Edward Charles Meyer was born in St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania, on 11 December 1928. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1951, was commissioned a second lieutenant, and attended Infantry School at Fort Benning. During the Korean War, he led Company C, 25th Armored Infantry Battalion. In 1952, he was made a first lieutenant. Later in Korea he commanded a company and platoon in the 224th Infantry. From 1953 to 1954, he served in the 1st Officer Candidate Regiment, Infantry School. In 1954, he married Carol McCunliffe.
From 1954 to 1957, Meyer taught operations at the Infantry School. In 1956, he was made a temporary captain. A year later he graduated from the infantry officers basic and advanced airborne courses. From 1957 to 1959, he commanded Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Airborne Battle Group, 501st Infantry, and Company D, 1st Airborne Battle Group, 501st Infantry. In 1960, he graduated from the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. Meyer was promoted to permanent captain in 1958 and to temporary major in 1960. From 1961 to 1963, Meyer served as an aide to the chief of staff at Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe. In 1964, he was promoted to temporary lieutenant colonel and graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College. The next year he was made a permanent major. In 1965, he served as deputy commander of the 3d Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in Vietnam. Later in the Vietnam War, he commanded the 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry.
Meyer graduated from the National War College in 1967. From 1967 to 1969, he served in the Plans and Operations Division, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In 1968, he was promoted to temporary colonel. Returning to Vietnam, he commanded the 2d Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) until 1970. Meyer then was a federal executive fellow at the Brookings Institute until 1971. In 1971, he was made a temporary one-star general; the next year, he was promoted to permanent lieutenant colonel.
From 1972 to 1973, Meyer served as the deputy commandant of the Army War College. For the next two years, he served as the deputy chief of staff for operations, United States Army, Europe, and Seventh Army. In 1973, he was promoted to temporary major general. From 1974 to 1975, he commanded the 3d Infantry Division in Europe. From 1975 to 1979, he was assistant deputy, and then deputy, chief of staff for operations and plans of the Army. In 1976, he was made a permanent colonel and temporary lieutenant general. In 1979, Meyer was promoted to temporary general. He served as the Chief of Staff of the Army from 22 June 1979 to 21 June 1983. He retired from active duty in 1983.