John H. Capalbo

  • Major General
  • Cold War Era


Major General John H. Capalbo, a native of Westerly, Rhode Island, is a 1955 graduate of Westerly High School. He played varsity football and baseball while in high school and was a member of the Student Council for three years, serving as president in his senior year. Capalbo entered the University of Rhode Island in 1956 and participated in the Army ROTC program for four years. In his senior year, he served as the President of the Scabbard and Blade Society. Additionally, he was the URI Student Senate and Senior Class Treasurer. In 1960, he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry.

Throughout his thirty-four year career, Major General Capalbo is known for his training innovation and high standards. Immediately following his three-year active duty assignment at Fort Benning, Georgia, he entered the active Army Reserve. For thirty-one years, Major General Capalbo served in the most demanding military assignments while developing an extremely successful civilian career as an Insurance Executive. His numerous assignments include Operations and Executive Officer, 2nd Battalion, 4th Brigade, 76th Division. He then commanded the 3rd Battalion, 4th Brigade, 76th Division.

As a General Officer, Major General Capalbo served as the Assistant Division Commander and Commanding General of the 76th Division (TNG), commanding the 76th Division (TNG) for four years. This command consisted of approximately 5,400 soldiers spread across New England.  During his leadership tenure in the 76th Division, Major General Capalbo developed, planned and executed an operation called “On Away Eagle I & II.” This total Army Reserve mission was an innovative program to provide basic training to soldiers at a mobilization station at Fort Campbell, KY. This complex Reserve Component training endeavor was so successful that it received accolades from the Secretary of the Army and Chief of Staff of the Army. It became the model for mobilization training in the Army.

Major General Capalbo’s awards include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Ten-Year Device, Army Reserve Overseas Training Ribbion and Parachutist Badge.

Following his military retirement in 1994, Major General Capalbo remains active in numerous organizations that support soldiers, their families and veterans. He is a member of The Military Order of Foreign Wars and served as President of the Rhode Island Reserve Officer Association. He is actively involved in developing a rehabilitation program for Rhode Island Veterans experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disabilities which involves using Button Hole Golf Course for physical and mental rehabilitation. He is an active member of the URI Army ROTC Alumni Association Chapter.

Major General Capalbo dedicated his life to his community and nation. His exemplary devotion to duty and outstanding leadership is in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his family and the University of Rhode Island.
Major General Capalbo and his wife Shirley currently reside in Smithfield, Rhode Island.