished employers for retaliating against workers who share wage information and put the justification burden on employers as to why someone is paid less while allowing workers to sue for punitive damages of wage discrimination.[112] Ayotte said that one of her reasons for voting against ending debate on the bill was that Majority Leader Harry Reid had refused to allow votes on any of the amendments that Republicans had suggested for the bill.[112] Ayotte went on to offer her own equal pay bill, the Gender Advancement in Pay Act, which would implement New Hampshire's equal pay law at the federal level, but "a little stronger in its anti-retaliation provision because it explicitly addresses written policies."[74]

Ayotte voted in April 2014 to extend federal funding for unemployment benefits. Federal funding had been initiated in 2008 and expired at the end of 2013.[113]

In March 2015, Ayotte voted for an amendment to establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to allow employees to earn paid sick time.[114] Ayotte also offered a bill to give private sector employers the statutory authority to offer optional flex-time.[76]

Fiscal policy (taxes and spending)[edit]

Ayotte favors passage of a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[115] She has advocated for such a constitutional amendment as a member of the Senate Budget Committee.[116]

In 2010, Ayotte criticized the 2008 bailouts, saying "I wouldn't have supported the TARP or the bailouts... I do not think we should have bailed out the private sector."[117]

Ayotte has called for federal budget cuts to reduce the federal debt and deficits, proposing in 2010 that every government department cut its budget by 20 percent from current levels, though "some may cut more, some may cut less."[117]

Ayotte favors the permanent repeal of the estate tax and has co-sponsored legislation to repeal the tax.[118][119]

During the standoff over increasing the national debt limit in 2011, Ayotte pushed for greater cuts in government spending and voted against the eventual deal.[116]

Ayotte has pushed to end congressional earmarks, and has co-sponsored legislation that would permanently ban the practice.[120]

Financial regulation[edit]

Ayotte opposed the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Ayotte said that the legislation failed to directly address problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and that the Act imposed additional regulatory burdens on community banks.[121]

Climate and energy[edit]

In 2010, when asked about climate change, Ayotte acknowledged that "there is scientific evidence that demonstrates there is some impact from human activities" but stated that "I don't think the evidence is conclusive."[117][122] She opposed both a cap-and-trade system and a carbon tax to reduce carbon emissions.[117] In 2011, she voted to limit the EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.[123] In 2012, Ayotte voted with four other Republican senators to defeat a proposal to block the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating the first federal standards regulating air pollution from power plants.[116] In 2013, she voted for a point of order opposing a carbon tax or a fee on carbon emissions.[124]

Ayotte was one of two Republican senators to vote against a Republican measure, introduced by Roy Blunt, that sought to block President Obama from negotiating an international agreement on climate change. She voted to fast-track approval for the Keystone XL pipeline project.[122]

In October 2015, Ayotte became the first congressional Republican to endorse a measure by President Barack Obama dubbed the Clean Power Plan, a measure that would see a 32 percent cut in the power sector's carbon emissions.[125][126][127] That same year she was one of five Republican senators to vote to pass a non-binding amendment stating that "climate change is real and human activity significantly contributes to climate change."[126][127]

Health care[edit]

Ayotte supports state-administered healthcare programs such as SCHIP and federal tax credits that serve to reduce the number of uninsured.[128]

In November 2013, amid growing concerns over the launch of, particularly relating to delays associated with initial online signups for health coverage, Ayotte called for a "time-out" on the Affordable Care Act during a televised interview with CNN, suggesting instead to "convene a group of bipartisan leaders to address health care concerns in this country because this is not working."[129]

Ayotte was given the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Congressional Award in recognition of her support for increasing mental health resources.[130]

Ayotte advocated for passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), which is intended to address opioid abuse. The bill would increase funding for treatment of addiction and allow nurses and physician assistants to treat addicts with medication, which Ayotte says would increase the treatment options available.[131]


Ayotte joined with the rest of the Senate Republicans in refusing to hold a hearing on the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.[132][133]

Social issues[edit]

Abortion and reproductive rights[edit]

Ayotte believes abortion should be prohibited except in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother.[134]

While in the Senate, Ayotte offered legislation to make birth control available over-the-counter without a prescription, which she argued would increase access and allow flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts to be used to purchase it.[135] She voted to shift federal funding from Planned Parenthood to other community health centers that also serve low- and middle-income women and families, but opposed an attempt to shut down the federal government over the issue.[136][137] Ayotte was given a 100% rating by National Right to Life and an 82% by the pro-life Campaign for Working Families.[102]NARAL Pro-Choice America gave her a 15% rating and pro-choice Planned Parenthood gave her a 6% rating.[102]

Same-sex marriage and LGBT rights[edit]

