Rumsfeld was born in Chicago, Illinois, on July 9, 1932. His family were German immigrants, and he attended a Congregational church. He graduated from New Trier High School and Princeton University, where he was an accomplished wrestler and majored in politics. He was also part of the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps, and served as a naval aviator and flight instructor from 1954 until 1957 before shifting to the naval reserve, where he remained until 1989 when he retired at the rank of captain.
He began his political career as an administrative assistant to an Ohio lawmaker in Washington in 1957, but won office for himself as a Republican in 1962, representing Illinois’ 13th congressional district from 1962 until 1969. According to his memoir “Known and Unknown,” Rumsfeld was critical of the Johnson administration’s handling of the Vietnam War, believing South Vietnam was too dependent on the US, and that the US was too overconfident in its fight against the southern National Liberation Front and North Vietnamese Army.
First Administration Posts
He resigned in 1969 to join the administration of then-US President Richard Nixon, where he headed the Office of Economic Opportunity, an anti-poverty program that he personally opposed. During the year he worked there he hired two men who would later become key political allies: Frank Carlucci and Dick Cheney.
After several years in the private sector, Rumsfeld was appointed Middle East envoy by then-US President…