Statesman Cyrus Vance was born in Clarksburg on March 27, 1917. After serving as a navy gunnery officer during World War II, he became an attorney in New York City.
His first government post was as a special counsel to then-Senator Lyndon Johnson’s committee on space and aeronautics. In this role, he helped write the law that created NASA.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy named Vance secretary of the army. Two years later, Vance became deputy secretary of defense and later turned down the top post in the defense department. During these years, President Johnson regularly assigned Vance to trouble-shooting missions around the world. Vance also headed investigations into police corruption in New York City and into the riots following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In 1977, he was appointed secretary of state by President Jimmy Carter. He played key roles in negotiating the Camp David Peace Accords and the Panama Canal Treaty. He resigned in a much-publicized dispute with the administration after Carter launched an ill-fated helicopter effort to rescue the American hostages in Iran. Cyrus Vance died in 2002 at age 84.