Speaking about gay marriage, Ayotte said in 2010: "Ultimately I do think this is a matter for the states and states should decide how to define marriage. New Hampshire's already made that decision and I respect the decision."[138] In 2015, Ayotte was one of eleven U.S. Senate Republicans who voted to extend Social Security and veterans' benefits to all legally married same-sex couples.[139] In November 2013, Ayotte was one of 10 Senate Republicans who voted in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act,[140] which passed by a vote of 64–32. Human Rights Campaign, which supports same-sex marriage and other gay rights, gave Ayotte an 80% rating.[102]

Violence Against Women Act[edit]

Ayotte voted for reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2012.[141] In 2014, Ayotte and Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill led passage of a bill to reform the way the military handles sexual assaults, increase prosecutions, and improve support for survivors.[142][143] In 2015, Ayotte and New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced the Campus Accountability and Safety Act to combat sexual assault on college campuses and better support survivors.[144]

Gun policy[edit]

Ayotte supported the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions in McDonald v. City of Chicago and District of Columbia v. Heller, which invalidated strict gun laws in Chicago and Washington.[111] In 2006, Ayotte opposed a Republican-backed bill to established a castle doctrine for New Hampshire.[145]

In 2013, Ayotte opposed legislation offered by Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey to mandate background checks for all commercial gun sales.[146] As part of the debate over Manchin-Toomey, Ayotte voted for an amendment which would have increased access to mental health records for background checks and provided funding to prosecute background check violations. The amendment did not pass.[147]

In June 2016, Ayotte voted against an amendment offered by Senator Chris Murphy which would have required background checks for gun sales at gun shows, over the internet, and between friends and family. She voted for an amendment to increase funding for the background check system and enhance the definition of "mental competency" for purchasing firearms. She also voted for two amendments to block or delay the sale of firearms to known or suspected terrorists. All four amendments failed.[147]

While in the Senate, Ayotte supported proposed compromises on contentious gun legislation. She was part of a bipartisan group of eight senators who supported compromise legislation to close the "No Fly, No Buy" loophole and ensure people on the No Fly list are not able to purchase firearms.[148][149][150]

Foreign policy[edit]

Senator Ayotte speaking at the 2016 FITN (First in the Nation) Town Hall hosted by the New Hampshire Republican Party

Ayotte chaired the Senate Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee and was a leading voice in the hawkish wing of the Senate Republican Conference.[151][152][153][154][155]

She opposed the Iran nuclear deal and has called for strict new sanctions on Iran.[153] Ayotte has also backed new sanctions on North Korea in the wake of purported nuclear tests and has called for a tougher stance with Russia.[156][157]

Israeli–Palestinian conflict[edit]

In October 2014, Ayotte wrote an op-ed in The Hill criticizing Mahmoud Abbas, writing that the Palestinian Authority president "has embarked on a destructive course harmful to the prospects for rebuilding Gaza and achieving Israeli–Palestinian peace."[158]

Defense spending[edit]

In October 2011, Ayotte sponsored a bill with Senator John McCain to control costs associated with major defense acquisition programs.[116] Ayotte opposes the Defense Department's wishes to retire the U.S.'s fleet of Cold War-era A-10 Thunderbolt II jets and redirect those funds elsewhere. Ayotte argues that there is no adequate replacement for the plane and citing her husband's experiences flying the A-10 while in the Air Force.[159]

Iraq, Syria, and ISIL[edit]

Ayotte has criticized President Obama for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011.[160]

In July 2016, Ayotte released a comprehensive plan to defeat ISIS, including a "more aggressive" campaign of U.S. airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.[160]

Guantanamo Bay prisoners[edit]

Ayotte fought attempts by the Obama administration to try terrorism suspects in civilian federal courts.[116] She opposed the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and introduced a bill in the Senate that would block the closure of the prison and ban any transfer of detainees to the United States.[161]

Ayotte criticized the August 2015 transfer of 15 prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention camp to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), saying that she believed the released prisoners had dangerous ties to terrorism and would return to terrorist activity. She said that the Pentagon told her in 2015 that 93 percent of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay were considered "high risk" for returning to terrorist activities.[162][163]

Ayotte authored and released an unclassified report that summarized information about the 107 original detainees at Guantanamo Bay, including the detainees' affiliations and terrorist activities prior to their detention. Ayotte has pushed for the Pentagon to publicly disclose more details about the detainees; the Pentagon currently releases only detainees' names and countries where they are transferred.[163]

Personal life[edit]

In 2001, Ayotte married Joseph Daley, an Iraq War veteran and former A-10 pilot who flew combat missions in Iraq.[164] Daley is retired from the Air National Guard and owns a small landscaping and snow plow business in Merrimack.[165] They have two children.[166]

Electoral history[edit]

