Lieutenant Colonel, USA
Fred Lacy was born in Geneva, Alabama, on April 4, 1931, to Irby and Minnie Lacy. Fred first came to Auburn to pursue a bachelor’s in agricultural science from the Alabama Polytechnic Institute. He graduated in 1953 and went on to serve in the U.S. Army for 21 years, including stints in Europe, Korea and Vietnam.
Fred began his military service a year after graduation as a second lieutenant in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. His dedication to excellence was displayed early on in his career when he graduated basic officers course fifth in his class of 150 second lieutenants. Before his first deployment to Germany, Fred married his wife, Emily Christenberry Lacy, on July 4, 1954. He served with the 2nd Armored Division in Germany for three years before returning to Fort Sill in 1957 for training. He was promoted to captain in September 1960.
In June 1961, Fred joined the 7th Infantry Division in Korea as an assistant G-3. His time overseas was a bit unusual for an artilleryman. Fred and his brigade were responsible for defending the western half of the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Though a truce was in effect, North Korea was constantly probing to find weaknesses in U.S. defenses. Fred was responsible for planning patrols and curtailing the North Koreans’ efforts.
Fred attended Air Command & Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base in the 1960s where he graduated in the top 5 percent of his class. He earned a master’s in International Relations from Tulane and served two years as in the Department of Army Staff at the Pentagon before being deployed to Vietnam in 1970.
There, Fred served as the senior advisor to a province chief in the Mekong Delta. Not only did he assist the Vietnamese in combating the Vietcong, but Fred coordinated all U.S. activity in the province. It was there that Fred was promoted to lieutenant colonel and earned one of his most coveted awards, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge—an award that very few artillerymen have the privilege to wear. He also received the second Bronze Star of his career for saving a man’s life.
Fred returned to Auburn in April 1971 and worked with the Auburn University Army ROTC. He and his wife, Emily, raised their three daughters, Cindy, Trisha and Liz, in Auburn, and Emily served as the principal of Wrights Mill Road Elementary School for about 20 years. After retiring from the military in January 1975, Fred earned his PhD in history from Auburn and served as a professor and department chair at Chattahoochee Valley Community College in Phenix City until 1996.
Fred is an active member of Auburn United Methodist Church and has taught classes on the Bible for more than 60 years. In 2010, he published a history of the Bible, “Discovering the Bible: A Layman’s History of the Origins and Preservations of the Holy Scriptures.”