Melvin Laird

20th-century American politician

Melvin Robert "Bom" Laird (September 1, 1922 – November 16, 2016) was an American politician and writer.[1] He was a U.S. congressman from Wisconsin before serving as Secretary of Defense from 1969 to 1973 under President Richard Nixon.

Melvin Laird
Melvin Laird official photo.JPEG
10th United States Secretary of Defense
In office
January 21, 1969 – January 29, 1973
PresidentRichard Nixon
Preceded byClark Clifford
Succeeded byElliot Richardson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 7th district
In office
January 3, 1953 – January 21, 1969
Preceded byReid Murray
Succeeded byDave Obey
Personal details
Melvin Robert Laird

(1922-09-01)September 1, 1922
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
DiedNovember 16, 2016(2016-11-16) (aged 94)
Fort Myers, Florida, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Barbara Masters (1942–1992)
Carole Fleishman (1993–2016)
Alma materCarleton College
AwardsPurple Heart
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceSeal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg United States Navy
Years of service1942–1946
Battles/warsWorld War II

Laird died from complications of congestive heart failure at a hospital in Fort Myers, Florida on November 16, 2016, aged 94.[2]


  1. "Melvin R. Laird, Wisconsin Historical Society". Archived from the original on 2017-10-27. Retrieved 2014-08-07.
  2. Timothy R. Smith (November 16, 2016). "Melvin Laird, Nixon defense secretary at the height of the Vietnam War, dies at 94". Washington Post. Retrieved November 16, 2016.