U.S. Senate Republican primary election in New Hampshire, 2010
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican Kelly Ayotte 53,056 38.21%
Republican Ovide Lamontagne 51,397 37.01%
Republican Bill Binnie 19,508 14.05%
Republican Jim Bender 12,611 9.08%
Republican Dennis Lamare 1,388 1.00%
Republican Tom Alciere 499 0.36%
Republican Gerard Beloin 402 0.29%
U.S. Senate election in New Hampshire, 2010
Party Candidate Votes % +%
Republican Kelly Ayotte 273,210 60.09%
Democratic Paul Hodes 167,545 36.85%
Independent Chris Booth 9,194 2.02%
Libertarian Ken Blevens 4,753 1.05%
U.S. Senate election, 2016
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Maggie Hassan 354,268 48.2%
Republican Kelly Ayotte (incumbent) 353,525 48.1%
Independent Aaron Day 17,702 2%
Libertarian Brian Chabot 12,988 1.7%

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]

General Matthew Bunker Ridgway (March 3, 1895 – July 26, 1993) was a senior officer in the United States Army, who served as Supreme Allied Commander Europe (1952–1953) and the 19th Chief of Staff of the United States Army (1953–1955). He fought with distinction during World War II, where he was the Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division, leading it in action in Sicily, Italy and Normandy, before taking command of the newly formed XVIII Airborne Corps in August 1944. He held the latter post until the end of the war, commanding the corps in the Battle of the Bulge, Operation Varsity and the Western Allied invasion of Germany.

Ridgway held several major commands after World War II and was most famous for resurrecting the United Nations (UN) war effort during the Korean War. Several historians have credited Ridgway for turning the war around in favor of the UN side. His long military career was recognized by the award of the Presidential Medal of Freedom on May 12, 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, who stated that: "Heroes come when they're needed; great men step forward when courage seems in short supply."[3]


Early life and education[edit]

Ridgway was born March 3, 1895 in Fort Monroe, Virginia, to Colonel Thomas Ridgway, an artillery officer, and Ruth Ridgway. He lived in various military bases all throughout his childhood. He later remarked that his "earliest memories are of guns and marching men, of rising to the sound of the reveille gun and lying down to sleep at night while the sweet, sad notes of 'Taps' brought the day officially to an end."[citation needed] He graduated in 1912 from English High School in Boston[4] and applied to United States Military Academy at West Point because he thought that would please his father (who was a West Point graduate).[5]

Ridgway failed the entrance exam the first time due to his inexperience with mathematics, but after intensive self-study he succeeded the second time.[5] At West Point he served as a manager of the football team. In 1917, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army. The same year he married Julia Caroline Blount. They had two daughters, Constance and Shirley, before divorcing in 1930.[6]

Shortly after his divorce, Ridgway married Margaret ("Peggy") Wilson Dabney, the widow of a West Point graduate (Henry Harold Dabney, class of 1915), and in 1936 he adopted Peggy's daughter Virginia Ann Dabney. Ridgway and Peggy divorced in June 1947. Later that year he married Mary Princess Anthony Long (1918–1997), who was nicknamed "Penny".[7] They remained married until his death.[8] They were the parents of a son, Matthew, Jr., who died in a 1971 accident shortly after graduating from Bucknell University and receiving his commission as a second lieutenant through the Reserve Officers' Training Corps.[9][10]

Military career[edit]

Beginning his career during World War I, Ridgway was assigned to duty on the border with Mexico as a member of the 3rd Infantry Regiment, and then to the West Point faculty as an instructor in Spanish. He was disappointed that he was not assigned to combat duty during the war, feeling that "the soldier who had had no share in this last great victory of good over evil would be ruined."[11]

During 1924 and 1925 Ridgway attended the company officers' course at the United States Army Infantry School in Fort Benning, Georgia, after which he was a company commander in the 15th Infantry Regiment in Tientsin, China.[12] This was followed by a posting to Nicaragua, where he helped supervise free elections in 1927.[4]

In 1930, Ridgway became an advisor to the Governor-General of the Philippines. He graduated from the Army Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1935 and from the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, in 1937. During the 1930s he served as Assistant Chief of Staff of VI Corps, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Second Army, and Assistant Chief of Staff of the Fourth Army. General George Marshall, the Chief of Staff of the United States Army, assigned Ridgway to the War Plans Division shortly after the outbreak of World War II in Europe in September 1939. He served in the War Plans Division until January 1942, and was promoted to the one-star general officer rank of Brigadier general that month.

World War II[edit]

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and the subsequent American entry into World War II, Ridgway was, in February 1942, promoted to the job of Assistant Division Commander of the 82nd Infantry Division, which was then in the process of formation. The division was under the command of Major General Omar Bradley, a fellow infantryman who Ridgway highly respected. The two men trained the thousands of men joining the division over the next few months. In August, two months after Bradley's reassignment to command of the 28th Infantry Division, Ridgway was promoted to the two-star rank of major general and was given command of the 82nd Division. The 82nd, having finished all of its basic training and already established an excellent combat record in World War I, had earlier been chosen to become one of the army's five new airborne divisions. The conversion of an entire infantry division to airborne status was an unprecedented step for the United States Army, and required much training, testing, and experimentation. Thus the division was, on August 15, 1942, redesignated as the 82nd Airborne Division.

