TopVet: Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Sr., Marine and Newspaper Publisher

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger

The veterans community, and the Marine Corps, lost one of its own, with the death of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Sr. the former publisher and chairman of the New York Times. Fellow vets should remember him as one who served in World War II and Korea.

His publishing legacy is being hailed as transforming a family business into a global media empire on his watch as the newspaper’s publisher. His tenure is also remembered by First Amendment Free Speech advocates through the publication of "Pentagon Papers" controversy which found its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Punch, the old Marine captain who never backed down from a fight, was an absolutely fierce defender of the freedom of the press," his son, and current Times publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., said in a statement.

To many he represents the heyday of print-era news journalism, along with the late Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham. Over the period of 1963 – 1992 when Sulzberger was publisher of the New York Times, the revenues of its corporate parent rose to $1.7 billion from $100 million.

According to his weekend obituary in the Times, Sulzberger was a classic personal turnaround story thanks to the military. At 17 he dropped out of the Loomis School in Windsor, Conn., and joined the Marines during WWII. "Before I entered the Marines, I was a lazy good-for-nothing," he once told his mother, according to the Times. "The Marines woke me up."

His loyalty to the corps continued afterward. Marine commandants were invited to The Times for lunch, and tours by Marine information officers were a regular newsroom feature.

Trained as a radioman, Mr. Sulzberger went through the Leyte and Luzon campaigns in the Philippines, then landed in Japan as a jeep driver at Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters. He was discharged in 1946 as a corporal. Five years later, during the Korean War on, he was called back to active duty. This time he received an officer’s commission and served as a public information officer in Korea before being transferred to Washington. He was a captain when he returned to civilian life in December 1952. 

A graduate of Columbia University, Sulzberger died at the age of 86, after a long illness.


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