U.S. Army JAG School Oral History Interview Conducted with Major General (Ret.) William K. Suter
William K. Suter was born in Portsmouth, Ohio on August 24, 1937. He attended Kentucky's Millersburg Military Institute from the 1st to the 12th grade. He received a Bachelor's Degree in Social Sciences from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas where he also received a scholarship to play basketball. He met his wife, Jeanne, at Trinity. They married following graduation and left for law school at Tulane Law School of New Orleans in 1959. While attending Tulane Law School, General Suter was elected to the Order of the Coif. General Suter attended the Armor Officer Orientation Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky in 1962. Following graduation, he attended the Judge Advocate Officer Basic Course at Charlottesville, Virginia. His first assignment was as a staff attorney for the Headquarters Command at Fort Richardson, Alaska. While there, he served as legal assistance attorney, tax attorney, and prosecutor. Following the completion of his first assignment, General Suter returned to the Judge Advocate General's School where he attended the Advanced Course. Following graduation, he stayed on to teach at the Judge Advocate General's School in the Military Affairs Division. As an Instructor, General Suter helped write the new regulations to address the 1968 Amendments to the UCMJ. In 1970, General Suter was assigned as the SJA for U.S. Army Support Command in Thailand. In 1971, he volunteered for service in Vietnam and was assigned as the Chief, Law Division in Long Binh, Vietnam. After only four months, General Suter became the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate. While serving in Vietnam, General Suter reviewed the investigation of the Viet Cong attack of Fire Base Marian. In 1972, General Suter became the Assistant for Plans in the Judge Advocate Plans, Personnel and Training Office where he was able to successfully gain a new Brigadier General position to command USALSA. In 1974, General Suter attended Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth. Following graduation, General Suter was assigned as the Staff Judge Advocate at 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. After completing his tour at Fort Campbell, General Suter returned to Washington, to serve as Chief of PP & TO. In 1979, General Suter attended the Industrial War College. Following graduation, he returned to The Judge Advocate General's School to serve as the Deputy and then Commandant. In 1981, as Dean, he successfully supervised the School's sabbatical re-inspection of the Graduate Course by the American Bar Association. In his final year as Commandant, General Suter conceived and prepared the plans for the 1989 addition to the School. In 1984, General Suter was promoted to Brigadier General and served as Commander of USALSA and Chief Judge of the Court of Military Review. In 1985, General Suter was promoted to the rank of Major General and served as the Assistant Judge Advocate under Major General Hugh Overholt. In 1989, General Suter was nominated to serve as the Judge Advocate General. After serving eighteen months as the Acting Judge Advocate General, the Senate Armed Service Committee disapproved his nomination. He retired on February 1, 1991. He then immediately began to serve in his current position as Clerk of the Supreme Court. He was personally selected for this position by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, 16th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
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