Major General Matthew Ridgway and members of his staff outside of Ribera, Sicily on July 25, 1943

Initially composed of the 325th, 326th and 327th Infantry Regiments, all of which were due to be converted into glider infantry, the 327th was soon transferred out of the 82nd to help form the 101st Airborne Division, commanded by Major General William C. Lee. Unlike his men, Ridgway did not first go through airborne jump school before joining the division. However, he successfully converted the 82nd into a combat-ready airborne division; he remained in command and eventually earned his paratrooper wings. To replace the 327th, Ridgway received the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, commanded by Colonel Theodore Dunn, later replaced by Lieutenant Colonel Reuben Tucker. In February 1943 the 326th was also transferred out and replaced by the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, under Colonel James M. Gavin.[13] In April the 82nd, which in Ridgway's mind had received only a third the training time given to most divisions, was sent to North Africa to prepare for the invasion of Sicily.[14]

Ridgway helped plan the airborne element of the invasion of Sicily. The invasion, which took place in July 1943, was spearheaded by Colonel Gavin's 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (reinforced into the 505th Parachute Regimental Combat Team by the 3rd Battalion of Tucker's 504th). Despite some successes, Sicily nearly saw an end to the airborne division. Due mainly to circumstances beyond Ridgway's control the 82nd suffered heavy casualties in Sicily, including the division's Assistant Division Commander, Brigadier General Charles L. Keerans.[15] During the 504th's drop on the morning of July 9, which was widely scattered due to friendly fire, Ridgway had to report to Lieutenant General George S. Patton, commander of the Seventh United States Army (under whose command the 82nd fell), that, out of the more than 5,300 paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division who had jumped into Sicily, he had fewer than 400 under his control.[16]

During the planning for the invasion of the Italian mainland, the 82nd was tasked with taking Rome by coup de main in Operation Giant II. Ridgway strongly objected to this unrealistic plan, which would have dropped the 82nd on the outskirts of the Italian capital of Rome in the midst of two German heavy divisions. The operation was canceled only hours before launch. The 82nd did, however, play a significant role in the Allied invasion of Italy at Salerno in September which, but for a drop by Ridgway's two parachute regiments, may well have seen the Allies pushed back into the sea. The 82nd Airborne Division subsequently saw brief service in the early stages of the Italian Campaign, helping the Allies to break through the Volturno Line in October. The division then returned to occupation duties in the recently liberated Italian city of Naples and saw little further action thereafter and in November departed Italy for Northern Ireland. However, Lieutenant General Mark W. Clark, commander of the Fifth United States Army, a fellow graduate of the West Point class of 1917, referring to Ridgway as an "outstanding battle soldier, brilliant, fearless and loyal", who had "trained and produced one of the finest Fifth Army outfits", was unwilling to give up either Ridgway or the 82nd.[17] As a compromise, Colonel Tucker's 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, along with supporting units, was retained in Italy, to be sent to rejoin the rest of the 82nd Airborne Division as soon as possible.

In late 1943, after the 82nd Airborne Division was sent to Northern Ireland, and in the early months of 1944, Ridgway helped plan the airborne operations of Operation Overlord, codename for the Allied invasion of Normandy, where he argued, successfully, for the two American airborne divisions taking part in the invasion, the 82nd and the inexperienced 101st, still commanded by Major General Lee (later replaced by Brigadier General Maxwell D. Taylor, who had formerly been commander of the 82nd Airborne Division Artillery), to be increased in strength from two parachute regiments and a single glider regiment (although with only two battalions) to three parachute regiments, and for the glider regiment to have a strength of three battalions. In the Battle of Normandy, he jumped with his troops, who fought for 33 days in advancing to Saint-Sauveur-le-Vicomte near Cherbourg (St Sauveur was liberated on June 14, 1944). Relieved from front-line duty in early July, the 82nd Airborne Division had, during the severe fighting in the Normandy bocage, suffered 46 percent casualties.[18]

Major General Matthew Ridgway and Major General James M. Gavin during the Battle of the Bulge, December 19, 1944

In August 1944, Ridgway was given the command of XVIII Airborne Corps. Command of the 82nd Airborne Division passed to Brigadier General James M. Gavin, who had served as Ridgway's Assistant Division Commander. The XVIII Airborne Corps helped stop and push back German troops during the Battle of the Bulge in December. In March 1945, with the British 6th Airborne Division and United States 17th Airborne Division under command, he led the corps into Germany during Operation Varsity, the airborne component of Operation Plunder, and was wounded in the shoulder by German grenade fragments on March 24, 1945. He led the corps in the Western Allied invasion of Germany. In June 1945 he was promoted to lieutenant general. At war's end, Ridgway was on a plane headed for a new assignment in the Pacific theater of war, under General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, with whom he had served while a captain at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Ridgway spoke highly of British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, stating that his time serving under Montgomery was "most satisfying" and that "He gave me the general outline of what he wanted and let me completely free."[19] Ridgway noted that while Montgomery was a "free spirit who was sometimes a bit hard to restrain," he also referred to Montgomery as "a first-class professional officer of great ability ... and Monty could produce ... I don't anybody who could give me more complete support than Monty did when I was under British command twice ... I had no trouble with Monty at all."[20]


Ridgway was a commander at Luzon for some time in 1945 before being given command of the United States forces in the Mediterranean Theater, with the title Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, Mediterranean. From 1946 to 1948, he served as the United States Army representative on the military staff committee of the United Nations. He was placed in charge of the Caribbean Command in 1948, controlling United States forces in the Caribbean, and in 1949 was assigned to the position of Deputy Chief of Staff for Administration under then Chief of Staff of the United States Army, General J. Lawton Collins.

