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John Tower
John Tower.jpg
Chair of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board
In office
July 17, 1990 – April 5, 1991
President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Anne Armstrong
Succeeded by Bobby Inman (Acting)
Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1985
Preceded by John Stennis
Succeeded by Barry Goldwater
United States Senator
from Texas
In office
June 15, 1961 – January 3, 1985
Preceded by Bill Blakley
Succeeded by Phil Gramm
Personal details
Born
John Goodwin Tower

(1925-09-29)September 29, 1925
Houston, Texas, U.S.
Died April 5, 1991(1991-04-05) (aged 65)
Brunswick, Georgia, U.S.
Political party Democratic (before 1951)
Republican (1951–1991)
Spouse(s) Joza Bullington (1952–1976)
Lilla Cummings (1977–1987)
Children 3
Education Southwestern University (BA)
Southern Methodist University (MA)
London School of Economics
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Branch/service  United States Navy
Years of service 1943–1989
Rank U.S. Navy E9 infobox.png Master chief petty officer
Unit U.S. Naval Reserve
Battles/wars World War II
 • Pacific Theater

John Goodwin Tower (September 29, 1925 – April 5, 1991) was the first Republican United States Senator from Texas since Reconstruction. He also led the Tower Commission, which investigated the Iran-Contra Affair.

Born in Houston, Texas, he served in the Pacific Theater of World War II. After the war, he worked as a radio announcer and taught at Midwestern University. He switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party in the early 1950s and worked on the 1956 presidential campaign of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Tower lost Texas's 1960 Senate election to Democratic Senator Lyndon B. Johnson. With the Democratic victory in the 1960 presidential election, Johnson vacated his Senate seat to become Vice President of the United States. In the 1961 special election to fill the vacancy caused by Johnson's resignation, Tower narrowly defeated Democrat William A. Blakley. He won re-election in 1966, 1972, and 1978.

Tower retired from the Senate in 1985. After leaving Congress, he served as chief negotiator of the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks with the Soviet Union and led the Tower Commission. The commission's report was highly critical of the Reagan administration's relations with Iran and the Contras. In 1989, incoming President George H. W. Bush chose Tower as his nominee for Secretary of Defense, but his nomination was rejected by the Senate. After the defeat, Tower chaired the President's Intelligence Advisory Board.

John Tower Centograph, Austin, TX IMG 2150
John Tower cenotaph at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas

On April 5, 1991, Tower and his middle daughter were killed along with twenty other people in the crash of Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 2311.

Tower and his daughter are buried together at the family plot of the Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Dallas. A cenotaph in Tower's honor was erected at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. Tower's personal and political life are chronicled in his autobiography, Consequences: A Personal and Political Memoir, published a few months before his death. He donated his papers to his alma mater, Southwestern University.

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