Maj. Gen. James Lee Dozier, the American general kidnapped by Italian Red Brigades terrorists Dec. 17 and freed by police today, is a Vietnam veteran and a crew-cut career officer of the traditional school.
At the NATO southern European Land Forces Command headquartered in Verona, northern Italy, a brother officer referred to him as a 'highly esteemed officer, well liked within the Command.'
Another fellow officer described him as the sort of 'calm, unflappable, level-headed' soldier who might keep cool in the face of a kidnaping.
The Red Brigades, radical communists who are publicly disowned by the Italian Communist Party, have carried out a number of highly publicized terrorist acts since the early 1970s. They include the 1978 kidnapping of Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro in an ambush that killed five of his guards. Moro was held 54 days and then murdered.
Dozier was the Red Brigades' first American victim.
The 50-year-old native of Arcadia, Fla., was the highest ranking American officer in the Verona command when he was kidnapped from his apartment a week before Christmas.
He was deputy chief of staff for logistics and administration, responsible mainly for supply and personnel.
The command is headed by Italian Gen. Aldo de Carlini, with Italian Lt. Gen. Giovanni De Bartolomeis as chief of staff. Dozier was one of two deputy chiefs of staff.
The Verona command includes Italian, Greek, West German and other Allied troops in addition to Americans and comes under the Naples-based Allied Forces, Southern Europe, commanded by American Adm. William Crowe.
Dozier was promoted to one-star general in November 1979 and took over his post in Verona in June 1981 after serving with the U.S. Army in West Germany.
Born April 10, 1931, Dozier is a graduate of U.S. Military Academy. In 1968 and 1969 he served with the 11th Armored Cavalry regiment in Vietnam where he won a chest full of battle decorations including the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
After Vietnam, Dozier went to a desk in Washington and then moved to the Fort Hood Army base in Texas where he commanded a brigade and became chief of staff of III Corps before his transfer to Germany.
Dozier is married with two grown children, a daughter Cheryl, 24, a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force in West Germany, and a son Scott, 23, a college student in Florida.
Both of them joined Mrs. Dozier in Verona after the kidnapping.
Dozier's wife, Judith Stimpson, 47, was with him in their apartment when four Red Brigades terrorists posing as plumbers called with the excuse of checking a water leak, then clubbed the general and carted him off in a cardboard box.
The terrorists gagged Mrs. Dozier and chained her to a chair. It was nearly four hours before neighbors in the apartment below heard her banging on the floor and called police.
A colonel who once served under Dozier said of him, 'He's the kind of a guy who, when he made general, everyone was happy. He's calm, unflappable, level-headed and very efficient.'
Another fellow officer said Dozier was easy to talk to, 'which is one of the reasons soldiers like him so much. He doesn't yell and scream and he's not a nitpicker. He'll give a guy a free hand on a mission.'