In December 1947, Ridgway married Mary Princess "Penny" Anthony Long, his third wife.[6] They remained married until his death 46 years later. In April 1949, their only child, Matthew Bunker Ridgway, Jr., was born. Ridgway's son was killed in an accident in 1971. His wife died in 1997.

Korean War[edit]

Ridgway's most important command assignment occurred in 1950 after the death of Lieutenant General Walton Walker on December 23. Ridgway was assigned as Walker's replacement in command of the Eighth United States Army, which had been deployed in South Korea in response to the invasion by North Korea in June of that year.

When Ridgway took command of the Eighth Army, the Army was still in a tactical retreat, after its strong foray into North Korea had been met with an unexpected and overwhelming Communist Chinese advance in the Battle of the Ch'ongch'on River. Ridgway was successful in turning around the morale of the 8th Army.

Ridgway was unfazed by the Olympian demeanor of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, then overall commander of UN forces in Korea. MacArthur gave Ridgway a latitude in operations he had not given his predecessor. After Ridgway landed in Tokyo on Christmas Day 1950 to discuss the operational situation with MacArthur, the latter assured his new commander that the actions of Eighth Army were his to conduct as he saw fit. Ridgway was encouraged to retire to successive defensive positions, as was currently under way, and hold Seoul as long as he could, but not if doing so meant that Eighth Army would be isolated in an enclave around the capital city. Ridgway asked specifically that if he found the combat situation "to my liking" whether MacArthur would have any objection to "my attacking". MacArthur answered, "Eighth Army is yours, Matt. Do what you think best."[21]

Upon taking control of the battered Eighth Army, one of Ridgway's first acts was to restore soldiers' confidence in themselves. To accomplish this, he reorganized the command structure. During one of his first briefings in Korea at I Corps, Ridgway sat through an extensive discussion of various defensive plans and contingencies. At the end, he asked the staff about the status of their attack plans; the corps G–3 (operations officer) responded that he had no such plans. Within days, I Corps had a new G-3. He also replaced officers who did not send out patrols to fix enemy locations, and removed "enemy positions" from commanders' planning maps if local units had not been in recent contact to verify that the enemy was still there. Ridgway established a plan to rotate out those division commanders who had been in action for six months and replace them with fresh leaders. He sent out guidance to commanders at all levels that they were to spend more time at the front lines and less in their command posts in the rear. These steps had an immediate effect on morale.

With the entry of China, the complexion of the Korean War had changed. Political leaders, in an attempt to prevent expansion of the war, did not allow UN forces to bomb the supply bases in China, nor the bridges across the Yalu River on the border between China and North Korea. The American Army moved from an aggressive stance to fighting protective, delaying actions. Ridgway's second big tactical change was to make copious use of artillery.

China's casualties began to rise, and became very high as they pressed waves of attacks into the coordinated artillery fire. Under Ridgway's leadership, the Chinese offensive was slowed and finally brought to a halt at the battles of Chipyong-ni and Wonju. He then led his troops in Operation Thunderbolt, a counter-offensive in early 1951.

When General MacArthur was relieved of command by President Harry S. Truman in April, Ridgway was promoted to full general, assuming command of all United Nations forces in Korea. As commanding general in Korea, Ridgway gained the nickname "Tin Tits" for his alleged habit of wearing hand grenades attached to his load-bearing equipment at chest level.[22] He oversaw the desegregation and integration of United States Army units in the Far East Command, which significantly influenced the wider army's subsequent desegregation.[23]

In 1951 Ridgway was elected an honorary member of the Virginia Society of the Cincinnati.

