Col. William Michael Calnan

Published 12:30 am Sunday, July 4, 2010

ARLINGTON, Va. — William Michael Calnan, 90, a retired Army colonel who fought in World War II, Korea and Vietnam and who later served on the City Council in Fairfax, Va., died June 22, 2010, in Arlington, Va.

Shortly after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1943, Col. Calnan was sent to Normandy as a platoon leader. For bravery leading his men through minefields in Belgium, Col. Calnan received the Silver Star.

He served as a battalion commander in Korea. In 1967, Col. Calnan became a senior adviser for South Vietnam forces and helped lead troops during the Tet Offensive. He retired from the Army in 1970 as the chief of the operations and readiness division in the office of the Army’s deputy chief of staff.

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In retirement, Col. Calnan served as the coordinator for civil defense and emergency planning for Montgomery County, Md. He was elected to the Fairfax City Council in 1980 and served for two years.

William M. Calnan, a native Washingtonian, was a 1936 graduate of Western High School. He received a master’s degree in international relations from Georgetown University in 1961.

In addition to the Silver Star, Col. Calnan’s military decorations include four awards of the Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart.

His wife of 56 years, Marie Baylies Calnan, died in 2004.

Survivors include five children, retired Army Lt. Col. Michael Calnan (Karen) of Vicksburg, Margaret Jantz (Ronald) of Catonsville, Md., Barbara Calnan of Roanoke, Va., Kathleen Calnan (Jerrel Dunn) of Arlington and Denise Chamberlin (George) of Richmond, Va.; a sister, Mary Camilla Sterner (Donald) of Albuquerque, N.M.; three grandchildren, William Neil Calnan (Christina) of Virginia Beach, Va., Camilla Calnan (Christopher Bolm) of Asheville, N.C., and Heather Calnan of Vicksburg; and one great-granddaughter, Mia Isabella Calnan.

The family will receive friends on Tuesday, July 6, 2010, from 6 until 8 at the Everly Funeral Home, 10565 Main St., Fairfax, VA 22030. Mass of Christian Burial will be said on Wednesday, July 7, 2010, at 1 p.m. in St. Leo the Great Catholic Church, 3700 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22030. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery.