Sidney “Tom” Weinstein was a United States Army Lt. General and the principal architect of America’s electronic military intelligence corps.
Born to a Jewish family in Camden NJ, Tom attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. While a cadet, Tom became a talented boxer, and was the captain of the Corps Squad Boxing Team. He was popular for his quick mind, friendly demeanor, and off-beat sense of humor.
Tom’s West Point classmate was Norman Schwarzkopf, who later said that more than other cadets, Tom genuinely believed in the school’s motto of duty, honor and country.
After graduating from West Point, Tom wanted to be an Army Ranger, but a hearing disability disqualified him. Instead, he was transferred to the Intelligence Corps.
At that time, military intelligence was unorganized and scattered. Tom played a crucial role in unifying different branches of intelligence, and introducing electronic intelligence warfare.
Tom was known for his devotion to his troops, and his ability to inspire them. Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, said “He gave people the impression that you as a person could do anything.”
Tom’s sayings were legendary. Among his most famous quotes: “Know what you know and know what you don’t know, and don’t be afraid to admit either.” “It’s amazing how much we can get done in the Army when we don’t worry about who gets the credit.”
Over 33 years, Tom served in a wide variety of intelligence and counterintelligence positions in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America. He spoke Spanish fluently and was an expert in Latin American affairs.
Among Tom’s military awards were the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, and the Meritorious Service Medal. When Tom died in 2007, he left behind his wife Pauline, three children, and eight grandchildren. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.
For serving his country with distinction as a proud Jew and American, we honor Lt. General Sidney “Tom” Weinstein as this year’s Thursday Hero at Accidental Talmudist.
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