Ridgway also assumed from MacArthur the role of military governor of Japan, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers. During his tenure, Ridgway oversaw the restoration of Japan's independence and sovereignty on April 28, 1952.[24]

Supreme Allied Commander, Europe[edit]

In May 1952, Ridgway replaced General Dwight D. Eisenhower as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) for the fledgling North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). While in that position Ridgway made progress in developing a coordinated command structure, oversaw an expansion of forces and facilities, and improved training and standardization. He upset other European military leaders by surrounding himself with American staff. His tendency to tell the truth was not always politically wise.[25] In a 1952 review, General Omar Bradley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reported to President Harry Truman that "Ridgway had brought NATO to 'its realistic phase' and a 'generally encouraging picture of how the heterogeneous defense force is being gradually shaped.'"[26]

Ridgway urged the high commissioners to pardon all German officers convicted of war crimes on the Eastern Front of World War II. He himself, he noted, had recently given orders in Korea "of the kind for which the German generals are sitting in prison." His "honor as a soldier" forced him to insist upon the release of these officers before he could "issue a single command to a German soldier of the European army."[27]

Chief of Staff of the United States Army[edit]

Ridgway in the 1940s

On August 17, 1953, Ridgway replaced General J. Lawton Collins as the Chief of Staff of the United States Army. After Eisenhower was elected president, he asked Ridgway for his assessment of United States military involvement in Vietnam in conjunction with the French. Ridgway prepared a comprehensive outline of the massive commitment that would be necessary for success, which dissuaded the President from intervening. A source of tension was Ridgway's belief that air power and nuclear bombs did not reduce the need for powerful, mobile ground forces to seize land and control populations.[28] Ridgway was concerned that Eisenhower's proposal to significantly reduce the size of the army would leave it unable to counter the growing Soviet military threat,[29] as noted by the 1954 Alfhem affair in Guatemala. These concerns would lead to recurring disagreements during his term as Chief of Staff.

President Eisenhower approved a waiver to the military's policy of mandatory retirement at age 60 so Ridgway could complete his two-year term as Chief of Staff.[30] However, disagreements with the administration mainly regarding the administration's downgrading of the army in favor of the United States Navy and the United States Air Force, prevented Ridgway from being appointed to a second term.[31] Ridgway retired from the army on June 30, 1955 and was succeeded by his one-time 82nd Airborne Division chief of staff, General Maxwell D. Taylor. Even after he retired, Ridgway was a constant critic of President Eisenhower.[32]

Personal life[edit]

Ridgway remained active in retirement, both in leadership capacities and as a speaker and author. He relocated to the Pittsburgh suburb of Fox Chapel, Pennsylvania in 1955 after accepting the chairmanship of the board of trustees of the Mellon Institute as well as a position on the board of directors of Gulf Oil Corporation, among others. The year after his retirement, he published his autobiography, Soldier: The Memoirs of Matthew B. Ridgway. In 1967, he wrote The Korean War.

In 1960, Ridgway retired from his position at the Mellon Institute but continued to serve on multiple corporate boards of directors, Pittsburgh civic groups and Pentagon strategic study committees.[33]

Ridgway continued to advocate for a strong military to be used judiciously. He gave many speeches, wrote, and participated in various panels, discussions, and groups. In early 1968, he was invited to a White House luncheon to discuss Indochina. After the luncheon, Ridgway met privately for two hours with President Lyndon Johnson and Vice President Hubert Humphrey. When asked his opinion, Ridgway advised against deeper involvement in Vietnam and against using force to resolve the Pueblo Incident.[34] In an article in Foreign Affairs, Ridgway stated that political goals should be based on vital national interests and that military goals should be consistent with and support the political goals, but that neither situation was true in the Vietnam War.[35]

Ridgway advocated maintaining a chemical, biological, and radiological weapons capability, arguing that they could accomplish national goals better than the weapons currently in use.[36] In 1976, Ridgway was a founding board member of the Committee on the Present Danger, which urged greater military preparedness to counter a perceived increasing Soviet threat.[37]

On May 5, 1985 Ridgway was a participant in the Ronald Reagan visit to Kolmeshöhe Cemetery near Bitburg, when former Luftwaffe ace fighter pilot Johannes Steinhoff (1913–1994) in an unscheduled act firmly shook his hand in an act of reconciliation between the former foes.[38] [39]


Ridgway died at his suburban Pittsburgh home at age 98 in July 1993 of cardiac arrest. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Section 7, Grave 8196-1[40] (38°52′37″N 77°04′14″W / 38.87702°N 77.07047°W / 38.87702; -77.07047).[41] In a graveside eulogy, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, said: "No soldier ever performed his duty better than this man. No soldier ever upheld his honor better than this man. No soldier ever loved his country more than this man did. Every American soldier owes a debt to this great man."[42]

During his career, Ridgway was recognized as an outstanding leader, earning the respect of subordinates, peers, and superiors. General Omar Bradley described Ridgway's work turning the tide of the Korean War as "the greatest feat of personal leadership in the history of the Army."[43] A soldier in Normandy remarked about an intense battle while trying to cross a key bridge, "The most memorable sight that day was Ridgway, Gavin, and Maloney standing right there where it was the hottest [heaviest incoming fire]. The point is that every soldier who hit that causeway saw every general officer and the regimental and battalion commanders right there. It was a truly inspirational effort."

