Maj. Gen. John L. Fugh, 75, dies; served
as Army's judge advocate general
By Adam Bernstein Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Maj. Gen. John L. Fugh, who served as the Army's top
uniformed lawyer in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War
and later had a successful career in the private sector as
China liaison to major corporations, died May 11 at
National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda after a heart
attack. He was 75.
Gen. Fugh (pronounced "foo"), the first Chinese American
General officer in the U.S. Army, was a Beijing native who
left China with his family after the Communist takeover in
1949. He spent his 33-year military career in the Judge
Advocate General's Corps, including a tour of duty in
Vietnam as a judge advocate at the height of the war.
He rose through the JAG Corps hierarchy, serving in the
late 1970s in Frankfurt, Germany, as staff judge advocate
for the 3rd Armored Division. Afterward, in Washington,
he was chief of the JAG Corps' litigation division, handling
all non-criminal cases, including lawsuits over promotion,
policy and contracts.
In 1984, after being promoted to brigadier general, he was named assistant judge
advocate general for civil law. During this period, he helped start the first environmental
law practice in the Army. He was judge advocate general of the Army from July 1991 until
his retirement in June 1993.
Fred L. Borch III, regimental historian and archivist for the Army JAG Corps, called Gen.
Fugh "one of best civil litigators in the Army in pursuing cases of contract and
procurement fraud." Borch also described him as a complex legal issues including
reconstruction of Kuwait and the repatriation of Iraqi prisoners of war.
After his military retirement, Gen. Fugh worked for the St. Louis-based aerospace
manufacturer and defense contractor McDonnell Douglas, overseeing the company's
marketing and manufacturing operations in China. McDonnell Douglas, and then for
John Liu Fugh was born Fu Liu-ren on Sept. 12, 1934. His father, Philip, was private
secretary to John Leighton Stuart, who led a university in Beijing and was the last U.S.
ambassador to China before the Communists seized power.
The Fughs settled in Washington, where John graduated from Western High School
(1953) in 1953 and from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in 1957. He
became a U.S. citizen about that time and joined the Army after receiving a law degree
from George Washington University in 1960.
His military decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior
Service Medal and two awards of the Legion of Merit.
In 1960, he married June Chung. Besides his wife, of Alexandria, survivors include two
children, Justina Fugh of Arlington County and Jarrett Fugh of La Crescenta, Calif.; a
sister, Helen Hays of Washington; and four grandchildren.
After his retirement from Enron in 2001, Gen. Fugh deepened his involvement with the
Committee of 100, an elite Chinese-American advocacy organization.
While serving as the group's chairman, Gen. Fugh fulfilled a long effort by his family to
bury Stuart's ashes on Chinese soil. The educator and diplomat had died in 1962 after
living for years in Washington under the care of Gen. Fugh's father.
The task had been complicated for decades by Mao Zedong's efforts to paint Stuart as a
symbol of American imperialism. Neither the Stuart family nor Philip Fugh was able to
surmount Chinese opposition to repatriating Stuart, who had been born in China in 1876
to Christian missionaries.
Gen. Fugh won an audience with powerful Chinese Politburo members, who granted their
"This is a promise that has been fulfilled after half a century," Gen. Fugh told the New
York Times. "Now, Ambassador Stuart and my father can rest in peace."
Gen. Fugh, a native of
Beijing, was the first
(U.S. Army Photo)