Go Big Red!
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: The West Coast of Arizona
Soldier passes away
For those interested, David Hackworth passed away last month. Who is David Hackworth? Here is his list of military decorations and achievements:
AWARDS & DECORATIONS
COLONEL DAVID H. HACKWORTH
(U.S. ARMY, RETIRED)
Individual Decorations & Service Medals:
Distinguished Service Cross (with one Oak Leaf Cluster)
Silver Star (with nine Oak Leaf Clusters)
Legion of Merit (with three Oak Leaf Clusters)
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star Medal (with "V" Device & seven Oak Leaf Clusters)(Seven of the awards for heroism)
Purple Heart (with seven Oak Leaf Clusters)
Air Medal (with "V" Device & Numeral 34)(One for heroism and 33 for aerial achievement)
Army Commendation Medal (w/ "V" Device & 3 Oak Leaf Clusters)
Good Conduct Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal (with Germany and Japan Clasps)
National Defense Service Medal (with one Bronze Service Star)
Korean Service Medal (with Service Stars for eight campaigns)
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Vietnam Service Medal (2 Silver Service Stars = 10 campaigns)
Armed Forces Reserve Medal
Presidential Unit Citation
Valorous Unit Award (with one Oak Leaf Cluster)
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Badges & Tabs:
Combat Infantryman Badge (w/ one Star; representing 2 awards)
Master Parachutist Badge
Army General Staff Identification Badge
United Nations Service Medal (Korea)
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device (1960)
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry (with two Gold Stars)
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry (with two Silver Stars)
Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal (1st Class)
Vietnam Staff Service Medal (1st Class)
Vietnam Army Distinguished Service Order, 2d Class
Vietnam Parachutist Badge (Master Level)
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
Republic of Vietnam Presidential Unit Citation
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation (with three Palm oak leaf clusters)
Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Honor Medal, First Class Unit Citation (with one Palm oak leaf cluster)
World War II Merchant Marine Awards:
Pacific War Zone Bar
Yes, that's 2 Distinguished Service Crosses (the US's 2nd highest medal awarded for bravery), 10 Silver Stars, 8 Purple hearts and 35 Air medals. You name it, this guy did it.
Hardly a peep on the news about his passing. This article says he was a model for Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now:
Col. David Hackworth, 74, 'Apocalypse Now' Model, Dies
Douglas Martin. New York Times. New York, N.Y.: May 6, 2005.
David H. Hackworth, a much-decorated and highly unconventional former career Army officer who became a combat legend in Vietnam, then enraged his superiors by lambasting the war on national television, died on Wednesday at a hospital in Tijuana, Mexico. He was 74.
The cause was bladder cancer, his wife, Eilhys England, said.
Colonel Hackworth lied to enlist in the Army at 15 and won a battlefield commission at 20 to become the Korean War's youngest captain. He was America's youngest full colonel in Vietnam, and won a total of 91 medals, including two Distinguished Service Crosses, 10 Silver Stars, 8 Bronze Stars and 8 Purple Hearts.
Later, he was an author, a military affairs correspondent for Newsweek, a syndicated newspaper columnist and a campaigner for military reform.
In Vietnam, he became an almost mythical figure, arriving in 1965 with the first group of American paratroopers and going on to command the helicopter unit that was later immortalized in the movie ''Apocalypse Now.'' Reputed to be the model for the film's infamous Colonel Kurtz, he drove his men so hard, he later wrote, that they put a $3,500 bounty on his head. Early in the war he wrote a primer on how best to fight the Vietcong.
His combat successes included wiping out 2,500 North Vietnamese soldiers while his troops suffered just 25 casualties.
In a 1971 interview with Nick Proffit of Newsweek, Gen. Creighton Abrams, a top commander in Vietnam, called Colonel Hackworth ''the best battalion commander I ever saw in the United States Army.''
General Abrams spoke shortly after Colonel Hackworth appeared on the ABC television program ''Issues and Answers'' and harshly criticized the conduct of the Vietnam War, saying it could not be won. He called the training inadequate and accused fellow officers of not understanding guerrilla warfare.
A report by the inspector general of the Army responded that Colonel Hackworth was derelict in his duties and had ''acted without honor.'' General Abrams and other top officers moved to court-martial him, but eventually allowed him to resign with an honorable discharge.
Colonel Hackworth went to Australia, where he eventually bought some gas stations and later owned and ran an upscale restaurant. He also became a peace movement advocate. He later moved to Greenwich, Conn.
David Haskell Hackworth was born in 1931 in Venice, Calif., and grew up in nearby Santa Monica. His parents died when he was 5 months old, and he was raised by a grandmother who related tales of fighting ancestors.
At 14, he joined the merchant marine and served in the South Pacific. At 15, he paid a wino to pose as his father and certify that he was old enough to join the Army.
He credited his later combat success to lessons learned from the hard-bitten, hard-drinking sergeants with whom he served in his first assignment, the post-World War II border dispute between Italy and Yugoslavia over the port of Trieste.
After the war he volunteered for Korea, where he commanded an all-volunteer regiment known as the Wolfhound Raiders. In one battle he was shot in the head but refused to stop fighting. He received three Purple Hearts in Korea.
Long before the United States was visibly involved in Vietnam, he served there with the Special Forces. By April 1965 he was a confirmed career soldier and went back with the paratroopers, ready to fight a new kind of war. He commanded a Black Hawk ''Air Cavalry'' brigade in which pilots wore Civil War campaign hats and flew in helicopters with crossed swords painted on them.
''We were a wild bunch,'' he said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times in 1989.
He became more and more independent, even rebellious, once threatening to take his troops to Canada if commanders persisted in talking about the use of nuclear weapons in Vietnam. He ran a bordello and a massage parlor to keep his men happy and relatively protected from a virulent strain of syphilis.
After his television appearance on June 27, 1971, in which he said that as many as 20 percent of American combat deaths resulted from accidental American bullets, Colonel Hackworth's well-known indiscretions were used against him.
He admitted them in a book he wrote with Tom Matthews, ''Hazardous Duty: America's Most Decorated Living Soldier Reports from the Front and Tells It the Way It Is'' (Morrow, 1996). But he said the regulations were wrong.
Ward Just, in his introduction to Colonel Hackworth's ''About Face: The Odyssey of an American Warrior'' (Simon & Schuster, 1989), said, ''This was the simple truth, but in the pusillanimous atmosphere of 1971, Hackworth was seen as insubordinate and treacherous. But not easily dismissed.''
The colonel also wrote a novel, ''The Price of Honor'' (Doubleday, 1999).
From 1990 to 1996, he was a contributing editor of Newsweek. His column, ''Defending America,'' was syndicated by King.
Colonel Hackworth's first two marriages, to Patricia Leonard and Peter Margaret Cox, ended in divorce. He is survived, in addition to his wife, by two daughters and a son from his first marriage, Leslie, of Danbury, Conn.; Laura, of Los Angeles; and David, of Tampa, Fla.; a son, Ben, from his second marriage; a stepdaughter, Elizabeth England Scott; and four grandchildren.