On the day of the Germans' furthest advance in the Battle of the Bulge, Ridgway commented to his subordinate officers in the XVIII Airborne Corps: "The situation is normal and completely satisfactory. The enemy has thrown in all his mobile reserves, and this is his last major offensive effort in this war. This Corps will halt that effort; then attack and smash him."[44]

Ridgway considered leadership to have three primary ingredients: character, courage, and competence. He described character—including self-discipline, loyalty, selflessness, modesty, and willingness to accept responsibility and admit mistakes—as the "bedrock on which the whole edifice of leadership rests." His concept of courage included both physical and moral courage. Competence included physical fitness, anticipating when crises will occur and being present to resolve them, and being close to subordinates—communicating clearly and ensuring that they are treated and led well and fairly.[45]

The United States Army School of Advanced Military Studies published a monograph in 2011. An excerpt from the abstract (p. 2):

... Ridgway overcame inadequacy. Although he completed all the military education available, it was only after intense crucible of three combat operations that he eventually applied operational art successfully. Ridgway achieved tactical success but did not adequately apply operational art from HUSKY, NEPTUNE and MARKET. Ridgway learned from his failures and progressively improved his application of operational art during the BULGE and VARSITY. Not until his fifth experience, did he master operational art. ... the most important subcomponent of visualization depends on eleven elements of operational art. These elements are the template this monograph uses[46]


Insignia Rank Component Date
No insignia Cadet United States Military Academy June 14, 1913
US-O1 insignia.svg Second lieutenant Regular Army April 20, 1917
US-O2 insignia.svg First lieutenant Regular Army May 15, 1917
US-O3 insignia.svg Captain National Army August 5, 1917
US-O3 insignia.svg Captain Regular Army July 18, 1919
US-O4 insignia.svg Major Regular Army October 1, 1932
US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant colonel Regular Army July 1, 1940
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel Army of the United States December 11, 1941
US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier general Army of the United States January 15, 1942
US-O8 insignia.svg Major general Army of the United States April 6, 1942
US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant general Army of the United States June 4, 1945
US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier general Regular Army November 1, 1945
US-O10 insignia.svg General Army of the United States May 11, 1951
US-O10 insignia.svg General Regular Army, Retired June 30, 1955

Orders, decorations, medals and badges[edit]

United States badges, decorations and medals[edit]

International and foreign orders, decorations and medals[edit]

Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor of France (1953)
BEL Kroonorde Grootkruis BAR.svg Order of the Crown (Belgium), Grand Cross
Cavaliere di gran Croce Regno SSML BAR.svg Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, Knight Grand Cross (Italy)
GRE Order of George I - Grand Cross BAR.png Order of George I, Grand Cross (Greece)
Ordre de la couronne de Chene GC ribbon.svg Order of the Oak Crown, Grand Cross (Luxembourg)
MEX Order of the Aztec Eagle 2Class BAR.png Order of the Aztec Eagle, Grand Cross (Mexico)
Order of Orange-Nassau ribbon - Knight Grand Cross.svg Order of Orange-Nassau, Knight Grand Cross (The Netherlands)
PRT Military Order of Aviz - Grand Cross BAR.png Order of Aviz, Grand Cross (Portugal)
MCO Order of Saint-Charles - Grand Cross BAR.png Order of Saint-Charles, Grand Cross (Monaco)
Cordone di gran Croce OMRI BAR.svg Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, Knight Grand Cross
BEL Order of Leopold II - Commander BAR.pngUK MID 1920-94.svg Order of Leopold II, Commander with palm (Belgium)
Order of the Bath UK ribbon.svg Order of the Bath, Knight Commander (Great Britain)
Grand Officer Boyacá.png Order of Boyaca, Grand Officer (Colombia)
Grande ufficiale OMS BAR.svg Military Order of Savoy, Grand Officer (Italy)
Order of the White Elephant - 1st Class (Thailand) ribbon.png Order of the White Elephant, 1st Class (Thailand)
PHL Legion of Honor - Chief Commander BAR.png Philippine Legion of Honor, Chief Commander
PAN Order of Vasco Nunez de Balboa - Grand Officer BAR.png Order of Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Grand Officer (Panama)
BRA Order of the Southern Cross - Officer BAR.png Order of the Southern Cross, Officer (Brazil)
Croix de guerre 1939–1945 stripe bronsepalme.svg Croix de guerre 1939–1945 (France) with bronze palm
Croix de Guerre 1940-1945 with palm (Belgium) - ribbon bar.png Croix de guerre (Belgium), WWII with bronze palm
United Nations Korea Medal
Inter-American Defense Board Medal

Other honors[edit]

  • Ridgway appeared on the April 30, 1951 and May 12, 1952 covers of Life magazine.
  • Ridgway appeared on the March 5, 1951, and July 16, 1951 covers of Time magazine.



  1. ^ Dunlop, Richard (January 23, 2018). "A Story Of The Airborne And Ridgway". Chicago Tribune.
  2. ^ "Ridgway, Matthew Bunker, "Old Iron Tits"". World War II Graves. January 23, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Arthur, Billy A., Obituary: General Matthew Ridgway, The Independent, 1993-08-10, retrieved 2009-08-31
  4. ^ a b Biography from Arlington National Cemetery official website.
  5. ^ a b Mitchell 2002, p. 7.
  6. ^ a b Mitchell 2002, p. 16.
  7. ^ "Service for Gen. Ridgway's Widow". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, PA. July 23, 1997. p. 30. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  8. ^ Sheridan, Patricia (July 23, 1997). "Death of General's Widow Marks "Passing of an Era"". News Record. North Hills, PA. p. 3. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  9. ^ "Ridgway's Son Meets Death on Canoe Trip". Daily Herald. Provo, UT. United Press International. July 4, 1971. p. 8. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  10. ^ "Month Before Death: Matthew B. Ridgway Jr. is flanked by proud parents at Bucknell University on May 29 shortly after being commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army". Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, PA. September 9, 1971. p. 26. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  11. ^ Mitchell 2002, p. 10.
  12. ^ Mitchell 2002, p. 67.
  13. ^ Blair, p. 49-50
  14. ^ Blair, p. 70
  15. ^ Blair, p. 100-101
  16. ^ Blair, p. 101-102
  17. ^ Blair, p. 168
  18. ^ Blair, p. 294-297
  19. ^ The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today By Thomas E. Ricks
  20. ^ D'Este, Carlo (1988). Bitter Victory: The Battle for Sicily, 1943. E.P. Dutton. pp. 250–251. ISBN 9780525244714.
  21. ^ "The Korean War: The Chinese Intervention".
  22. ^ "People & Events: General Matthew B. Ridgway (1895–1993)". The American Experience. Public Broadcasting System. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
  23. ^ MacGregor, Morris J.; History, Center of Military (1981). Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940–1965. Government Printing Office. pp. 439–47. ISBN 9780160019258.
  24. ^ Mitchell 2002, p. 104.
  25. ^ Mitchell 2002, p. 123.
  26. ^ Mitchell 2002, p. 118.
  27. ^ David Clay Large (1996). Germans to the Front: West German Rearmament in the Adenauer Era. University of North Carolina. p. 117.
  28. ^ Mitchell 2002, p. 143.
  29. ^ Mitchell 2002, p. 129.
  30. ^ Mitchell 2002, p. 135.
  31. ^ Mitchell 2002, p. 159.
  32. ^ Patterson, Michael. "Matthew Bunker Ridgway, General, United States Army". from a contemporary press report March 1993. Arlington National Cemetery website. Retrieved 26 February 2013. ... he retired after finding himself in almost constant disagreement with Eisenhower ...
  33. ^ Mitchell 2002, p. 195.
  34. ^ Mitchell 2002, pp. 176–177.
  35. ^ Mitchell 2002, p. 179.
  36. ^ Mitchell 2002, p. 189.
  37. ^ Mitchell 2002, pp. 197–8.
  38. ^ "GHDI – Image".
  39. ^ 5. Mai 1985: Helmut Kohl und Ronald Reagan in Bergen-Belsen und Bitburg (more detailed)
  40. ^ "Gen Matthew Ridgway (1895–1993)". FindAGrave. Retrieved June 20, 2014.
  41. ^ Arlington National Cemetery Explorer Archived 2015-04-18 at the Wayback Machine
  42. ^ Mitchell 2002, p. 205
  43. ^ Mitchell 2002, p. 206.
  44. ^ Hastings 2005, p.225
  45. ^ Mitchell 2002, pp. 20–22.
  46. ^ Kurz, Maj. Joseph R. (5 December 2011). "General Matthew B. Ridgway: A Commander's Maturation of Operational Art" (PDF). US Army School of Advanced Military Studies. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  47. ^ Mitchell 2002, p. 204.
  48. ^ "COMMAND: The Airborne Grenadier". 5 March 1951 – via
  49. ^ Matthew B. Ridgway: Soldier, Statesman, Scholar, Citizen, George Charles Mitchell, p. 209
  50. ^ "Matthew B. Ridgway Center".

Further reading[edit]

  • Blair, Clay (1985). Ridgway's Paratroopers: The American Airborne in World War II. The Dial Press. ISBN 1-55750-299-4.
  • Groves, Bryan N. MG Matthew Ridgway as the 82d Airborne Division commander : a case study on the impact of vision and character in leadership. Institute of Land Warfare, Association of the United States Army, 2006. OCLC 74162981
  • Hastings, Max. Armageddon: The Battle for Germany, 1944–1945. Vintage Books, 2005. ISBN 0-375-71422-7.
  • Mitchell, George C. Matthew B. Ridgway: Soldier, Statesman, Scholar, Citizen. Stackpole Books, 2002. ISBN 0-8117-2294-5.
  • Matthew B. Ridgway, The Korean War. Doubleday, 1967. OCLC 1974850
  • Matthew B. Ridgway, Soldier: the memoirs of Matthew B. Ridgway, as told to Harold H. Martin. Greenwood, 1974. ISBN 0837177006

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